Memories of Giraffe and Kevin by Chris Beveridge
On Kevin… I guess the thing that sticks out in my mind the most is how much natural talent and intense focus Kevin had, especially in producing, arranging and engineering. Even at only 17 or 18 years old, everyone in the South Bay Area musical community knew him, and his reputation for high quality, carefully crafted projects was indisputable. Kevin worked tirelessly on the smallest details, and he had a talent for relating with and empathizing with whomever he was working. It seems like Kevin could "morph" himself into the project at hand, see the vision of the artist and the songs, and make an idea turn into reality (usually exceeding expectations). And, of course there was Kevin’s ability to pick up any musical instrument and really make it speak and sing. I still hear projects for the first time that Kevin worked on ten years ago, and they sound fresh and significant.
With Giraffe, Kevin’s focus, talent and persistence was amplified and intensified many times over with the likes of Stan Cotey (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Michael Abowd (keyboards, sounds) and Scott Smith (drums, percussion and TRS studio owner/operator). It’s hard to put into words how much creative energy and imagination was literally flying around the rooms in rehearsals, recording sessions and live performances, but it was a singular, powerful thing that touched me and many other people in an unforgettable way. Giraffe was by far the best musical project I have ever been involved with. The band was our gang, TRS was the tree house, the music was our voice. We had so much fun playing gigs in San Jose, going to LA and playing for the Yamaha Soundcheck competition, and later at the Soundcheck Band Explosion World Finals in Tokyo. The only drag was that we were limited to playing 2 songs in LA and 1 song in Tokyo! This band was so much fun to perform with live, I wanted to do an entire set of our material!
On a personal level, Kevin and I were good friends, and roommates (along with Stan Cotey) for about a year in the 1988-89 time frame. He and I used to have rousing conversations about all kinds of things, but the ones that I seem to remember most were discussions concerning societal changes, personal feelings of growth and the complexities of relationships. Kevin could also be a frustrating, aggravating pain in the ass to work with sometimes, but it seemed like he always understood the threshold and never missed the chance to compliment me on a good performance or idea. I missed those conversations and times after he moved to LA. We really had not been in close touch in the last couple of years before his death, but whenever I spoke to him it always seemed like no time had passed. It seemed like he struggled in so many ways, yet at the same time he shined in so many others. I felt like he was older than his years in many respects. But through it all, it seems like he held on to the pure belief that craftsmanship, attention to detail, quality and persistence matter a great deal.
I recently heard a tape of some of the material off "The Shaming Of The True", and I was blown away. It sounded to me like Kevin had come full circle, and that there was an energy and focus there that I remember clearly when we were working together in Giraffe. I know that Kevin went through some intense personal and professional struggles after he moved to LA, and it sounds like he was able to capture the essence of his experiences and lessons in music and lyric. It sounded like something Kevin should be proud of.
You left us before your time, my friend. From the "dying" to the dead – see you on the other side…