The Steve Miller Band, a veteran rock act with blues roots, is performing at the Interlochen Center for the Arts on June 23. This Interlochen event proves that Steve Miller is still flying like an eagle after all these years. MyNorth Media entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau gives a closer look at the star behind this Northern Michigan music event.
Steve Miller Band
How He Got His Start
A native of Milwaukee, Miller’s physician father was also an amateur recording engineer and friends with musicians such as Charles Mingus and Les Paul. Upon hearing young Steve singing and “banging away” on guitar, Paul encouraged him to continue. The family moved to Texas when Miller was 7, and he formed a blues band, the Marksmen Combo, with his friend Boz Scaggs.
The two teamed up again at the University of Wisconsin, before Miller moved to Chicago in 1964, embracing the Windy City’s blues scene and playing with luminaries such as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. But it wasn’t until he moved to San Francisco that he began to make his mark with the Steve Miller Blues Band (later simply the Steve Miller Band), which initially featured Scaggs when Scaggs followed his pal out west.
Blues rock, classic rock
Influences and Inspirations
Cream, Les Paul (his godfather and mentor), the Animals, Them, the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters
In 1973 Miller released The Joker. More rock and less blues-oriented, it became a worldwide hit, and was followed by albums such as Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams. Songs like “Rock’n Me,” “Jungle Love” and “Jet Airliner” solidified his status as a hitmaker.
He’s recorded sporadically since his 1982 chart-topper “Abracadabra,” continuing to explore pop, jazz and blues forms. Miller was an Artist in Residence at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he taught students in the Popular Music and Music Industry programs.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, causing controversy when he railed against the Hall and its induction ceremony, describing the entire process as “unpleasant.” He continued by saying, “They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don’t,” and calling the recording industry in general “gangsters and crooks.”
“I think they need to stop dividing people and being so dismissive of some acts, and they need musicians on the board. The people who are doing the nominating are the opposite of the spirit of rock and roll. They’ve turned it into a very elitist little group of people deciding who is important, who isn’t.” – Steve Miller to Billboard Magazine on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
“What all of these tracks (on Bingo!, Miller’s most recent recording) all have in common is Miller’s signature approach: he is a stellar guitarist who has no need to show off, a tight arranger, and an intuitive modern producer.” – The All Music Guide
Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen Center for the Arts
Date & Time
Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m.
Tickets start at $45.50. Go to Tickets.Interlochen.org
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