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View Full Version : TRR: Some facts about Steve Miller Band


nychief
10-05-2005, 11:50 PM
Steve Miller circa 1968

Steve Miller circa 1992

Steve Miller circa 2000

Steve backed Chuck Berry at the San Francisco Fillmore in 1967.

Stinson Beach, Ca. 1972

From Steve's collection.

Into The Future Tour art


Steve Miller was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 5, 1943. His mother was an accomplished singer, and his father, Dr. George "Sonny" Miller, was a physician by profession and an amateur recording engineer in his spare time. Many members of Steve's family were musicians, and he received his first guitar at age 4. Steve put it to good use performing songs for his family and playmates.

Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar and multi-track recording, and his wife, Mary Ford, were regular visitors at the Miller house. In fact, Steve's father was best man at their wedding. Les and Mary taught Steve his first chords when he was five years old. Steve still uses some of the techniques they taught him at that time.

The Miller family moved to Dallas, Texas in 1950. Steve's dad continued recording various styles of music. Great musicians of the time continued to appear at the Miller house, including legendary blues man T-Bone Walker.

The Marksmen, Steve's first band, was formed when he was only 12 years old. This rock and roll band had a solid booking the entire semester playing mostly for fraternities. Steve taught his older brother to play bass so he wouldn't have to rely on his mother for transportation.

The Marksmen continued to play for 5 more years. In high school, Steve asked his friend,"Boz" Scaggs, to perform vocals with the band. The greatest moment for them was when they backed blues hero, Jimmy Reed, at a local night club. However, at age 16 Steve left for college, which forced the band to break up. Steve attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and formed a new band called The Ardells. Steve taught Boz Scaggs some chords, and he joined The Ardells the next year.

Steve continued working with The Ardells through the school year staying in Madison during the summers to perform with a group called The Knightranes. The next year, Ben Sidran was added on keyboards for The Ardells. Steve spent a semester at the University of Denmark during his senior year. He returned to the U.S. and spent the summer enjoying the Chicago blues scene, including working with a young musician named Paul Butterfield. Lacking 6 hours for a degree in literature, Steve decided to move to Chicago to play the blues. Steve was soon on stage with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Buddy Guy, who all encouraged him to continue playing.

Miller met Barry Goldberg and with bassist Roy Ruby and drummer Maurice McKinley formed The Goldberg-Miller Blues Band, playing Chicago clubs. The band was signed to Epic records during a convention in town. The recordings from this group are few and include a single called The Mother Song; however, there is one track on the box set performed by this band. They also appeared on Hullabaloo with the Four Tops and the Supremes.They took on a running gig at a club in Manhattan, only to return to a dead Chicago blues scene.

Disheartened, Steve went back to Texas in hopes of taking some music courses at the University of Texas at Austin. He was not admitted to music school, so he bought a used Volkswagen Microbus and headed to San Francisco. Upon arrival, he spent his last $5 to see the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore Auditorium. He jammed with Butterfield and announced his intention to stay in San Francisco.

Steve contacted Tim Davis, whom he knew from another band in Madison. Steve invited Davis and guitarist James "Curley" Cooke to come experience the San Francisco music scene. Adding Lonnie Turner on bass, the Steve Miller Blues Band was born. Miller was broke, sometimes sleeping in his van.The band landed a gig at the Avalon Ballroom, allowing Steve the money for an apartment.

The band debuted at the Avalon in January 1967, and they were an immediate success. They became a headliner at the Ballroom, playing at least once a month. They played the Fillmore in April, and they were booked for the Monterey Pop Festival in June. The week after Monterey, the Miller Blues Band backed Chuck Berry at the Fillmore Auditorium. This performance was recorded for an album (This is the only Miller Blues Band performance currently available on CD).

After Monterey, the band signed with Capitol Records. Steve negotiated a contract giving him complete artistic control. It was also one of the most lucrative contracts in music history, setting a new standard for future artists. Steve contacted old friend Boz Scaggs and invited him to join. Jim Peterman replaced "Curley" Cooke, and "Blues" was dropped from the band's name. The Steve Miller Band flew to England to record their first album with Glyn Johns as engineer. Children of the Future was released in May 1968 and was a staple of progressive FM stations throughout the country. Many would agree that this is one of the greatest debut albums ever.

The band did not see their first top 40 album until Sailor, released in October of the same year. This album featured Miller's first hit, "Living in the U.S.A." and also introduced us to the "Gangster of Love."

Peterman, tired of life on the road, and Scaggs, interested in pursuing his own career, left the group. Ben Sidran, who had worked with Steve in The Ardells, was invited to join. "Brave New World" was released in June of 1969. Johns and Miller mastered the album in England at which time Steve was allowed to sit in on a Beatles recording session. Miller and Paul McCartney recorded "My Dark Hour" with Paul appearing under the alias Paul Ramon. This song features Steve on lead and rhythm guitar, and McCartney on drums and bass. This top 40 album also introduced us to the "Space Cowboy."

"Your Saving Grace", released in November 1969, also made it in the top 40. This album, as well as the previous one, included some session work by keyboardist Nicky Hopkins whose talent is displayed marvelously on the track "Baby's House".

Miller was increasingly recording with others outside of the band, and tensions were high among many of the members. The next album marked the loss of Lonnie Turner, replaced by Bobby Winkleman. Ben Sidran also left to pursue his own career. Steve took what tapes that had been recorded to Nashville, where in between dates on the road with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead, he completed the album with harmonica player Charlie McCoy, fiddler Buddy Spicher, guitarist Wayne Moss and drummer Tim Davis. "Number 5", released July 1970, was the greatest success to date.

The touring schedule was hectic, there was bickering between band members, and Capitol was constantly demanding new albums. Tim Davis and Bobby Winkleman both left the group, replaced by Jack King on drums and Ross Valory on bass. Rock Love was released September 1971.

The next album, "Recall the Beginning...A Journey From Eden", featured session work by a variety of people. Released in March 1972, this album deserves a second look with great tracks like "Nothing Lasts", "Journey From Eden" and "Love's Riddle". Steve also introduced us to Maurice and the pompitous of love on "Enter Maurice". Neither this album nor Rock Love have ever been released on CD. Miller broke his neck in a car wreck in 1972 while on his way to the airport for a European tour. Steve went home to his parents in Dallas for eight months to nurse himself back to health. This was an important turning point in his career, and a time at which he did some deep reflection.

He returned to California, and with Gerald Johnson on bass, Dicky Thompson on keyboards, and Jack King on drums, emerged from the studio after 19 days with a brand new sound. The Joker was released October 1973, and was the first album Steve had produced himself. He finally had a number 1 song. Touring increased with opening acts such as Boz Scaggs and James Cotton.

Between touring, managing his career, writing songs, and recording 8 albums in 65 months, Steve was exhausted. He decided to take some time off, and spent the next year and a half writing and recording the bulk of his next two albums. "Fly Like an Eagle" was released May 1976, featuring Lonnie Turner on bass and Gary Mallaber on drums. One year and one day later "Book of Dreams" was released with the addition of Byron Allred on keyboards and session work by Greg Douglass, David Denny, and Norton Buffalo. The two albums contained a string of multiple hit songs. The band was now playing arenas rather than theaters. Both albums were certified quadruple platinum. Lonnie Turner was replaced by Gerald Johnson, and the band released Circle of Love in 1981.

With the addition of Kenny Lee Lewis on rhythm guitar, Steve reached platinum status once again with the release of "Abracadabra" in June 1982. A live album and video were released the following year. "Italian X Rays", the band's first digital recording, was released November 1984.

Steve released Living in the 20th Century in 1986. This album yielded the hit "I Want To Make The World Turn Around" featuring a Kenny G sax solo. However, the best part of this album was side 2. Drawing from his Texas roots, Steve performed great renditions of blues standards by Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon and others. These songs were released on the video "Blues in the 20th Century".

Steve returned to his roots, in 1988 with the release of "Born 2B Blue", with a completely new band. This album received much acclaim from music critics including Leonard Feather of the L.A.Times. This album earned respect and it displays the versatility of Steve Miller.

In 1988, Les Paul invited Steve to appear on a Cinemax special with other great guitarists, including B.B. King, David Gilmour, and Eddie VanHalen. This was the first live performance by Steve Miller since 1983 (This is available on video under the title Les Paul and Friends: He Changed the Music ). After the show, he attended a Pink Floyd concert at the request of Gilmour. Steve decided it was time to hit the road again.

Steve did hit the road in 1988, and continued for 12 consecutive tours of Amphitheaters across the USA until deciding to take a sabbatical after the 2000 "Into The Future" tour.

During the 1990's Miller released, "Wide River" 1992 and "The Box Set" 1994, which included previously unreleased tracks and one new song. He recorded with the Neville Brothers, John Mayall, Seal and Shaggy and his music has been sampled by hundreds of new recording artists.

After the 2000 touring season Miller finally took some time off to delve into the band's extensive recording, photo and video archives. In May of 2002, Steve along with King Biscuit Flour Hour released a Live Album of songs recorded in 1973 at Shady Grove in Washington DC and 1976 at the Beacon theater in Manhattan. The album entitled "King Biscuit Flour Hour Presents The Steve Miller Band" has been extremely well received by the public.

For many years, Capitol Records has nagged Miller to update his lucky charm album (Greatest Hits 74-78) and he resisted. One of the longest-running success stories in record industry history, "Greatest Hits 1974-78'' sold more than 13 million copies in 20 years in release. But it didn't have "Abracadabra'' on it. They finally wore him down - or he finally listened to reason, depending on who's talking - "Young Hearts the Complete Greatest Hits" debuted in September 2003. Spanking new 24-bit mastering technology makes the old gems shine just that much more. It's a gift to us all, because these songs have embedded themselves in the heart of rock and roll. They are a gold standard by which others are measured, an inspiration to the future and a high-water mark of the whole art form.

Steve was very active in the last quarter of 2003 promoting "Young Hearts the Complete Greatest Hits". He was a musical guest on the "Tonight Show", with Jay Leno, jammed with the band on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and did interviews with "Rockline" the syndicated radio show. Steve also played many charity events in 2003 to save animals, teach underprivileged kids to play guitar and feed the homeless.

Plans for 2004 are shaping up to include headlining appearances at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in April, The Memphis Beale Street Fair in May and stay tuned for more announcements for summer 2004.

ENDelt260
10-06-2005, 01:14 AM
Better Nate than lever!

luv
10-06-2005, 01:18 AM
Okay, I read the beginning, skipped all of the middle, and read the end. Am I correct in getting that Steve Miller Band will be performing at the Memphis In May Music Festival?

Road trip! Score!!

tk13
10-06-2005, 01:20 AM
Better Nate than lever!
ROFL That's a joke I would make. Better watch it ENDelt, soon you'll be making Talismanesque jokes yourself.

siberian khatru
10-06-2005, 06:59 AM
Better Nate than lever!

Quality.

ZepSinger
10-06-2005, 08:01 AM
Here's a fact about the band.


They suck.

NewChief
10-06-2005, 08:11 AM
Okay, I read the beginning, skipped all of the middle, and read the end. Am I correct in getting that Steve Miller Band will be performing at the Memphis In May Music Festival?

Road trip! Score!!

They played MiM in 2004, actually.

As someone whose gone to a lot of shows, let me give a little advice: bands that were good/great 30-40 years ago but haven't had any success in the last 25 years, usually really really suck now for a variety of reasons.


1) There's usually one living member of the actual band
2) The band is touring again because they suck and the only way they can make money as musicians is in the hopes that people will come see them based on their past greatness.
3) These bands feel obliged to regale you with their "new" music, which invariably sucks. Remember, they haven't been successful in 25 years.

So, just remember: Friends don't let friends go see washed-up, over-the-hill bands (unless they're the Grateful Dead ;) )

Extra Point
10-06-2005, 08:31 AM
Steve Miller is a great musician. Didn't know McCartney collaborated with Miller.

Unfortunately, radio stations play the same stuff from him over and over, and over again. I'd like to hear "Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash" (John Tait's theme song) and "Your Saving Grace."

Clapton, Miller, Paige, to name a choice few, are great artists greatly influenced by the blues.

Go ahead, dog Steve Miller if you want. You still bought his vinyl and concert tickets.

Mr. Rat Fink
10-06-2005, 08:42 AM
So, just remember: Friends don't let friends go see washed-up, over-the-hill bands (unless they're the Grateful Dead ;) )

Another exception: Doobie Brothers.

HemiEd
10-06-2005, 08:51 AM
Quote: "Fly Like an Eagle" was released May 1976, featuring Lonnie Turner on bass and Gary Mallaber on drums. One year and one day later "Book of Dreams"


Got to see them in concert at Arrowhead with Styx and *cough* Peter Frampton *cough* do these songs. Over a 100k people there we were told. 77/78, only way I can remember what year it was, I had a new POS Dodge Van.

Extra Point
10-06-2005, 08:52 AM
Another exception: Doobie Brothers.

Mo def. What about Winwood?

The old stuff is used go make the new stuff. If the old stuff is good, then the new stuff should be good. There is some good new stuff, and some stations actually play it.

NewChief
10-06-2005, 08:57 AM
Mo def. What about Winwood?

The old stuff is used go make the new stuff. If the old stuff is good, then the new stuff should be good. There is some good new stuff, and some stations actually play it.

I saw Traffic open for the Dead in '94. Wasn't bad.

Brock
10-06-2005, 09:03 AM
Here's a fact about the band.


They suck.

Yeeeaahhhh......I'm, uh, going to have to sort of, uh, disagree with you there.

Extra Point
10-06-2005, 09:11 AM
Quote: "Fly Like an Eagle" was released May 1976, featuring Lonnie Turner on bass and Gary Mallaber on drums. One year and one day later "Book of Dreams"


Got to see them in concert at Arrowhead with Styx and *cough* Peter Frampton *cough* do these songs. Over a 100k people there we were told. 77/78, only way I can remember what year it was, I had a new POS Dodge Van.

Hey, man, thanks for passing me the doob at the show! I was driving a rusted 67 Chevelle wagon at the time.

What about seeing Nugent at Arrowhead afterward? "Throw that shit!!!" --A fundamental factor in the absence of bottles at public events....

gblowfish
10-06-2005, 09:28 AM
They played MiM in 2004, actually.

As someone whose gone to a lot of shows, let me give a little advice: bands that were good/great 30-40 years ago but haven't had any success in the last 25 years, usually really really suck now for a variety of reasons.


1) There's usually one living member of the actual band
2) The band is touring again because they suck and the only way they can make money as musicians is in the hopes that people will come see them based on their past greatness.
3) These bands feel obliged to regale you with their "new" music, which invariably sucks. Remember, they haven't been successful in 25 years.

So, just remember: Friends don't let friends go see washed-up, over-the-hill bands (unless they're the Grateful Dead ;) ) Sage advice.
Also avoid one hit wonder bands playing at Indian Casinos. Brutal...

NewChief
10-06-2005, 09:32 AM
Sage advice.
Also avoid one hit wonder bands playing at Indian Casinos. Brutal...

My favorite was when Melvin Seals was touring as the Jerry Garcia Band, after Jerry Garcia had died. He eventually changed it to JGB. I think he's just touring as Melvin Seals now...I hope.

I haven't gone and seen any of the hairband reunions, either, but they're starting to make the rounds as well.

StcChief
10-06-2005, 09:35 AM
Steve Miller was good up to where he went really commercial.

Still like his early stuff.
Anthology is a better compilation than the later ones.

siberian khatru
10-06-2005, 09:36 AM
My favorite was when Melvin Seals was touring as the Jerry Garcia Band, after Jerry Garcia had died. He eventually changed it to JGB. I think he's just touring as Melvin Seals now...I hope.


Ha! What's next, Mitch Mitchell touring as the Jimi Hendrix Experience?

NewChief
10-06-2005, 09:40 AM
Ha! What's next, Mitch Mitchell touring as the Jimi Hendrix Experience?

Yeah, the thing is that Melvin Seals is a quality organist and the rest of the band was really good, too. It was pretty cheap that they were ripping off Jerry's name to make a buck. I understand why they did it, though, because after Jerry's death the Deadhead scene was hungry for that music.

Extra Point
10-06-2005, 09:41 AM
I haven't gone and seen any of the hairband reunions, either, but they're starting to make the rounds as well.

To be blessed AND cursed with a vivid imagination!!! Creative combovers for all of them!

TRR
10-06-2005, 09:58 AM
What do I have to do with the Steve Miller Band?

Saulbadguy
10-06-2005, 09:59 AM
What do I have to do with the Steve Miller Band?
ROFL

I have been anxiously awaiting this post...

ZepSinger
10-06-2005, 10:03 AM
Yeeeaahhhh......I'm, uh, going to have to sort of, uh, disagree with you there.

Just my personal opinion, of course. Hey, anyone who can have a successful multi-decade career in music is doing something right. :)

TRR
10-06-2005, 10:04 AM
ROFL

I have been anxiously awaiting this post...

Ok I got it. Jon Miller supposedly came on here and told me some facts about him, and then deleted them. I think that discussion came up about 6 months ago. The guy's a flake. He tries to make money off of unsuspecting college kids who don't get payed to play themselves. Then when Warpaint Illustrated came out, he got a job there (I won't even go into what happened with his Iowa Hawkeye Website) and wrote crap articles like Nick Athan does now.

Those are the facts.

Saulbadguy
10-06-2005, 10:05 AM
Just my personal opinion, of course. Hey, anyone who can have a successful multi-decade career in music is doing something right. :)
I like Steve Miller. His band is the first classic rock I really ever got in to when I was a kid (9 years old).

stevieray
10-06-2005, 10:07 AM
Ok I got it. Jon Miller supposedly came on here and told me some facts about him, and then deleted them. I think that discussion came up about 6 months ago. The guy's a flake. He tries to make money off of unsuspecting college kids who don't get payed to play themselves. Then when Warpaint Illustrated came out, he got a job there (I won't even go into what happened with his Iowa Hawkeye Website) and wrote crap articles like Nick Athan does now.

Those are the facts.

people keep talkin about me baby...