Saturday, May 26, 2007

John Morgan Kimock Rules Face

So I'm finally off the road after 5 weeks with Greyboy Allstars, a tour that was bisected by my 7th straight appearance at Jazz Fest. As such, I've got a second to breath and take a vacation (to Sasquatch and Hawaii!!!) before I jump back into to my next gig, Bonnaroo.

Scott Bernstein's piece over on Hidden Track about second generation rockers reminded me of this great John Morgan Kimock story from Jam Cruise earlier this year.

The Greyboys were my main gig on the boat, but Karl Denson also served as host of a super jam, and unlike most of the funk themed cluster fucks that pass for epic these days, Karl actually put some thought into this performance. Like the true professional he is, he worked on this slot, and I was right there at his side. He wrote charts, and I downloaded & printed lyrics. He made CDs and I tracked down the artists involved to distribute. He called meetings, and I made sure everyone made it on time. By the time we hit the stage post GBA on Saturday, I was convinced this would be no sad rehash of Chameleon and Cissy Strut. The song selection was brilliant, the musicians were prepared, (to the point that some had even taken the CDs to their rooms and shedded the tunes for hrs before the performance) and the line ups solidified. I mean we're looking at Stanton Moore, Raymond Webber & Yonrico Scott on drums, George Porter, Jr., & Tony Hall on Bass, Kraz, Fuzz & Ian Neville on Guitars, Ivan Neville and Robert Walter on Keys, Nick Daniels, Allison Lewis, Ivan, and Karl on Vocals, Mike D on Vibes and Percussion, The Dozen Horns (Kevin, ET & Roger) and the YMBFBBand Horns, etc, etc. It's pretty sick on paper, even if they did rehash Chameleon & Cissy Strut.

But the songs were as good. Obscure Roy Ayers tracks, Sly & The Family Stone classics and on and on. The set gets going and it's epic for real, straight out the gate. I'm helping sub people in and out, KD's got audience members holding up the charts, everything's proceeding according to plan.

And then, my favorite moment unfolds behind the musicians: John Morgan comes up on stage and he wants to play. Raymond, Stanton and 'Rico aren't convinced by the skinny 17 year old. He finally takes the stage left kit for the Roy Ayers song Everybody Loves the Sunshine. Raymond gives John some good natured shit, then finally pointedly asks, "Do you know the tune?" When John responds negatively, Stanton, 'Rico and Raymond kick him off the kit. Raymond and Stanton handle the cover, and Mike D kills the vibes solo adding another level to the set's success.

Kimock, refusing to be denied, continues to perp the sit in. The musicians in question finally relent, and he retakes drum throne stage left. Ring the bell, school's in session. I wish I could remember the tune, maybe Sly's Simple Song, but it doesn't even matter. Bottom line, it's John Morgan & Stanton on drums, immediately locked and laying down the groove. Raymond and 'Rico are standing behind John, flippin' out at his talent. Tony Hall turns around to see who's responsible for the nastiness, sees the kid, blinks and doubles his intensity. Shit's now cooking. I've been watching John play all week, and I knew his ability well. Even I must admit though that my prior knowledge didn't quite prepare me for the ease with which he took command.

And that my friends is the story of how John Morgan Kimock taught the old guard that he too, can rule your face.

The Kid's Gold:

Stay Gold Yourselves.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


I'm not sure exactly what's at work today, but there's something about it. Sometimes its snow in May, sometimes it makes me makeithappen77, sometimes its conversations on the beach overlooking the ocean about home buying and babies, sometimes its sitting on the bus playing Cornell, and tonight it was almost all of the above. Tonight it was hearing that someone somewhere thought Mike Andrews and Trey were the best possible replacements for Garcia. Tonight it was Karl dedicating a spacey, effects laden Check Out Your Mind "On the 30th anniversary...(to) the Grateful Dead, the masters of the freak out."

Sure, Cornell suffers under the microscope of over analyzing. But my friend Dros, Greyboy's FOH engineer, just postulated the perfect rebuttal to the nay sayers. As an engineer, he realizes, as I do, that the magic in music blooms from the fingers of the musicians in question. The haters cite the perfect mix of the 5.8.77 Betty Board as the reason behind it's popularity. But, as live sound engineers, we realize that we can only work with what the band provides. The magic of Barton Hall comes straight from the fingers and hands and talent of the musicians. The reason that so many revere the show is simply because the show should be revered by so many. It's perfection arises from it's perfection.

Really it doesn't matter to me. What I learned before and relearned again today is that May 8th brings magic. Happy 30th Boys.

Way to Stay Gold.