As people from all walks of life figure out how to get by in the age of coronavirus, musicians are left to figure out how to adapt to a world in which live concerts are out of the question. While the self-isolation continues, we’re checking in with some of our favorite musicians to reflect on years past (both the good times and the bad), see what they’re most looking forward to once ongoing live event hiatus comes to an end, and find out what they’d like to do differently when that time comes.
For the first installation of this series, John Morgan Kimock (drums, Mike Gordon), offers up his ‘2020 Reflections’:
Best Gig Story
I think some of my favorites come to me in the form of stories my father [Steve Kimock] has told, who is also a musician and in pretty short order had me on the road as a baby, I think out of necessity.
There was just nowhere else for me to go. I was looked after backstage by band members’ girlfriends and waitstaff throughout the night. Some memories that have come back to me include feeling that sort of push back from certain venues of even having me in the back room to begin with. There were certain areas that my father’s band would tour in the Pacific Northwest, where I would have to stand in the hallway the entire show because it was the only place they would allow me.
I would also be allowed on stage and in certain shows, I’d have my “own” little show at set break where I would play wipeout with some of the band members. A lot of the time, I was allowed to play the entire show on my little mini-drum kit stage right. A lot of people remember my three-year-old self passing out mid-set and being dragged off only for me to run back out 2 minutes later and then pass out at the drum kit again. There’s footage somewhere out there.
Worst Gig Story
Oh man, there was a string of gigs where I remember one night (after a fantastic gig) I hopped in the van and climbed in the very way back—a specialty of mine being a fairly compact human. We started driving away… Everyone was on a kind of “high” from the night and we started driving up this crazy hill to pass some mountain ranges.
On the way up I felt fine. I mean, we were climbing for a good 15-20 minutes. Then, on the way down, I felt the entire side of my face freeze over and my eye started watering uncontrollably. This only worsened. I woke up the next day with a fever and couldn’t hear out of one ear. I fell over a bunch of times and couldn’t hold food down. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me and it made it worse that everyone around me looked very concerned when I entered the room. We had five gigs in a row where the pain on the left side of my face turned into an infection in my sinuses. I did all 5 gigs like this, not being able to hear, losing my balance and falling all over the place.
One day, the venue had a “rock doc” on duty, which is just a doctor that the venue has on call for musicians who show up in bad shape that might need help. He came to my hotel room and at this point, it was just my ear that was clogged up completely and making me lose my balance. I could still feel the infection in my face, but the only place to really “do anything” in right then and there was my ear. He took out this long syringe-type object and basically sucked out the most disgusting ear wax I’d ever seen.
Those were some of the most painful gigs on the road by far. The combination of infection and only being able to hear a ROCK BAND out of one ear for 5 shows in a row was very tough.
Looking Forward To Getting Back To
I’m looking forward to performing again. It’s the only job I’ve ever been able to consistently build upon and I’m really in shock that it’s just not even a possibility to explore right now.
Looking Forward To Changing
I am looking forward to changing the way I look at my job, and what jobs I ultimately take after all this is over. I have a feeling we will need to really do somewhat of a deep dive here and realize a new way forward that doesn’t involve taking at least 3 flights to get there. I’m hoping to localize things little by little so that I have less of an impact on the planet and more of a positive effect on my local community.
Keep an eye out for more ‘2020 Reflections’ from some of our favorite musicians in the coming weeks.