Hall of famer Steve Miller used the microphone of shock jock Howard Stern to attack the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and offer his thoughts on Akron’s favorite sons the Black Keys, who introduced him at the induction ceremony.
In a wide-ranging interview on Howard Stern's Sirius radio program on Tuesday, Miller talked about his early days playing music in Texas, Chicago, London and eventually San Francisco and his latest dust-up.
It was Miller’s snarky comments about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame kerfuffle over the cost of tickets and being treated badly and the post ceremony Black Keys interview on Rollingstone.com where singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach distanced the band from Miller that set Twitter and social media tumbling.
Miller, who said he's known Rolling Stone and Rock Hall bigwig Jann Wenner since the magazine publisher was 21, put the blame for his less-than-sunny attitude on the Rock Hall Foundation and its secretive ways and maneuvers.
Stern mixed in questions about the apparent feud with the Black Keys.
“I never was introduced to the Black Keys, I didn't know who they were personally,” Miller said. “I walked in through security and there's this guy looking at me, you know, making “goo-goo eyes” at me. And I walked up to him and said `so, what are you doing tonight?' he said, `oh, I'm reading your speech,' and I said. “Oh, great I can't wait to get the f*** out of here,' is what I said to him.
“I didn't know who he was, I had no clue who he was.”
Miller told Stern later that if he “had been introduced, I'm sure we would've gotten a long because we like the same kind of music and they're working musicians and stuff.”
Stern asked about the aftermath of Miller's speech and viral backstage interview, which included Auerbach's Rock Hall interview. Miller suggested that the band was being set-up.
Miller then went on to recount a decades-old story about Rolling Stone assigning then 16-year-old writer Cameron Crowe to do a story on Miller's band at the height of its popularity with hits like The Joker.
After a couple of snubs by Crowe, Miller said he declined to do the interview — prompting an angry interoffice memo from the writer about Miller.
It was then that Miller said Wenner asked to him rebut the memo in print.
“Imagine the ‘dumb’ Black Keys who get played like this, ‘hey, how'd you feel about what Steve said.’ ”
“The whole thing was a setup, they got exploited, man ... I felt like they really hurt themselves and Jann's just like, `hey let's print it!’ ” Miller said.
Like decades before, Miller said, “I immediately got a call, `hey did you see what the Black Keys said about you and hey, let's do a... you can answer it, and I just said F*** you guys.”
Miller took several other shots at the Rock Hall, charging the original Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created as a tax write-off for founders Wenner, record industry pioneer the late Ahmet Ertegun and powerful music industry attorney Allen Grubman.
He accused the Rock Hall founders of “elitism” and the voting body being “petty” and too “inbred.”
Miller also said the fan votes, which count as one vote among the ballots is insulting to the fans.
Miller said he's launched his own investigation into the Rock Hall.
“I want the people to get what they want,” he said.
He also said it is wrong that the ceremony is not in Cleveland every year because bigwigs like Wenner are “too lazy to go to Cleveland.”
“It's not Cleveland's fault, Cleveland is fine!” Miller said.
Miller was the only one talking Tuesday; calls to subjects of his rant did not elicit a response.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml and/or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.