Entertainment

Fly Like An Eagle Steve Miller Brings His Greatest Hits To Eastern Washington University

Guitar ace and prodigious hit maker Steve Miller is doing a short blues tour this fall.

“I’ve got to do a blues tour for my own sanity,” he told a reporter last summer.

But don’t get your hopes up, blues fans: Cheney, Wash., is not on the blues list.

No, it will be the Gangster of Love that shows up at Eastern Washington University Wednesday, not the Chicago bluesman.

Miller opened a five-city blues tour Sunday at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. But scattered in among the blues concerts will be three “greatest hits” shows, and the EWU date is one of them.

Paul Wasserman, president of the Wasserman Group, which handles publicity for Miller, said the odd arrangement results from a quirk of scheduling. “The reason a few dates were put in that weren’t blues,” Wasserman said, “(is that) there were a few dates they couldn’t get in during the summer tour.”

So, instead of the blues, fans in Tucson, Phoenix and Cheney will get the same show Miller played at The Gorge in September. Miller uses the same band for both types of music - including popular blues harpist Norton Buffalo - so it’s possible we may get a taste of the blues in Cheney.

But maybe not: Miller seems to keep the two formats separate.

“I’d prefer not to,” he said when asked if he would include any of his hits on the blues tour. “I may do some of the blues cuts from my album. But I play the greatest hits during my summer concerts every year and that is not what this is about.”

Is the converse true? We’ll find out Wednesday.

Long before he became famous for such hits as “The Joker,” “Fly Like An Eagle” and “Rock’n Me,” Miller was a bluesman.

He came by it naturally: Les Paul gave him his first guitar lesson and T-Bone Walker once played a party in Miller’s parents’ living room. When he was 14, Miller backed Jimmy Reed in a Dallas bar.

As a young guitar stud in Chicago, Miller played with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton and the Butterfield Blues Band.

He moved to San Francisco in 1966 where he play bass for Lightning Hopkins and jammed with Jimi Hendrix.

But when it came time to make his own music, he created a white kid’s take on the blues which he called “hot rod blues.” He signed with Capitol Records in 1968 and went London to cut his first record, “Children of the Future,” with Rolling Stones producer Glynn Johns.

But Miller never lost his love of the blues and has returned periodically to the security of its 12-bar confines.

In 1986, his jazz and blues album, “Born 2 B Blue,” won critical praise, though few fans were prompted to shell out their hard-earned cash.

Even so, Miller still feels the need to get out and do the blues now and again.

“I need to do the Chicago blues like I learned ‘em,” he before embarking on his current blues tour; “the way Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf really did it, the way it really was. It will be a very carefully done presentation of my favorite weird Chicago blues tunes. “I spent three years in Chicago, playing with Muddy, Wolf and all the guys. I remember what that was like and I want to bring that back.”

Blues fans with good connections may be able to find tickets to Miller’s sold-out blues shows Nov. 17 Portland’s Schnitzer Concert Hall Nov. 18 and 19 at Seattle’s Paramount Theater or Nov. 20 at Eugene’s Holt Center.

The rest of us will have to wait until after the first of the year: That’s the expected release date for a new, live CD recorded, appropriately enough, at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, Wednesday, Thursday, tonight and Saturday.

ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: These 3 sidebars appeared with the story: 1. STEVE MILLER BAND Location and time: EWU Pavilion, Wednesday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20, $15 students with ID. 2. MORE ON MILLER Getting there From Spokane, take the first Cheney exit from Interstate-90 and continue on that road past the Cheney Rodeo Grounds (which will be on your right). Turn right at the first sign for EWU, which is before you get to Cheney. (The road is Betz, but it’s not marked; you’ll know it’s the right road if you cross railroad tracks as soon as you turn). The road curves to the left and becomes Washington Street. Turn right into parking lot P9 at the football field, which is the closest parking to the Special Events Pavilion. Other parking lots near the Pavilion are P12 and P16. 3. MUSICALLY SPEAKING Top-selling albums recorded by the Steve Miller Band: “Sailor,” “Brave New World,” “Your Saving Grace,” “Number 5,” “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Book of Dreams,” “Greatest Hits 1974-78,” “Circle of Love,” “Abracadabra.”

The top-selling singles recorded by the Steve Miller Band: “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner,” “Jungle Love,” “Swingtown,” “Heart Like a Wheel,” “Abracadabra.”

These 3 sidebars appeared with the story: 1. STEVE MILLER BAND Location and time: EWU Pavilion, Wednesday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20, $15 students with ID. 2. MORE ON MILLER Getting there From Spokane, take the first Cheney exit from Interstate-90 and continue on that road past the Cheney Rodeo Grounds (which will be on your right). Turn right at the first sign for EWU, which is before you get to Cheney. (The road is Betz, but it’s not marked; you’ll know it’s the right road if you cross railroad tracks as soon as you turn). The road curves to the left and becomes Washington Street. Turn right into parking lot P9 at the football field, which is the closest parking to the Special Events Pavilion. Other parking lots near the Pavilion are P12 and P16. 3. MUSICALLY SPEAKING Top-selling albums recorded by the Steve Miller Band: “Sailor,” “Brave New World,” “Your Saving Grace,” “Number 5,” “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Book of Dreams,” “Greatest Hits 1974-78,” “Circle of Love,” “Abracadabra.”

The top-selling singles recorded by the Steve Miller Band: “The Joker,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner,” “Jungle Love,” “Swingtown,” “Heart Like a Wheel,” “Abracadabra.”



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