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Steve Miller

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Steve Miller was born October 5, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Steve’s family was very involved with music. His mother was a jazz-influenced singer, and his father was a pathologist that very interested in the world of music. Dr. Miller was friends with many musicians which greatly aided in young Steve’s development in music. One of his father’s friends included Les Paul, who showed Steve some chords on a guitar at the age of five. Les Paul proved to be a very valuable mentor to Steve, and he became a good friend of the family. When Steve was seven his family moved to Dallas, where he was exposed to a different type of artists that usually did not visit Milwaukee. His father took him to see greats such as Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, and Carl Perkins. Steve was particularly drawn to T-Bone Walker, the father of Texas-style electric blues. This proved to be very influential in Steve’s life, and it is evident by the blues-sound that he exhibited in his guitar playing.

In 1955, Steve Miller started his first band at the age of twelve, the Marksmen. This band consisted of guitarists James Burton and Bob Hayden, and he acquired Barron Cass to play the drums. Steve taught his older brother Buddy to play the bass so that he had someone to drive them to their gigs. They played songs by Ray Charles and the Four Freshman. Steve was finally given the chance to display his showmanship such as spinning into split or throwing the guitar behind his head mid-song. Upon graduating high school Steve moved to Madison, Wisconsin to go to college. At the University of Wisconsin he started his studies in literature. Here he assembled a group called the Ardells. Ben Sidran played the keyboard, and Steve convinced his friend Boz Scaggs to play rhythm guitar. The band received some success, but they got tired of playing meaningless parties and other small-time gigs. Miller decided to study literature his senior year at the University of Copenhagen. After arriving back in the states he heard an act the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. This caught his attention and he left for Chicago to enter the blues-scene, at this point he was only six credits shy of graduating. Once in Chicago he did session work for Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Howlin’ Wolf.
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