Steve Miller Talks Career Longevity and Being Sampled

Steve Miller never intended to have a career in music. The frontman of the Steve Miller Band said he started playing music at the age of 12 and saw his first chance to make an album when he was “really bored with college” and he took it.

With over 18 albums since then, Miller, now 79, continues to leave his mark on the music world. His influence can be heard on countless samples, covers and up-and-coming artists like King Calaway. Country’s band will join forces on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stage with the release of his tribute to Miller, “I’m Feelin’ Good (Steve Miller Band)” in late 2022. New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash on CBS on Saturday (December 31).

[RELATED: 5 Deep Cuts From Steve Miller Band That You Should Be Listening To]

Prior to his set at The Stage on Lower Broadway, Miller spoke with the American songwriter about his career, sampled and heard his cover of The Neville Brothers’ “Fly Like an Eagle” for the first time. Miller also spoke about his performance with King Callaway, describing his New Year’s Eve collaboration “Take the Money and Run” as “a big jump off a cliff.”

“We had never met or played together,” he told American Songwriter of working with King Callaway. “We said hello, hung out for a bit, and said, ‘Okay, why don’t we sing some harmonies?'” I know you have done your homework and are ready to sing my song with me. As a writer, I am always grateful when people learn the right things. ”

King Calaway’s song “I’m Feelin’ Good (Steve Miller Band)” takes its name from the Steve Miller Band’s “Rock’n Me”, although other bands have sampled or covered the act. I am “Take the Money and Run” alone has been sampled by Nas, NWA, Run-DMC and De La Soul. Miller says it was always unexpected when another act sampled his band’s music.

“I was always amazed when other people sampled my music, or when the Neville Brothers played ‘Fly Like an Eagle,’” says Miller. “A friend of mine said, ‘Hey, the Neville Brothers just recorded Fly Like an Eagle,’ and this huge warm glow covered my whole body. I love it and the fact that they would perform one of my songs was so unexpected I was so excited.

“And then as time went on, people soon started sampling my music. rice field.”

Miller says his entire career has been a surprise. He moved to California in his 1960s, signed a recording contract, and began making records as Steve His Mirror His Band.

“After only seven or eight years, I finally got my hands on the song. It went viral and became a real hit, and that changed everything,” he recalls. “It gave us the money to improve our production, improve our band, improve all of our work.”

That “viral” song was the No. 1 hit “Joker,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. At the height of the song’s success in late 1973, Miller recalls that “Joker” was played on the radio twice an hour, 24 hours a day.

[RELATED: King Calaway on Steve Miller Band’s Influence]

“Everything changed,” he says of the song’s success. “I was driving to the Fox in Oakland He was driving to the theater and at the same time he was on four radio stations.

“I’m 79 now and for some reason I still play,” he continues. “I feel good and the band, these songs have endured for 50 years. ”

Photo Credit: Tim Brown / Courtesy of Big Hassle

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