In Memoriam: Kim King
Kim King, whose musical life included being lead guitarist and synthesizer player for Lothar and the Hand People, died following a long illness in San Rafael, California on August 30, 2016. He was surrounded by family and loved ones.
Born Kim Iannelli on 30 October, 1946, he grew up in New York. Grandson of artist, sculptor and industrial designer Alfonso Iannelli and son of noted photojournalist, Fons Iannelli, Kim became enamored of the guitar during a camping trip with his father and family friend Pete Seeger from whom he took banjo lessons. As a teenager Kim played a variety of musical styles on banjo and guitar. Riding the rails after graduation from high school, he landed in Denver, Colorado where he honed his skills at both finger-picking and slide guitar and became a mainstay in the local folk and blues scene. He joined Lothar and the Hand People, then Denver-based, in 1965. The group relocated to New York in the Fall of 1966.
Lothar was active in the West Village music scene. The band recorded two albums for Capitol Records and toured widely. As a standout guitarist in live performances, Kim was greatly admired by his contemporaries and his many fans who would line up early at the light show clubs of the day to get a place close to the stage. While working at the Night Owl Café in Greenwich Village, he often jammed in the afternoons with Jimi Hendrix (who was playing around the corner at the Café Wha under the name Jimmy James).
Lothar and the Hand People was the first band to play live performances on a Moog synthesizer with Kim and his bandmate Paul Conly as programmers of the first portable analog synthesizer to come out the laboratory. After Lothar´s last performance on New Year´s Eve 1969, Kim became a sound engineer at Electric Lady, The Record Plant, Fanta All-Stars studio and various studios in LA. He worked with Jimi Hendrix, Mink DeVille, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Michelle Phillips, Jethro Tull, War, John Fogarty and Weather Report and many others. He also did live sound for a number of tours, including Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, Diana Ross and Edgar Winter. In the mid-eighties he relocated back to NY where he started a touring sound web-based resource. He was a little early for the computer revolution but in the process he taught himself to code. Kim specialized in writing cataloging programs for art galleries, one of which was used by the Smithsonian.
In addition, he had a life-long interest in the outdoors, and was an avid hiker and camper both in the Adirondacks and in northern California.
Rock on! Long Live the King!