Read Black Keys’ Jokey Steve Miller Rock Hall Induction
Steve Miller has accepted his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction on behalf of the Steve Miller Band, a group that has seen 25 members during the last five decades. Known best for “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run” and “Fly Like an Eagle,” the group became a Seventies juggernaut, churning out a string of massive hits.
Miller’s journey to the Rock Hall has been a long time coming, but as he told Rolling Stone, he wasn’t offended by his omission all these years. “I kind of enjoyed having people complain that I wasn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than I think I’ll like being in it,” he said. “I’m sure now that I’m in it, I’ll be forgotten about and nobody will have anything to complain about.”
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On Friday night, Miller was inducted by the Black Keys, a duo who has also taken a basic blues-rock base and transformed it into a rock-radio powerhouse. Here’s what the Keys had to say about Miller and his group.
Dan Auerbach: Good evening, we’re the Black Keys, and researching for this speech, we learned a lot about Steve Miller that we didn’t know before. Miller was born in Milwaukee.
Patrick Carney: A lot of Millers coming from Milwaukee, but only one of them wrote “Fly Like an Eagle,” because cans of beer can’t write songs.
Auerbach: Steve Miller is a virtuoso guitar player. He’s a visionary and a true musician who is always focused on music. We’re here today celebrating Mr. Steve Miller because he is one of the most iconic and lasting songwriters of a generation. If you listen to the radio, you listen to Steve Miller.
Like so many great musicians, he was driven and extremely resourceful at a young age. After his family moved to Dallas, he started his first band at age 12. In typical Steve Miller fashion, he knocked it out of the park. He taught his older brother to play the bass so somebody could drive the band to gigs. He sent letters to every fraternity, sorority, every school, country club, church, synagogue – synagogue rock, very underrated – and in a matter of weeks, this 12-year-old had the band booked out for months.
After returning to Wisconsin for college, he decided he actually wanted to learn something, so he dropped out and followed his gut instinct. He wanted to play electric blues. That meant he needed to go to Chicago. His mother, she supported his decision. His father thought he was insane. Maybe he was; maybe he wasn’t. Either way, he left for Chicago. There were few places more inspiring for a blues freak than Chicago in the Fifties and Sixties. It’s where the countrified boogie of Mississippi and Memphis met the mean streets of a proper, big-time metropolis. The clubs were packed and the music played all night long. There was also no place more brutally cutthroat for a guitarist than Chicago in the early Sixties. Before deciding to finally head out west, Steve shared the stage in Chicago with some of the greatest musicians of all time: Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, just to name a few.