Steve Miller At The R&RHOF

“Black Keys: We Regret Inducting Steve Miller After Rock Hall Insults”

He didn’t remember who I was either.

That’s right, I came up to him backstage, at the Hollywood Bowl, he was opening for Journey. I’d raved about his recent performance at the Greek, we’d exchanged e-mail, which was not brief. He was standing in a circle of fans, soaking up the adulation, and I went up to say hi and got no reaction, even when I explained who I was.

Did it smart?

Of course it did, it’s not something I’ll forget.

But it drew a line in the sand, he’s Steve Miller and I’m not.

He’s Steve Miller and Dan Auerbach is not.

Been a crazy kind of week here at the old rock and roll trading post. The sound may be dead, but the purveyors are still alive, positively live wires. Bruce Springsteen refused to play North Carolina and then Steve Miller eviscerated record companies and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in one fell swoop.


That’s what a rock star does, speak from his heart without worrying about consequences.

I love the wimps in N.C. who believe they’re entitled to see Bruce, as if by buying the “River” and overpaying for a scalped ticket it’s all about them. That’s been the change in society, the elevation of nobodies to somebodies, at least in their own mind. Why don’t you sacrifice everything and try to make it, it’s nearly impossible.

Oh, it looks easy to be a star, but the truth is when you’re starting out no one’s on your team, and back then not even your parents, isn’t that what the Boss so famously says? You’ve got to save up for your own equipment, the kids in school make fun of you, and then you survive in dumps looking for your one big break. Springsteen got a record deal and a ton of publicity but no real sales action, nothing happened until he went on the road and played hours-long sets convincing the public one by one, such that when he got it right on wax the whole thing exploded.

As for Steve Miller… He went to San Francisco before there was a sound, he’d been playing from before the Beatles broke through. When music wasn’t a road to riches, but something you did for personal satisfaction, to get your emotions out, to connect.

Imagine not doing it for the money. Everybody today thinks about the money first. And they make decisions accordingly. Hell, Auerbach is bitching in the above story that he just can’t make enough. If only he wrote a song as good as Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”!

Not that I need to rag on Auerbach, but he doesn’t have the best reputation either.

That’s right, the closest people to Steve Miller have bad things to say.

But when my baby’s callin’ me home, when I feel like the space cowboy, when I get in that 707…I hear his songs in my head.

Back in ’69, when I had to see “Brave New World” live. Have you heard “Seasons”? Even Paul McCartney played with him. And speaking of pricks, have you heard any of the stories about John Lennon? The boy who rose from the streets but never really left them? You can clean a person up, but their insides remain. Lennon struggled. And he just couldn’t handle the two-faced phonies who glommed on to him once he became famous.

As for Miller deriding the record exec…

They come and go, the acts remain. You’re stuck on the label and the entire team has been replaced. All the relationships you made, PFFTT!  Meanwhile, everybody’s wining and dining on your money. Should Miller be grateful? That’s twenty first century b.s., where you keep thanking everybody fearful they’ll turn on you and ruin your career.

As for the Rock Hall itself… If you ask me, they should have shut the doors long ago. Now it’s all about personal agendas. Jann Wenner’s personal agenda, Rosemary Carroll’s personal agenda, all the horseshit those who don’t actually play employ to make themselves feel good.

You know what makes me feel good?

Listening to Steve Miller’s music. And the prog rockers and hard rockers who have not been let in, because they’re too out there and too scruffy to be involved. The whole thing is so p.c. as to be laughable.

And then you’ve got an alta kacher calling them out and everybody gets their knickers in a twist?

That’s what’s so astounding about this Steve Miller thing. The reach it’s gotten. That’s the power of truth. That’s the power of the bully pulpit. And for Dan Auerbach to go complaining to “Rolling Stone,” the engine of the atrocities, is kinda like Hillary Clinton coming out for the banks. No one wants this truth Dan. But you’re afraid to call out the iniquities behind the curtain, as Mr. Miller did. 10k for a ticket? It’s at Barclays? When is enough money enough? Hell, Jann Wenner flies private when most of the inductees do not!

I don’t even watch the show on HBO anymore. Phony speeches by people looking for their own moment of publicity, a big party when the truth is when done right music is dangerous, it challenges preconceptions, it makes you uncomfortable before you embrace it as the shit.

Why in hell were the Black Keys the inductors here anyway? Can you explain the nexus to me?

Hey Dan, why don’t you air your dirty laundry with Pat? Create some sparks? He who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.

If only Boz Scaggs inducted Miller. But maybe he’s not warm on the guy himself. Then again, Boz took a risk, went solo, and straight into the dumper before he became the biggest star in the land.

That’s rock and roll, it’s about following your muse, even if it leads you to the graveyard.

There is no guaranteed success.

And if you want people fun to hang with personally go back to your high school reunion and converse with those who never left town, who are working for the man.

Glory days indeed. The ones wherein all these faceless, nameless people drove around in their Chevys listening to the “Joker,” dreaming about running when the truth is they were born to stay in place.

If you can’t separate the music from the man, you haven’t met any famous people. It’s rough out there, hate to disillusion you.

But there once was a note, pure and easy, playing so free, like a breath rippling by. And this note kept us going. Something the money in your wallet will not. And probably none of these tracks are eternal, but for a while back there, in the sixties and seventies, they created a whole movement, they turned society upside down, they illustrated possibilities and rode shotgun as we tried to be our best selves…as well as getting high and laid.

That’s why there IS a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Because of the revolution.

And the revolutionaries don’t bitch, they just carry on. They make change. They make a difference.

Like Alexander Hamilton.

That show is the most rock and roll thing that’s happened this year. And it’s hip-hop and it’s theatre but the truth is…it gets you right in the heart, we’re stunned that Lin-Manuel Miranda came up with the concept and executed so well. Kind of like Keith with the riff from “Satisfaction” and the rest of the Stones with the lyrics and recording. Where did the inspiration come from? How did they get it so right? Do the people who did this, achieved such greatness, deserve our accolades?


Don’t ever forget it. It’s about the work. If you want to be liked, if you want to get along, labor at the factory, park your ass in the cubicle farm.

But make no mistake, those people are nothing like Steve Miller or John Lennon or Don Henley, who had the audacity to reach for the stars and got there.

You don’t have the balls to reach for the brass ring. You didn’t change society. And you want to piss on those who did?

That’s bullshit.

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