Steve Miller, musician,
bandleader, recording genius and longtime Wood River Valley resident, has always
carved a path for himself, both within the music industry and without.
Of his extra curricular activities, keeping pace with the
valley and helping out at benefits has gained him legends of additional fans
across the country. He said he plays two to three benefit shows a year.
To help celebrate the Snake River Alliance’s 25th anniversary,
Miller will play at the Wood River High School football field in Hailey on Sunday,
The Snake River Alliance is an Idaho-based community group
working through research, education, and community advocacy for peace and justice,
the end to nuclear weapons production activities, and responsible solutions
to nuclear waste and contamination, said SRA Development Director Margaret Macdonald
Stewart, of Ketchum.
The organization was formed 25 years ago by concerned citizens
who "learned INEEL was disposing of liquid nuclear and hazardous waste
directly into the Snake River Plain Aquifer, which sits below the site, between
Arco and Idaho Falls," Macdonald Stewart said. The organization is based
in Boise with offices in Ketchum and Pocatello.
Miller was born in Milwaukee to Bertha and Dr. George "Sonny"
Miller. Miller’s dad was an amateur recording engineer in his spare time, and
often invited musicians he had recorded at clubs back to the family house for
Among those guests were legends such as Charlie Mingus,
Les Paul and T-Bone Walker. In fact, Dr. Miller was best man at Les Paul and
Mary Ford’s wedding. What’s more, Paul showed the 5-year-old Steve how to play
his first chords.
The Marksmen, Miller’s first band, formed when he was 12-years-old,
was eventually joined by friend Boz Scaggs. The Steve Miller Blues Band came
into official being in 1967 in San Francisco’s musical hey-day.
Miller's career covers two distinct stages over the course
of his 40-year career. The most important musically was as one of the top San
Francisco blues-rockers during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Later he became
a more mass-market hit maker with tunes such as "The Joker," "Fly Like an Eagle,"
Ask purists and they’ll say they still revere his earlier
tunes, such as "Motherless Child," "Junior Saw it Happen,"
"Space Cowboy," "My Dark Hour" and "Your Saving Grace."
His current band includes longtime band mates Norton Buffalo,
Billy Peterson, Gordy Knudtson, Joseph Wooten and Kenny Lee Lewis.
Miller said he has been a Snake River Alliance supporter
for 15 years.
"I have a real special interest in what they do,"
he said. "Normally, I don’t make a big deal out of it, but when Margaret
called and asked me to be part of the celebration, I said sure. They work long
and hard and deserve a party and a pat on the back."
He said he was not interested in a fancier concert with
valet parking, for instance.
"I felt like it should be a community concert, really.
We looked around for the right place, and eventually talked to the folks at
the school district."
To incorporate the community more, the show will include
music by some local bands, including the Wood River High School’s Dixieland
Band, under the direction of Bart Bailey.
"We’re in the midst of putting it all together right
now. We’ve got tapes from Bailey’s groups," Miller said. "It’s going
to be a really great concert."
Tickets for the event will go on sale June 15 through www.ticketweb.com
or at Chapter One Bookstore and Sunburst Guitar Gallery in Ketchum and at Atkinsons’
Markets in Ketchum and Hailey.