Steve Miller Band Releases New Album
|Bingo! is available in two formats, a 10-track
digipack CD and a special edition with four bonus
tracks and expanded artwork by rock legend
Storm Thorgerson,who designed world-famous
graphics for classic Led Zeppelin and
Pink Floyd albums.
The Steve Miller Band is back with their first new studio album in 17 years, and it looks like they’ve hit the jackpot. Bingo! marks a true return to Miller’s early Chicago roots, with carefully chosen and crafted blues tracks infused with the same infectious party-pop vibe that blasted the Space Cowboy to the top of the charts in the ’70s.
“What this really is about, it is about rolling up the rug and dancing,” Miller said in a video interview that’s available on his official website. “It’s a record to get out and dance and have a good time.
“I love songs that have hooks; that have choruses that people can sing,” he added. “That’s really what I’m all about. When you listen to “Rock’n Me” – those are hooks and choruses. (Same with) “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle” – and these songs are my interpretations of my style where we are singing parts and harmony and filling in the blank spaces and turning them into a new kind of approach to it.”
Released June 15 on Miller’s new label, Space Cowboy Records, Bingo! was recorded at filmmaker George Lucas’ famous Skywalker Ranch studio.
Co-produced by Miller and acclaimed engineer Andy Johns (Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix), Bingo! introduces new band member Sonny Charles (Checkmates) and bids fond farewell to harmonica player and vocalist Norton Buffalo, who died of cancer in October 2009 after 33 years as Miller’s “partner in harmony.” Charles and Buffalo both shine prominently on the album’s interpretation of Otis Rush classic “All Your Love (I Miss Loving).”
“This is a tune I’ve been playing all my life,” Miller offered. “When I was very young and in Chicago, Otis was very, very good to me. I’d walk into a club to go see Otis and he’d just say, ‘Come on up,’ and he’d take his guitar off and just hand it to me.”
Bingo! also includes new arrangements of blues tracks like Jimmy Reed’s “You Got Me Dizzy,” Jimmie Vaughan’s “Hey Yeah” and B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby,” which is highlighted by a guitar duel between Miller and guest virtuoso Joe Satriani.
“He just plays beautifully,” Miller told CNN about Satriani. “It blows your mind when you hear him. He is a monster guitarist – a wonderful musician.”
In fact, Miller believes that Bingo! should be considered “a guitar player’s album.”
“Lots of lead guitar and cool guitar parts have been worked out,” he also told CNN. “It just got better and better and better as we worked on it.”
Miller, who graces the August 2010 cover of Vintage Guitar and a forthcoming Guitar Player issue, will celebrate the release of the new album by sharing the stage with longtime friend Kenny Chesney on CMT hit show Crossroads.
“From the first time Kenny invited me to play with him in San Francisco at AT&T Park, until this minute he has been a refreshing and wonderful friend,” Miller says. “I love the way he conducts himself; treats his band, crew, fans and friends. Artists this busy barely have time for saying hello, yet Kenny takes the time to get to know you and shares himself. That is a very rare and endearing quality. He is a great performer, a great writer and a great guy to roll with. He’s the real deal.”
The hour-long show will air Friday, July 9, and feature Miller classics such as “The Joker” and “Abracadabra,” and more recent material including the aforementioned “You Got Me Dizzy” and Chesney hits “Living in Fast Forward and “I Go Back.”
Fans can also catch the Steve Miller Band live this summer during his annual North American summer trek. In addition to promoting the new album, Miller is using the tour to raise awareness and funds for the Kids Rock Free educational music programs at the Fender Center in Corona, Calif., by launching a “text-to-donate” campaign in which fans can text “ROCK” to *50555 and instantly make a one-time $10 donation to the Fender Museum of the Arts Foundation. At several shows, Miller will also invite Kids Rock Free student Dillon Brown onstage with the band to perform “Fly Like An Eagle.”
“In my opinion, the Fender Museum and music school is the best-designed and operated community music program in the country,” says Miller. “It was built for a reasonable amount of money, it is self-sustaining and it focuses on teaching music by involving parents and children in a way that inspires and rewards good work. That is why I have performed three benefit concerts for the school and donated substantially to the program. It works. It is the best community project I’ve ever seen and is a model for the rest of the country to emulate.”
Get tour dates and venues here.