Steve Miller - lead vocals, guitar; Byron Allred - keyboards; David Denny - guitar; Lonnie Turner - bass, vocals; Gary Mallaber - drums; Norton Buffalo - harmonica, vocals
This brilliant live performance by the Steve Miller Band (originally broadcast as a King Biscuit Flower Hour show) dates back to 1976, when Miller (with an all new band) took to the road to promote his now classic Fly Like an Eagle album. He continued to have hits and stayed fairly active for another ten years before slowing down a bit to enjoy a slower pace of life. Over thirty years since this show was performed, the Steve Miller Band has remained a strong staple of FM radio play lists and is still always a big concert draw.
Steve Miller was born into a musical family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which explains his complete devotion to his art. His mother was an accomplished jazz/pop vocalist and his father was a devout jazz music and hi-fi recording buff. Renowned musicians such as Les Paul, Red Norvo, Tal Farlow and Charles Mingus used to come to their house and hang out. They'd be playing clubs in Milwaukee and often were invited to the Miller home for dinner and impromptu jam sessions. It was during these formative years that Miller knew he wanted to be a musician. After his family had moved to Dallas, Texas, while he was a teenager, Steve Miller formed his first band, the Marksmen Combo, with a new friend, Boz Scaggs. At 14, he was sitting in at the biggest and most important music clubs in Dallas, jamming with the likes of Jimmy Reed.
Miller enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, and while attending college, formed a new group, the Ardells. This band would include future jazz star Ben Sidran, who, with Scaggs, would eventually also be members of the Steve Miller Band. After a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, Miller returned to the U.S. in 1964. He settled in Chicago, and was suddenly sucked into the thriving blues scene. He formed the Steve Miller Blues Band, and at only 22, was working (and playing) with legends such as Howlin' Wolf, James Cotton, Muddy Waters and Paul Butterfield.
Two years later, the Steve Miller Blues Band moved to San Francisco, which was at the dawn of the hippie/youth movement. After they made their first album, a live LP whereby they backed Chuck Berry at the Fillmore West (which can be heard here at the Concert Vault), the group dropped "Blues" from their name and began to broaden their music horizons. They started writing and performing in a myriad of styles that included rock, jazz, progressive, R&B, and of course, blues. Somehow, with Miller's distinct vocals and guitar work, it all sounded consistent.
Within 18 months, the group was signed to Capitol Records, home, at that time, to The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Miller, upon advice from Les Paul, demanded and received full artistic control on all recordings released, something he maintained throughout his entire career. He went on to have a number of Top 10 and FM radio hits including "Living In The U.S.A.," "The Joker," "Fly Like An Eagle," 'Rock 'N' Me Baby," "Take The Money And Run," and many others. This show is classic Steve Miller and remains a pleasant ride on the "way back" machine.