Younger stars push back against curmudgeonly rocker

The Rock ‘n Roll food fight that started last weekend when long-time Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame critic Steve Miller was inducted into the Hall of Fame has intensified.

Miller called the people who run the music industry “gangsters and crooks.”

In an interview with Rolling Stone today, however, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach and drummer Pat Carney have fired back at the old-timer with a vengeance. The pair walked out of the Hall of Fame concert during Miller’s performance on Friday night.

What do you think about what’s happened the past four days?

Um, well, I guess Pat and I definitely… [Pauses] I guess we felt, I don’t know, we read a lot of things and we got a really uncomfortable feeling when we first met Steve. He had no idea who we were. No idea. The first thing he told us was, “I can’t wait to get out of here.” He knew that we signed up to do this speech for him. And he made no effort to even [laughs uncomfortably] — he didn’t even figure out who we were. I don’t live in New York City. This is like three days out of my life flying from Nashville and leaving my kids at home.

It was just a real eye-opener for us. Because as we get older, I hope that when I’m in my twilight years, I can look back and be grateful to the people who have appreciated me and to be able to give back. Because music is about sharing and passing on inspiration and that was his opportunity to do that; not just lashing out in a way that was just completely unfocused.

“I just had a couple sleepless nights. He really disappointed us.”

What was your initial reaction when you realized that he didn’t know or care who you were?

Pat and I were both definitely disappointed, to say the least. But you never really know what to expect when you meet quote unquote “superstars.” Rock & roll superstars, it used to be different for them. Playing stadiums and selling millions and millions of albums. It’s almost like he doesn’t have respect for the younger generations and how hard it is in the business today. When he made his first record, he did it at Olympic Studios with Glyn Johns. Pat and I made our first record in a basement with broken gear.

But we were there for the same reasons. Because we love music and because I felt like we had a connection just because I come from a place where I love blues music and so does he. And at least we had that connection, but that ended up not mattering in the end.

Uncomfortable? The pair had to go on stage and induct Miller into the Rock hall.

Auerbach took issue with Miller’s characterization of the Hall as “a boy’s club.”

“The Steve Miller band has had 35 members and no women,” he said.

  • PaulJ

    Younger? Can there be a rule that once you’re over 25; you no longer get to call yourself a rocker?

  • Gary F

    The Black Keys, another reason to say R & R isn’t dead.
    That was a nice induction speech, a great story, and they showed their gratitude.

    Warren Zanes, former guitarist with The Del Fuegos, kinda Boston’s equal to The Replacements, is the VP of Education at the R & R hall of fame. It would be interesting to get his two cents on this whole deal.

    Bob, you have been there, correct? I bet you love that little airport right next store. The planes come in so low you think you are going to get hit.

    • Rob

      Gary, here’s a first: I’m giving you an up-vote!

      • Justin McKinney

        Me, too!! At least we can agree that the Black Keys are fantastic!

    • That little airport? I got a nice view of the HOF when I flew in last year. Here’s the video:

      • Gary F

        Really cool. I was amazed how close some of the planes were coming in.

        • Burke Lakefront is much like, I imagine, Meigs Field in Chicago was before the utterly corrupt Mayor Daley sent the bulldozers in at midnight to destroy it.

    • CHS

      Gary, I forgot to give you a thanks for throwing out St Paul and the Broken Bones and Vintage Trouble the other day, I checked them out and they were definitely worth the listen.

      I totally agree, R & R is only dead when you stop searching for something new. There’s always someone out there doing something great.

      • Gary F

        Saint paul and the broken bones at the Varsity a couple years ago blew me away. This pudgy, white, balding, guy with bad teeth and bookish glasses wearing a suit with pocket hanky, white belt and white shoes, is a combination of James Brown and Springsteen’s The Rising.

        • CHS

          I love the varsity as a place to see a good show, really bummed I missed Brian Fallon there a couple weeks ago. For better for worse, people in the TC seem to really be on the leading edge of new music, seems like it’s almost impossible to find tickets anymore unless you get them the week before they get ‘discovered’.

          • Gary F

            I bought a “membership” to first ave a couple of weeks ago. I’m in the process of buying Sturgill simpson tix online right at 10AM and in the process of buying and the screen said sold out. Two minutes, crazy. NO TICKETS for ME!

          • Rob

            I’m guessing you don’t wear your “Bernie Sucks” tshirt when you attend shows there…

          • Gary F

            I want Bernie to get the nomination. Every generation needs their George McGovern.

  • Al

    AWWWWWWKWAAAAAARD. Also: I agree with both Miller and Auerbach. Classic Minnesotan.

  • Postal Customer

    Maybe if the Black Keys didn’t make such generic samey-sounding records, Steve Miller might know them.

    Also too, why should he know them?

    • frightwig

      He might have asked about who was taking the trouble to give him an induction speech.

    • Rob

      Gee, I don’t know; maybe because the Black Keys are fairly well-known, current rock musicians? And their music isn’t any more generic-sounding than Miller’s stuff from the late 70s-mid 80s. Talk about formulaic classic rock…

      Miller’s non-hipness is clearly showing.