Kevin Gilbert (musician)

Kevin Matthew Gilbert (November 20, 1966 – May 18, 1996, also known as Matthew Delgado and Kai Gilbert) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, composer, producer and collaborator. Gilbert was best known for his solo progressive rock projects, Toy Matinee and his contributions to Tuesday Night Music Club, the debut album by Sheryl Crow.

Kevin Gilbert
Background information
Birth nameKevin Matthew Gilbert
Born(1966-11-20)November 20, 1966
Sacramento, California
DiedMay 18, 1996(1996-05-18) (aged 29)
Los Angeles, California
GenresProgressive rock, industrial rock, pop rock
InstrumentsVocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, cello
Years active1983–1996

Early lifeEdit

Kevin Matthew Gilbert was born in Sacramento, California on November 20, 1966, later living in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and San Mateo, California, where he attended Abbott Middle School and Junipero Serra High School.[1]


1980s: Early yearsEdit

Kevin Gilbert was an accomplished composer, singer, producer and instrumentalist who played keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, cello, and drums. In 1984 he and Jason Hubbard released the eponymous No Reasons Given album. Between 1984 and 1987 he self-released four albums as Kai Gilbert.[2]

He toured with Eddie Money before winning the 1988 Yamaha SOUNDCHECK International Rock Music Competition with his progressive rock group Giraffe.[3] Producer Patrick Leonard was impressed with Gilbert's performance at the competition and invited him to join him in forming a new band which became Toy Matinee. During this time, Gilbert worked on the projects of several established pop musicians, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Keith Emerson, acting as producer for the latter's album Changing States.

1990: Toy MatineeEdit

The lone Toy Matinee album was released in 1990 but effectively shelved by the record company, so Gilbert assembled a new backing band to promote it, eventually getting two successful singles released, "The Ballad of Jenny Ledge" and "Last Plane Out."

Tuesday Night Music ClubEdit

Later, Gilbert was part of the songwriting collective "The Tuesday Music Club" that met at producer Bill Bottrell's studio in Pasadena, California.[4] Gilbert introduced his then-girlfriend Sheryl Crow to Bottrell and his fellow Club musicians and the sessions allowed Crow to workshop new material, leading to the recording of her breakthrough debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club. Gilbert co-wrote many of the songs on that album, including 1995 Grammy Record of the Year "All I Wanna Do". Crow later acrimoniously split with most of the musicians in the collective and only producer Bottrell and drummer Brian MacLeod were involved in her follow-up album. Meanwhile, the remainder of the collective worked with singer-songwriters Susanna Hoffs and Linda Perry on two more albums.

1995: Thud and reforming GiraffeEdit

Gilbert continued to work in television and movie soundtracks (under the name Matthew Delgado[5]), studio sessions, production, and eventually released his first solo album Thud (1995) as well as partially reforming Giraffe to perform the Genesis double album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway at Progfest '94. Gilbert's manager sent a copy of the recording to Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford who were searching for a new front man to replace Phil Collins. Coincidentally, shortly after Gilbert's death, his manager, Jon Rubin of The Rubinoos, was contacted by Genesis's management to arrange an audition.

1999–2014: Posthumous albumsEdit

On May 17, 1996, Gilbert was found dead at his home just outside of Los Angeles. The coroner listed the cause of death as ‘asphyxia due to partial suspension hanging’ and concluded the death was accidental and not a suicide. This manner of death is known as autoerotic asphyxiation, and the Los Angeles County coroners’ office reports four or five such deaths a year.[1]

Several albums of Gilbert's music have been released posthumously, beginning in 1999 with the live album Kevin Gilbert & Thud – Live at the Troubadour (consisting primarily of songs from Thud) and a compilation of Giraffe material that he had been working on.

Gilbert's second solo album, The Shaming of the True, (2000) was also released posthumously. The album was largely incomplete, but Gilbert's estate asked Nick D'Virgilio (a former member of Thud, the Giraffe Progfest '94 gig, Spock's Beard drummer and close friend of Gilbert's) and producer/engineer John Cuniberti to complete it, based upon the extant tapes and the album planning notes left by Gilbert.[6] Following this, an "industrial" album of music performed by Gilbert's group, Kaviar, was released in 2002. Ten years later, in June 2012 Nick D'Virgilio headlined CalProg in Whittier, CA and played the entire The Shaming of the True album live.[7]

In October 2009, three new works were released; Nuts and Bolts (collectively a body of mostly unreleased songs and mixes, released as two individual CD albums) and Welcome to Joytown – Thud: Live at The Troubadour, a DVD/CD which expanded on the original 1999 release. A live performance from Gilbert's promotional group for Toy Matinee was made available in March 2010, and late 2011 saw a deluxe expanded release of The Shaming of the True with additional orchestration and engineering by Mark Hornsby. In 2012, the two Giraffe albums and 1984's No Reasons Given were re-issued with complete re-mastering from the original analog tapes. Late 2014 saw a similar expanded release of Thud and a one-time vinyl pressing. A box set of the Giraffe albums and a DVD with video footage of the band and their performances was released in early 2021, with a vinyl release of The Shaming of the True and a 4-CD box set of Gilbert's earlier work, Call me Kai, expected later in the year.


Solo careerEdit

With other artistsEdit

  • 1990: Toy Matinee (with Toy Matinee)
  • 1991: EE Ticket (with Marc Bonilla)
  • 1993: Tuesday Night Music Club (with Sheryl Crow)
  • 1993: American Matador (with Marc Bonilla)
  • 1995: Supper's Ready – A Tribute To Genesis (various artists)
  • 1995: Tales From Yesterday – A Tribute To Yes (various artists)
  • 1997: Giant Tracks – A Tribute To Gentle Giant (various artists)
  • 2002: The Kaviar Sessions (with Kaviar; recorded 1996)
  • 2010: Toy Matinee Acoustic (with Toy Matinee)
  • 2010: Kevin Gilbert Performs Toy Matinee Live (with Toy Matinee)

With GiraffeEdit

  • 1987: The Power of Suggestion
  • 1988: The View From Here
  • 1999: Giraffe (compilation)
  • 2021: Giraffe (compilation)

As composerEdit


Year Name Notes
1994 Angel 4: Undercover
1997 John Farnham: All Kinds of People short
1999 My Teacher's Wife


Year Name Notes
1991-1992 P.S. I Luv U 13 episodes (as Matthew Delgado)
1991 Dark Justice 6 episodes
1994 Tales From the Crypt episode - The Pit
1994-1996 One West Waikiki 18 episodes (as Matthew Delgado)


  1. ^ a b More Than 'The Piano Player'. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  2. ^ "Kevin Gilbert - Call Me Kai".
  3. ^ Jay Graboski (December 2003). "OHO MACH III". Archived from the original on April 21, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2007. The big winner was Kevin Gilbert, fronting his band, Giraffe.
  4. ^ Richard Sine (August 1, 1996). "All Rocked Out". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
  5. ^ "Kevin Gilbert".
  6. ^ "A True Story". November 10, 2011.
  7. ^ Progressive Rock Central (March 22, 2019). "OHO MACH III". Retrieved February 13, 2019. CalProg to present epic rock opera ‘The Shaming of the True’

External linksEdit