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Gangster of Love 

After five decades, Steve Miller keeps on rocking

The Steve Miller Band has been making pop tunes for over five decades. Photo by jay Blakesberg.

The Steve Miller Band has been making pop tunes for over five decades. Photo by jay Blakesberg.

Since a dozen of their songs have been floating around in my head for most of my days alive, I've always felt like I must know a lot about The Steve Miller Band. But when I sat down to write this piece, I realized I actually knew next to nothing about them except the weird and random fun facts I invented in my head after too many spins of "Fly Like an Eagle."

So, don't be like Jared and assume that Miller wrote "The Joker" while paragliding through the Peruvian jungle high on peyote after watching "Alice in Wonderland" for three weeks straight. I'm not saying that's not a true story, but the research just doesn't shed any light on that fabricated piece of rock and roll lore. Still, there are some pretty interesting things to know about The Steve Miller Band. In fact, here are the five most interesting things I learned about The Steve Miller Band. (Some of them are made up.)

1. The band formed in 1966 in San Francisco where they dabbled in psychedelic rock for the first few years. Since 1968 they have released 18 studio albums, six live albums, seven compilation albums and around 29 singles. All told, the band has sold around 60 million records.

2. The band's first record, "Children of the Future," (1968) featured Boz Scaggs on guitar. At the time of its release, Rolling Stone magazine compared the band to Moby Grape and the style of the record to Sgt. Pepper. This is VERY different than the sound they became known for in the mid-1970s.

3. Along with The Eagles, The Steve Miller Band is exactly who you picture when someone uses the term "Dad Rock" or "Dorm Rock" to describe a genre of music. Both answers are correct and will be accepted on the test.

4. From 1976 to 1986, Steve Miller owned a ranch in the old gold mining town of Williams, between Grants Pass and Medford. During his ownership, Miller built a 9,000-square-foot pole barn with an oak floor. When his tour bus wasn't parked inside, the roadies would use the barn for games of indoor basketball.

5. In 2015, Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Deep Purple, Chicago, Cheap Trick and NWA. He was outspoken about his displeasure in regard to the event. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Miller gave one of the single greatest quotes about the record industry of all time: "This whole industry fu#@ing sucks and this little get-together you guys have here is like a private boys' club and it's a bunch of jackasses and jerks and fu#@ing gangsters and crooks who've fu#@ing stolen everything from a fu#@ing artist. Telling the artist to come out here and tap dance."

There are plenty of other fun facts to learn about Mr. Miller and his band, but there's not enough space here. I never learned what "Pompatus" meant (that strange word used in the song "The Joker") although I'm sure Google could teach me. Maybe Miller will tell us at his show, or maybe it will be a mystery forever.

The Steve Miller Band

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 6:30 pm

Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr., Bend


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