Steve Miller

Fenster writes:

Steve Miller is a protean fellow as a musician.  Blues artist, psychedelic pioneer, pop craftsman and now feted at Lincoln Center under the broad umbrella of jazz.


This caused me to reflect on a blog post Fenster wrote in 2004.

The Revolution Will Not be Televised

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Bob Weir and Steve Miller have both become members of the Bohemian Grove, that sinister cabal of world puppetmasters (check it out: a web search on “Bohemian Grove” and “conspiracy” yields over 17,00 hits).

Weir is, of course, a former member of the Grateful Dead, the ultimate psychedelic band, musically and literally (see: Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test). Miller, while best known for mainstream 80s rock hits like The Joker, cut his teeth as a bandleader in the San Francisco Summer of Love era, where he headed the Steve Miller Blues Band and penned psychedelic, generationally-inflected blues anthems like Children of the Future (“we are children of the future; wonder what in this world we are going to do, going to do . . .”)

Run the world, apparently.

Running the world will be something of a new experience to these rockers, but it’s doubtless the culmination of a long-held dream. Plus, frolicking naked in the woods ought to come pretty natural.

The Journal reports that the Grove has started something of an affirmative action program for younger people, given that the average age of members is over 60.

Mr. Miller is 61.

Steve Miller in blues phase 1968

Children of the Future.  1968.


Pop craftsman.

About Fenster

Gainfully employed for thirty years, including as one of those high paid college administrators faculty complain about. Earned Ph.D. late in life and converted to the faculty side. Those damn administrators are ruining everything.
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8 Responses to Steve Miller

  1. Faze says:

    The renown of both Steve Miller and the Grateful Dead always seemed out of proportion to their achievements. Perhaps its because they were so well connected with the establishment. If Jim Morrison were still alive, he’d be doin’ the Bohemian Grove thing now.


  2. Miss Conduct says:

    Miles Davis called him a “no-playin’ white cat.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Iggy says:

      Does “no-playin'” mean not a good musician, can’t play, or does it mean good musician, doesn’t screw around?


      • fenster says:

        “Miss Conduct says:
        April 13, 2016 at 10:18 pm

        Speaking of Miles Davis, in his biography he called Steve Miller a “no-playin’ white cat.” They were both on the bill at some festival. It’s the kind of linguistic kill-shot you never forget.”

        Still not sure . . .


      • fenster says:

        Actually here is your answer and it was what I expected:

        When it comes to the meeting of Davis and Steve Miller, the story gets juicier, and much more Miles: the difficult performer, not the impossibly cool musician. (It sometimes seems like the word “difficult” was invented to describe Miles Davis.) The trumpeter’s well-earned egotism lends his legacy a kind of rakish charm, but I don’t relish the positions of those record company executives and promoters who had to wrangle him, though many of them were less than charming individuals themselves. Columbia Records’ Clive Davis, who does not have a reputation as a pushover, sounds alarmed in his recollection of Miles’ reaction after he forced the trumpeter to play the Fillmore dates to market psychedelic jazz-funk masterpiece Bitches Brew to white audiences.

        According to John Glatt, Davis remembers that Miles “went nuts. He told me he had no interest in playing for ‘those fu*king long-haired kids.’” Particularly offended by The Steve Miller Band, Davis refused to arrive on time to open for an artist he deemed “a sorry-ass cat,” forcing Miller to go on before him. “Steve Miller didn’t have his shit going for him,” remembers Davis in his expletive-filled autobiography, “so I’m pissed because I got to open for this non-playing motherfu*ker just because he had one or two sorry-ass records out. So I would come late and he would have to go on first and then when we got there, we smoked the motherfu*king place, and everybody dug it.” There is no doubt Davis and Quintet smoked. Hear them do “Directions” above from an Early Show on March 6, 1970.


      • Iggy says:

        fenster, thanks for the gloss.

        Liked by 1 person

    • JV says:

      Heh, I remember that from his autobiography, which is HIGHLY recommended, by the way. The guy is a piece of work, to put it lightly. But he’s also, to my mind, the most important musician post-1950, and it’s not even close. And late 60s Miles is my favorite period of his. This performance, for instance. Musicians operating at the absolute highest level possible, in my opinion:

      It’s a bit unfair to compare Steve Miller with Miles, of course. Miller wrote some great pop songs and Miles changed Western music on a fundamental level. No reason we can’t enjoy both.


      • fenster says:

        I named my son Miles, part Davis and part Standish. Somewhere in between–the best of both one hopes rather than the worst.


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