Kimo played guitar, jamming good with Eric McFadden at the fabulous Dingo Bar. Rocanrol allusions aside, the artist continued to riff on her life and work in Burque as we chatted via telephone. Our talk itself became a folky, smoky narrative as Kimo discussed the people and places that have made Albuquerque a dream destination for a former cruceña who was once en route to star-strewn Montana skies.
Alibi: Do you think positive attitudes have contributed to the Burque scene?
Kimo: I think Albuquerque is very lucky. In 23 years I don't think I’ve met a band or performer who hasn't really tried to step up. Everybody has gotten better and created new sounds. This town—as finicky as it can be—harbors a really cool scene. Really awesome people. In this town that's not too-too big, we all have the opportunity to work together. Sitting at Low Spirits one afternoon, you’ve got heavy metal and black metal guys hanging out with blues guys hanging out with a crazy lesbian folk singer. There’s a mutual respect among the musicians in this town.
How has the Burque scene changed over the past 23 years?
Central has really changed. The Downtown club scene has become a lot more sparse in terms of live music. Don’t get me started on the karaoke you hear while walking down the street. I’ve seen a pendulum-like pay trend in this town. I started playing a 30-minute gig for 10 or 20 bucks. In the late ’90s I was playing UNM festivals for $450 for 45 minutes. I was recently approached to play a gig in a small venue for one dollar per patron, with a possible cap. That’s a hard gig for me. Other places in town may pay $200 for two hours. There’s not a norm for pay in this town, and the brand of club has changed. But I applaud the venue owners who are keeping live music and a dedicated PA and sound engineer—they’re all essential to the scene.
Where do you like to play nowadays?
I love playing Low Spirits. It reminds me so much of the Dingo. I think Joe [Anderson] set that place up to have an acoustic, bluesy feel to it. I’ve never once had bad sound there. I’ve also been playing at the Draft Station lately, and I’ve been having a good time there.
It was about three or four years ago. A friend of mine, Amy Haltom—we graduated high school together, and she’s a great cellist out of the Bay Area—was like, “Hey, I’m coming out. Do you wanna play?” And I was like, “Okay.” We had never played together and had different interests in music. So I asked Chris Dracup if he wanted to play with me at this gig. It’s all blind rehearsals, man. Literally—Chris had no music of mine, but he’s so badass that he learned it. We performed a whole damn set at Low Spirits as a trio, and it was actually pretty cool.
Ha-ha! Okay, yeah, this happened when we all worked at the Dingo Bar, back in the old, old days. Do you remember the band The Meek? Ronnie Wheeler was one of my best friends. Those boys and I ended up being in ... we created a hard rock band for my music and called it Kimo’s Trousers. It was my music, but it was crazy. One day we were going to play in Socorro. So we loaded up the truck and were on the way to Socorro. And one of the valves on the engine blew. The truck caught on fire. A cop stopped and called the dispatcher—who called Ronnie’s grandpa at home. He showed up with a flatbed, got it loaded and hauled us down to Socorro where we played a dang show at New Mexico Tech on time.