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Chip Kinman celebrates brother, career on "Sounds Like Music"

By Brian Baker, August 2019

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With reggae, we listened to (Bob) Marley and early bands like Culture and Burning Spear. We never listened to the Eagles or the Flying Burrito Brothers. We listened to Hank Williams and George Jones and Tammy Wynette. We admired those innovators, and I suppose we always wanted to be one of them."

Another interesting aspect of "Sounds Like Music" is that the album isn't even remotely chronological, skipping back and forth from era to era and from well recorded demos to raw rehearsals and live tracks. Chip utilized old school methodology to establish a running order.

"I decided on it by the way the songs would flow," says Kinman. "I did this the old fashioned way. There are, what, 22 songs? I put them all on scraps of paper and laid them down and started moving them around. After a couple of Blackbird songs, I thought, 'People might need a break at this point.'"

Listening to "Sounds Like Music" is an exuberant remembrance of and reflection on an important chapter in rock history, but it was clearly a difficult and yet somewhat therapeutic task for Chip Kinman to comb through his archives to assemble the album in the wake of his brother's passing.

"The first song I found was (Blackbird's cover of Tom Waits') 'Jersey Girl,' and I was like, 'I seem to remember we did a pretty good job on this,'" says Kinman. "When Tony's voice came out of the speakers, it just floored me. My wife and I were listening to it, and we looked at each other and went, 'Wow...are we going to make it through the whole song?' Going through the archive was really difficult, but as I got into it, there was a real joy to it. I remembered just how much fun it was working with Tony. We did as we pleased. We thought, 'Ef it, let's just make records the way we want.' It brought back a lot of feelings of the last 40 years."

Going forward, Chip Kinman remains committed to a compilation of previously-released material and notes there are still a few choice archive nuggets awaiting release. He also just wrapped up a limited slate of Dils "reunion" shows; counter to his and Tony's reticence to look backward, Chip's stepson Giuliano Scarfo talked Chip into some Dils gigs when they were unable to book his current band, Ford Madox Ford, due to their drummer's schedule.

With The Dils tucked away again for awhile, FMF are back in rehearsals and getting ready to play out again, in support of the recently released "This American Blues," which Tony produced, and in anticipation of a live album they have in the can for an as-yet unspecified release. And Chip has secured a solo record deal and is hard at work on what else? an electronic record. All of it feels like Tony Kinman's living spirit sitting in Chip Kinman's home studio to tell him, in no uncertain terms, "Just make records the way you want." After all, why stop now?

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