Steve Kimbell | Create
the age of nine trumpet player and sound engineer Steve Kimbell knew that he
wanted to be a performer. A native Washingtonian, when he started taking
trumpet in 5th grade it was because he figured it was the easiest instrument
to play, since it only had three buttons to push!
Well, the reality of how much practice it took to become proficient soon hit hard, but the thrill of performance made him keep at it. His first paying gig was at the age of 12, performing "Trumpet Voluntary" for a wedding. He had to ride his bicycle to the gig!
Additional performances came quickly, and in high school he was performing in bands in and around the DC area, often having to sneak in the back door to a club because he wasn't legally old enough to get in. This of course was back in the days of Blood, Sweat and Tears, early Chicago, and Earth Wind & Fire, when every band had a live horn section...synthesizers were just being invented, and they were more for ethereal sounds rather than as a substitute for a real horn section.
Well, as lead trumpet player Steve was the guy on the end of the line, next to what was then a state-of-the-art Shure VocalMaster mixer. Steve would take care of adjusting the volumes of the various vocalists, (horn players never got mikes back in those days), and as a result he got his first taste of audio engineering.
As technology improved, Steve kept up with the latest advances, and after graduating high school a friend asked him to join a new band called "Satin Doll" as the band's sound man, performing on the military circuit and for weddings and private parties.
While all of this was going on, Steve was attending college with a major in performance and a minor in music education. The performance requirements led him to perform numerous recitals and concerts with area orchestras. He also started moonlighting in the pit orchestras of many of the area dinner theaters, including the Harlequin and Silver Spring stage. He was also hired to be musical director at Saratoga Dinner Theater, conducting the orchestra and playing trumpet and piano whenever they were short of musicians.
As if this weren't enough, Steve was hired as assistant director for the Prince Georges County Youth Orchestra. So, in any given week Steve might have been conducting an orchestra on Tuesday, playing trumpet in a dinner theater Wednesday, doing a solo recital on Thursday, and doing sound for a Top 40 band on Friday and Saturday, all while attending his college classes during the day! As Steve puts it now, "If I tried to do that now I wouldn't last a week"!
Once college was completed Steve started getting more and more engineering gigs. Bands were hiring him to come out and do sound for them for their most important gigs. He engineered artists like Johnny Paycheck, Engelbert Humperdink, and Beatlemania among others during this period. While filling in as soundman for a show band performing in Laurel, they asked him if he's like to come on the road with them. The prospect of a regular paycheck and of living in hotels with room service all the time was appealing, so off he went to hit the road with the show band Pinoy, a band fronted by three performers from the Philippines, (odd twist of fate as you'll later see).
After about 5 years on the road with Pinoy, Steve took a break from music for a while, but the break was to be short lived when the REO Speedwagon band lost their monitor engineer, and the road manager remembered Steve from a couple of years earlier, and asked if he'd like to work with REO for a while. So Steve traded in Sheraton lifestyle for a tour bus, and for the next few months traveled the country with REO on tour.
As Steve puts it, life on the road can get you fairly crispy around the edges, and after a while Steve decided to leave REO and come back to Maryland. He quickly hooked up with and ultimately became manager of a group called The Jim Bowie Band, and spent the better part of 16 years with them. As a result of his experience with weddings, Steve was elected to be president of the Association of Wedding Professionals, a group of dedicated businesses in the DC area committed to maintaining high standards and ethics within the wedding industry.
Anyway, Steve soon crossed paths with a group called the Cross Tie Walker Band, a southern rock band that was looking for a soundman. Fronting Cross Tie Walker was a long haired singer with a dynamic voice named Jeff Baxter, and over the next few years Cross Tie Walker became a household word in many parts of the state. Steve engineered and helped produce the band's EP "Get Cross Tied", a collection of four original songs, three of which were written by Jeff.
Unfortunately after a few years Cross Tie Walker disbanded, and Steve continued managing The Jim Bowie Band, when Jeff called and asked if he would come out to do sound for his new group, called Oracle, fronted by a couple named Mike and Veronne from, of all places, the Philippines.
Well, the chemistry was right, and the sounds they were making were new, exciting, and invigorating, so after a short time, in late 2000, Steve formally became the newest member of Oracle full time. It wasn't long before his duties moved from simply doing sound to playing trumpet and singing as well.
During the day Steve works as the safety, security, and compliance coordinator for Total Truck Transport, an up and coming air freight trucking company near Dulles Airport.
On weekends and in the evenings, when not working with the band, Steve works as a web designer (he's the webmaster for the website you're reading now), a computer consultant and owner of the website marketing & Search Engine Optimization firm Kimbell Consulting, helping small businesses market their websites.
Steve also handles the business matters for the band in booking weddings and private parties. He lives in Gaithersburg Maryland with his wife Sandy and their three dogs Snickers, Vivian & Bandit
Well, the rest of this story remains to be written, but we're sure there's going to be a happy ending.
19359 Keymar Way
Gaithersburg, Md 20886-5003
Copyright 2012 by Oracle Band