Soaring guitar sonics.
Hypnotic melodic songs.
Wit, whimsy and the whammy bar aesthetic.
The Beatles. The Byrds. Robyn Hitchcock. Jimi Hendrix. The Incredible String Band. The Pretenders.
If you like any of those things, you'll love John Kimsey & The Art Thieves. The band's original tunes push the boundaries of pop and their power to reimagine cover songs astounds.
Here's a sampling of what some had to say back in the day:
“The band pulls off the strangest mixtures with style and humor. . . .When it comes to performance, the Art Thieves seldom sit still, moving freely (and freshly) from one musical genre to the next.”
-- Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times
“I could go on and on, considering the number of excellent songs and bizarre mixtures of styles, but
. . . if you’re a fan of challenging pop music, the exciting adventurousness of the Art Thieves may be up your alley.”
-- James Morman, Dirty Linen
“Dedicated to uncompromising pop. . . . Their sound runs the gamut from mature hard-edged rock to creative and unpredictable acoustic esoteria, to weird collage and avant-pop.”
-- Scott Marshall, F Newsmagazine
"The bottom line for many people, articulated or not, is a certain transcendence, a feeling in the gut after hearing a piece of music. . . . The Art Thieves hit that solar plexus a fair amount of the time."
--Molly Hurley, College News
Also, Steve Darnall told us that Alan Moore liked the stuff. “So I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice.” – Bill Murray, Caddyshack
All songs composed by John Kimsey, copyright controlled & published by John Kimsey Tunes (ASCAP), except:
Hurdy Gurdy Man (Donovan Leitch / Peer International); The First Time Ever (Bert Jansch / Warner-Tamerlane); Secret Agent Man (Steve Barri & P. F. Sloan / Universal - MCA): and Keep A Kockin' (Richard Penniman / Sony-ATV: Songs of Universal)
The Art Thieves first got together in Indianapolis in 1980. The lineup: John Kimsey (guitars, lead & bg vocals); Brad Newton
(drums, bg vocals); Bruce Polson (keyboards, lead & bg vocals); Tom Waldo (bass, bg vocals)
The band reformed in Chicago in 1988 and went through several lineups, the main one being: John Kimsey (guitars, lead & bg vocals); Tom Elferdink (saxophones, flute, keyboards, bg vocals); Meg Guttman (lead & bg vocals); George Healey
(bass & bg vocals); Brad Newton (drums, congas, percussion)
Through the years, numerous other great musicians performed as members of the band or as guests on recordings. They are:
Kevin Korschgen, Tracey Moore, Mike McCurdy, Fred Withrow, Rick Pickren, Meredith London, Chris Pyle, Jeff Lashway, Jeff King, Jacquie Krupka, Dan Gately, Steve Darnall, Jim Kimsey, Jim Dinou, Donna Adler, Gary Bristol, Steve Hashimoto, Lia McCoo, Tufty Clough, Jim Burnett, Stuart Rosenberg, Greg Goodwin, Mark Klippel, Jeff Purvis, Brian Borders, Bill Shaver and Pat Sullivan.
The band released two albums: Field of Haha (1990) and Flash of Two Worlds (1992). Nine of the tracks her come from those two albums and have been remastered for this anthology. Tracks 6, 9, 11, 12 & 14 on this anthology are previously unreleased. Plus, all the tracks on this anthology are rare, as the two Art Thieves albums are long out of print.
Arranged & produced by John Kimsey
Recorded and engineered by: Gary Loizzo at Pumpkin, Chicago (1, 4, 8); Ellis Clark at Angel City, Chicago (6); Paul Smith at Acme, Chicago (2, 9, 10, 11, 12); Chris Rich at Metro Sound, Indianapolis (3, 5, 7); Mike Graham at Soundsmith, Indianapolis (13); John Stoughton live at the Patio, Indianapolis (14)
Originally mastered by: Denny Purcell at Georgetown Masters, Nashville, TN (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13); Mark Richardson at Metropolis Mastering, Chicago (2, 10)
All tracks newly remastered (or, in the case of 6, 9, 11, 12 & 14, mastered) by Blaise Barton at Joyride Studios, Chicago
Artwork by Steve Hashimoto
Special instruments: On track 4, John Kimsey plays the Robin Octave Guitar; on track 10 he plays the Gitsitar, custom-built by Steve Dvorak
Special thanks to Tom Elferdink, George Healey, Meg Guttman, Jim Kimsey, Paul Pettengill, Molly Hurley, Bruce Polson, Oba O'Hara, John Stoughton, Moe Whittemore, Brad Newton & Carol
A Thoughts Microphone Production
Copyright 2012, John Kimsey