There have been 25 members of the Steve Miller Band during the past five decades, but next April, the Space Cowboy will stand at the podium all by himself at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “I think that’s probably the right choice,” he says. “Right before I moved out to San Francisco, I played in Buddy Guy’s band. One night, he said to me, ‘Listen, man, when you get out there, call it the Steve Miller Band. You’re going to go through lots and lots of musicians, and you don’t want everyone to get all upset when you fire your bass player.’ It turned out to be really good advice.”
Thanks. It’s been a big day.
Who told you?
My manager Scott [Boorey] called me up and said, “I want to be the first to congratulate you.”
What was your reaction?
I was very pleased and happy about it.
Is this something you expected?
It wasn’t. I hadn’t really thought much about it. When it came up earlier this year, I was really surprised and amazed to watch all the voting and all the stuff that’s going on. Who else is being inducted? Do you know?
Sure. It’s Cheap Trick …
Deep Purple, Chicago and N.W.A.
All right. Gosh, I wish the Spinners would make it! They’re one of my favorite all-time live groups. I used to see them all the time.
The guys in Chicago told me you used to open for them back in the 1960s.
Oh, yeah. We played lots of gigs together back at the Family Dog or the Avalon Ballroom, the Fillmore. I’ve always enjoyed Cheap Trick. I’m glad they’re in. That’s great too.
Are you a fan of Deep Purple?
Yeah. I’ve always liked their work, and everybody. N.W.A, Deep Purple, the Spinners. I like most bands.
You said you were surprised to even be on the ballot. Why?
It’s just taken such a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time. After a while you just kind of go, “This is taking an awful long time!” I’m glad they took their time. I’m sure they made the right decision.
Did it start to offend you that you just weren’t getting on that ballot?
I never felt offended. 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. I’m sure now that I’m in it, I’ll be forgotten about and nobody will have anything to complain about.
I started playing rock & roll in 1956, so I’ve been here from the beginning. I’ve seen it go through everything, from the time in Chicago to out to San Francisco to all these different phases. It’s been a great, long life of playing music, and I’m really honored to be inducted. I’m quite pleased.