Hola rock fundis ........ So there I was, cross-eyed and painless after a small dental op which kept me off the air live on Thursday ... I mean I could have gone on air but it would have been something like "thash wash Etro Tulm 'n closs 'id Maley" (work that one out rocksperts!). Well at least I got to 'listen' to the show and it struck me just how strange King Crimson sounded back then ... I mean they were, and still are, amazingly accomplished musicians and Robert Fripp must be one of the most innovative and experimental guitarists in the world of rock but when I listen to "Red", "Lizard" and parts of "In the wake of Poseidon" I think to myself 'what planet does this music come from?' .... Crimson could go from total cacophony to melodic gentleness in the space of 12 bars and you know what? That musical fearlessness is what made them so special in the world of progressive rock. I can highly recommend the first two albums "In the court of the Crimson King" and "In the wake of Poseidon" for those new disciples wishing to immerse themselves in something challenging .... In keeping with the unpredictable and electic direction of Rock of Ages, this week's special takes us to the West Coast of America where we hook up with a musician who has at various times been called "The Space Cowboy", "The Gangster of Love" and "Maurice" ... of course you know him as Steve Miller.
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.
For more information visit www.stevemillerband.com
- Children of the Future (1968) *
- Sailor (1968) *
- Brave New World (1969) *
- Your Saving Grace (1969)
- Number 5 (1970)
- Rock Love (1971)
- Recall the Beginning...A Journey From Eden (1972)
- Anthology (1972)
- The Joker (1973) **
- Living in the U.S.A. (1973) *
- Fly Like an Eagle (1976) **
- Book of Dreams (1977)
- Greatest Hits 1974-78 (1978)
- Circle of Love (1981)
- Abracadabra (1982) *
- Live (1983)
- Italian X Rays (1984)
- Living in the 20th Century (1986)
- Born 2B Blue (1988)
- The Best of 1968-1973 (1990)
- Wide River (1993)
- Box Set (1994)
- King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents The Steve Miller Band (2002)
Rock of Ages's recommendations
Whilst 'tis not 'the season to be jolly' yet it seems to be the season for forming rock supergroups ... and the word 'supergroup' seems to have changed its meaning since the formation of arguably the first real supergroup, Blind Faith in 1970. There has been a virtual bull run of new bands boasting rock pedigrees the size of Sherwood Forest: take for instance The Jelly Jam (KingsX, Dream Theatre, Dixie Dregs); Soul Sirkus (Journey,Yngwie Malmsteen); Living Loud (Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Rainbow, Cold Chisel) and The Mob (KingsX - again, Winger, Night Ranger) ... add to this VH1's "Supergroup" which follows the antics of Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach, Jason Bonham and the like as they try to write and record songs and prepare for a debut gig .... shambolic to say the least, oh and the less said about Sebastian the better! ... The latest addition to the classic rock 'supergroup' contenders are The Jones Gang featuring Kenny Jones (Small Faces, Faces, The Who), Rick Wills (Foreigner, Cochise, David Gilmour) and Robert Hart (Bad Company) along with assorted friends including Ronnie Wood, Gary Grainger and Dave "Bucket" Colwell. Their debut album "Any day now" (Next Music) ** is packed with slick adult rock/pop songs with a couple of real rockers like "Red Hot" and "The time of your life" for good measure ......
As any ROA listener would know I am an unashamedly fanatical Beth Hart fan, for me she is the living embodiment of the great Janis Joplin. Her 1995 debut album "Immortal" was one of the best albums of the decade and I was privileged to have worked with her on a short South African promo tour that year - I tell ya she has a voice that can strip wallpaper at 40 paces! Like Janis she has struggled with her demons and this, combined with industry apathy led to a couple of patchy albums in the earlier part of the decade. I'm glad to say 'tho that "Leave the light on" (Koch) *** is a return to the kind of form that saw her hailed as one of the finest new singers in rock today. It's by no means an out and out rock album, there are some small nods to the dreaded pop market but overall she's headed in the right direction. With a brand new band and a basketful of great hook laden songs she mixes blazing hot rockers like "Broken & Ugly" and "Lifts you up" with piano driven ballads like "Lifetime", "World without you" and the title track.
|*****|| Volcanic....not to be missed.
|**** || Seismic....highly recommended...buy it!
|*** || Aftershock....solid effort.
|** || Xmas cracker...Pooof!
|* || Do I need to explain this?
Catch you every Thursday 8 to Midnight ...
Contact Rock of Ages
Email: click here
PO Box 782022, Sandton 2146
Studio phone: 089-1102003
The views, opinions, rants, raves and ramblings expressed on this website are the author's own and in no way reflect the views of Radio 2000 or the SABC.
|Rock Of Ages News
Farrell Unearths Morrison Poem
Janes Addiction's Perry Farrell has discovered a previously unheard tape of the late Jim Morrison reciting a poem called 'Woman In The Window'. He's now composed music to go with this, and the result is to be featured on the upcoming debut album from Satellite Party, Farrell's new project.
Box Set To Mark Doors' 40th
I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock of realizing that it has been almost 40 years since the Doors released their first album in January 1967, so that you can appreciate the good news about the kickoff of their anniversary celebration. Perception, a massive six-CD/six-DVD boxed set is scheduled for release on November 21. Surviving founding members Ray Manzerek, John Densmore and Robbie Krieger were involved in remastering the six albums recorded before Jim Morrison's death, and the selection of previously unreleased "bonus" tracks. The DVDs will include video performances and a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of each album. The remastered albums are The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting For the Sun, The Soft Parade, Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman. Courtesy of www.classicrock.about.com
Short Cuts. Motorhead and The Dwarves will both have songs featured on the soundtrack for the movie 'Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead'. This low budget horror extravaganza is due out in November. Lemmy also makes a cameo appearance in the film ... The Who are to release their first studio album in 24 years through the Universal Republic label. It's to be titled 'Endless Wire' ... Aerosmith are to release a new compilation album in mid-October. It's called 'Devil's Got A New Disguise', and will include two new songs, one being the title track and the other 'Sedona Sunrise' ... Skid Row will release a new album 'Revolutions Per Minute' (SPV), produced by Michael Wagener at the end of October ... the future of 80's powder and lipstick rockers Poison has been thrown into some doubt, after singer Bret Michaels and bassist Bobby Dall got into a fight onstage in Atlanta. The incident happened just before the planned encore, with Michaels throwing his microphone at Dall, who retaliated by hitting the frontman with his bass ..... The Springbok Nude Girls have reformed again this time with the original lineup and will be embarking on a national tour towards the end of this year. 2007 will see the Nudies back in the studio recording their 5th album due for release in the earlier part of the year....
More Classic Rock?
I can highly recommend the About Classic Rock website run by Dave White. Not only does Dave host one of the most knowledgeable classic rock blogs on the Net but the site itself is very entertaining and informative. There are always great indepth stories on the artists and the rock quizzes are addictive. If you are like me, a classic rock fan, then the weekly About Classic Rock newletter is a must. Sign up at classicrock.about.com
More rock on R2K ......
Suffering from Rock withdrawal symptoms on a Tuesday night? Well then tune the dial el pronto to Barney Simon's show between 8 and midnight every Tuesday on Radio 2000 (or R2K as Barney calls it) for the best in South African rock plus gig guide,albums reviews, demos, new releases, news from around the country and much more ...... Unmissable! .... Also don't forget to catch Michelle Constant between 1pm and 3pm Monday-Friday for news, music, interviews and loads of cool stuff .... and of course .... Mo G on the morning drive, weekdays 8-10am ... Exclusively on Radio 2000.
White Mountain Folk Festival
22-25 September Giants Castle Kwa Zulu Natal
Friday - Starplayer, Thirty Three, Movie55, SpoonFeedas
Saturday - Fox Fyre, Zoe, Fiona Tozer, Laurie Levine, Guy Buttery, Shomon, Nibs van der Spuy, Farryl Purkiss, Rory Eliot (Plush), Jim Neversink
Sunday - Krane, Jason Glover, Melody Kaye, Cubic Inch, Quark, Ménage à Trois, Sitter, Karen Zoid
3rd Lord Nelson Hotel, Simonstown
6th Durbanville KunsKafee
7th Bohemia, Stellenbosch
11th Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
22nd Steak & Ale, Pretoria
23rd SinkShack, Bronkhorstspruit
Boulevard Blues Band
3rd Sept Sunday - Berties Mooring 5pm till 8pm
5th Tuesday -'Die Boer' Durbanville....CD Launch for 'Live and Direct'......8pm till 10.15pm .......Acoustic set followed by Electric set.....Filmed performance for DVD.
10th Sunday Guzzlers Durbanville
16th Saturday Flaming Fox Acoustic Sessions
17th Sunday Berties Mooring, Gordons Bay
20th Wed Berties Mooring Acoustic sessions
22nd/23rd Fri/Sat Hermanus Whale Festival.........Times TBA
24th Gecko Bar Hermanus
25th to 1st of Oct Potchefstroom Aardklop festival
6th - 'Die Boer' Durbanville
7th 'Berties Mooring' Gordons Bay. CD Launch for 'Live and Direct'
11th - Berties Mooring
13th/14th Colesburg National Harley Davidson Festival with Bed on Bricks and Karen Zoid
20th - Berties Mooring
21st - Mowbray Golf Club 20th school reunion Acoustic band
26th - Simonsvlei Wine Estate Stellenbosch
28th - Flaming Fox
29th - Berties Mooring
1st Red Door, PMB
2nd Burn, Durban
9th Zanzibar, Pretoria
10th September Liberty Theatre on the Square, Sandton
Nu Folk 5 Albert Frost, Jim Neversink, Josie Field, Laurie Levine, Lusk, Calenso & Wendy New
9th Tempo's, Randburg
Springbok Nude Girls
16th September MTV Alert Concert, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Joburg
8/9 November Shepherd's Bush Empire, London (with Parlotones and Prime Circle)
|You say it's your birthday...
Greg Errico - Sly & The Family Stone - 1946
Mik Kaminski - Electric Light Orchestra - 1951
Steve Jones - Sex Pistols - 1955
Donald Brewer - Grand Funk Railroad - 1948
Eric Bell - Thin Lizzy - 1947
George Biondi - Steppenwolf - 1945
Al Jardine - Beach Boys - 1942
Dweezil Zappa - 1969
Roger Waters - Pink Floyd - 1944
Dave Bargeron - Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1942
Chrissie Hynde - Pretenders - 1951
Buddy Holly - 1936
Courtesy of About ClassicRock
|"Benjy says..." Archive