Up to last week, I wouldn’t have known Steve Miller if he had passed me in the street. He’s one of those people I’ve just never seen interviewed (as far as I can remember), and his music is just far enough outside of the mainstream that you don’t see him regularly on the likes of MTV or in the music magazines. All in all, I get the impression that he likes his anonymity.
I love his music though; him and his older brother Glenn (that’s a joke, by the way; keep up). Even Steve’s really early stuff, like 1968’s Living In The USA is worth checking out – he definitely hit the ground running. Everybody loves The Joker (or at least everybody seems to have loved it ever since Levi’s used it for an advertising campaign in 1990). Take The Money And Run, Fly Like An Eagle, Jet Airliner – just awesome; and even the later cheese like Abracadabra can be happily put in the guilty pleasures pile.
But then, bursting out of his cloud of anonymity last week, after being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, he shows his true colours. Half of his complaints in regards to the Hall Of Fame process and the music business in general seemed to be fair enough – and probably needed to be said – but his attitude and treatment of the Black Keys was just disgusting. A severe case of Grumpy Old Man syndrome.
Looking very uncomfortable in a pair of matching leather jackets, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney gave a lovely speech to induct Miller, but ended up leaving the venue half-way through his set. According to Auerbach, Miller didn’t even know who they were when they were introduced backstage (after the event he complained about the aspect of not being able to choose who inducts you) and was just unpleasant to them throughout the evening.
I don’t think those outside of the USA truly understand the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame process. It does seem to be a very American thing. Most of the coverage of it seems to be from commentators amazed at how certain acts are still to be inducted, decades after their commercial peak. I applaud Miller for holding the institution up to the light, but I just can’t get over that Black Keys thing.
I’m not a huge fan of the Black Keys. In my eyes they sold out a long time ago, but Miller’s attitude seems to stem from reverse ageism – disrespecting them for being a younger band. What a battler.
Hit: Jet Airliner
Hidden Gem: Threshold