Steve Miller Recalls Taking Charge In The Studio
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Steve Miller Recalls Taking Charge In The Studio
Although the Steve Miller Band had made its reputation with its early records and bombastic live shows -- Steve Miller remembers that it took nearly five years for him to record his music on his own terms in the studio. Miller, who grew up with the legendary guitarist Les Paul as a close family friend, recalled to Uncut that things were far from cool upon inking with Capitol Records -- his home for 20 years, "I’d signed with Les Paul’s label and I thought I would have all these great resources, they’d help me make these great records, and of course what I’d down was just joined this pool of bands that were fighting against each other for the same resources." Barely into his first year of his contract, he asked to be released in exchange for the six-figure sum he had signed for. A compromise was reached that kept Miller on the label and allowed him to choose his own producer and studio.
Miller recalls passing on none other than the Beatles’ producer George Martin, who wanting to hit the studio with the Steve Miller Band. Miller recalled: "He said he would do it, but he wanted points and everything, and I’m cheap and ruthless, and wouldn’t pay him! Brilliant businessman that I am."
He went on to explain that he truly earned his studio chops upon traveling to London to work at Olympic Studios with Rolling Stones and Who producer/engineer Glyn Johns, remembering, "They loved rock n’ roll, they loved us, and we loved them. I browbeat Glyn Johns every step of the way! I wanted my records to be dry and present and he liked lots of echo. Every step of the process I was breathing down his neck."
Miller went on to say, "I learned a lot from Glyn, because he had been working with pop groups making pop records and was able to bring a lot of organization to our sessions."
Steve Miller says that he didn't begin to fully appreciate his studio work until he began self-producing his own sessions: "When I stared making records I was a little overwhelmed by the technical end of it. They had producers, and I fought with those producers all the time. The first record I produced when I said, ‘Okay, I’ll be responsible for it’ went platinum and was The Joker. So, if you’re capable of doing your own thing and controlling your own environment, I highly recommend it."
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