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Interview:
Steve Miller Band at DTE, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

Steve Miller has been rock’n us for a long time now -- 50 years, in fact, since the release of the first two Steve Miller Band albums.

Along the way he’s notched five platinum-or-better albums -- including the “Greatest Hits 1974-1978,” which has sold some 14 million copies in the U.S. Miller’s hit list includes enduring favorites such as “The Joker,” “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Jungle Love,” “Jet Airliner,” “Rock’n Me” and “Abracadabra,” and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during 2016.

At 74 he has no plans to stop, either; His second summer tour with Peter Frampton will yield a new album, and there are projects afoot spurred by the aforementioned 50th anniversary...

• Miller says by phone that he and Frampton are enjoying touring together now as much, if not more, than they did last year. “I think the main thing is it was so much fun, a really, really beautifully balanced show. I met (Frampton) when I recorded my first album at Olympic Studios (in London), so it’s been 50 years. It’s a very exciting part of the show, when Pete comes out and we play together, and we’re getting a lot of requests to do more shows so we said ‘Let’s run this thing. We won’t have to stop it until it’s time to stop.’”

• The two jam primarily on blues covers from the songbooks of Elmore James, Otis Rush, Freddie King and others, and they’re planning to compile the performances into an album for release later this year or next. “Jamming together has turned out to be a real interesting thing,” Miller says. “We’re just having fun. It’s an added bonus to the tour, just a really, really great musical combination. (The record) is pretty much everything we’ve jammed from last year up through this year...As we go on we’ll add more tunes -- some Muddy Waters things and some Ray Charles things. We’re going through all of our favorite blues tunes and playing them.”

• Hitting 50 years, Miller says, “feels like 50 minutes. I remember meeting Peter in London like it was last summer. It goes so fast. It’s amazing how quickly a lifetime passes When I was a kid I’d hear people say ‘50 years’ and I’d think, ‘Wow, tired and exhausted’ or something, and it’s nothing like that for us. But, y’know, I’ll be 75 in October; That finally makes you go, ‘Well, time is limited now.’ It’s not like we can do anything we want, forever. It’s like the next six decisions I make are gonna be the last six. You don’t know how much time you have, but I feel good. I don’t feel old. I’m really enjoying touring and playing, and I want to do it for the rest of my life. But it just goes by really fast.”

• After initial reluctance, Miller has been digging through is vaults and is planning to put out a collection of unreleased material as well as a coffee table photo book, probably next year. “I’m hypersensitive about it. I’ll go, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t want to release that,’ and other people will say, ‘Yeah, you should release that. What’s wrong with you?’ (laughs) Once I got into it I’ve enjoyed it and have realized some of the really good work we did and all the great people I’ve worked with and all these things. That’s been interesting,” Miller notes. “Fifty years -- It’s amazing how fast a life goes by. So we’re trying to gather all the outtakes and interesting bits that weren’t released and songs that were recorded that were never released, and we found some really good stuff.”

• Miller has been making new music, too, some of which fans can hear playing over the PA before Miller and his band take the stage. “I’m always writing stuff and working on things, but there’s a part of me that goes ‘I don’t want to put out a record and sell, like, 9,000 copies,’ I’m trying to fight with that. There’s miles of performances, of every jam, of every spontaneous idea, like, ‘Hey let’s play this tonight, let’s do that...’ There’s hours of that kind of stuff. I just don’t know who wants to hear all of that.”



If You Go:

• The Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton

• 7 p.m. Sunday, June 17.

• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

• Tickets are $29.50-$185.

• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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