Chris Kimsey has worked in the recording industry for 45 years and is a renowned studio engineer who has worked with over a hundred artists in those years. He started his career at Olympic Studios under the impressive tutorage of Keith Grant, Jimmy Miller and Glyn Johns.
Within his first few years he had worked with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, Spooky Tooth, Mott The Hoople and B. B. King.
Keith Grant was a strong and fair disciplinarian who did not want his engineers to ask for autographs or take any pictures. In this way the engineer would be treated as an equal of the artist. Engineers from this era are remarkably unassuming, hard-working and full of humour – Chris is no exception. They learnt their trade by working on a diverse combination of studio jingles in the morning, movie musical and orchestra scores in the afternoon followed by the sounds of heavier blues and rock & roll music in the evenings and early morning hours.
The role of an engineer is very much a facilitator aiding the artist to fulfil their potential; this may be using the studio equipment, suggesting arrangements or knowing other artists who could embellish the sound. There is nothing Chris enjoys more than recording a band in a studio setting as if in a live environment. With his unique tenure at the top of the studio game, Chris has an impressive CV.
His discography has an uncanny way of name dropping some of music’s best over the last four decades. Musicians do not have difficulty in repeat booking Chris’s talents. These include The Rolling Stones over 25 years, Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, Peter Frampton, Bill Wyman, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Killing Joke, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Fish and Marillion, The Psychedelic Furs, Yes, The Cult, Johnny Hallyday, Duran Duran, Soul Asylum, Bad Company, Tom Jones, Ash, Deacon Blue, INXS, The Chieftains, New Model Army, Colin James and The Proclaimers. Oh, and Chris has also mixed live music for The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Cliff Richard & The Shadows. Other projects include 5.1 sound for Elton John, Dire Straits, Genesis and Phil Collins.
Chris first stepped up to the producer role in 1974 with Bill Wyman. Since then he has received production credits with The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Terry Reid, Betty Wright, Jimmy Cliff, Joan Jett, Gipsy Kings, Kiki Dee, Killing Joke, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, David Knopfler and many others named in the discography.
If you were to add up the millions of records Chris has helped to sell, these would include Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive, the great Paris trilogy by The Rolling Stones of Some Girls, Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You and ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery. Just those albums alone would account for over 25 million copies.
As well as his production and engineering credits Chris is also a music writer, singer and musician. He has co-written with Bill Wyman and can be heard on keyboards and backing percussion with The Rolling Stones.
In 2013, Chris Kimsey came full circle, returning to Olympic Studios in Barnes London, where he started his career as a tape operator. He has designed the newly updated studio, the dolby atmos sound for the cinema and serves as the sound consultant and engineer for its live concert series and recording facilities.
He is still recording and producing records, having just achieved a number one in Australia with “Short Stack’
Links and recommended sites:
Counterpunch – http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/04/03/an-interview-with-legendary-rock-producer-chris-kimsey/
Rolling Stones Sessions – http://www.stonessessions.com/
Sound On Sound – http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr04/articles/classictracks.htm
Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Kimsey