Wednesday, September 26, 2007

?Space cowboy? to rock Ketchum

Steve Miller gives impressions of fire, benefit show

Steve Miller Photo by Mountain Express

When legendary rock musician Steve Miller and his wife, Kim, were evacuated from their home north of Ketchum in August, Miller realized how little he needed and how grateful he was to the firefighters who bravely brought the Castle Rock Fire under control.

"A concert in Minneapolis was canceled, and I came home for a three-day break to sleep in my own bed, and I had two hours to evacuate," Miller said. "I didn't care about stuff. I grabbed my first guitar that my uncle gave me when I was 4, my dogs and my wife."

Three days later he was permitted to return home and take more things. Because he was in the middle of a tour, he had to leave again, but he set up a camera in his yard so he could view his home on-line.

"It was amazing," Miller said. "The whole community did a really good job, and since it's small it pulled together quickly. The firefighters came through immediately."

Miller enjoys helping the Wood River Valley and has been very successful in doing so. For example, he played for the Snake River Alliance's 25th anniversary at the Wood River High School football field in Hailey in 2004.

"We wanted to do a benefit. It was a no-brainer," he said. "It's so fortunate that this has worked out. Everyone wants to come, and we want to replenish the firefighters, especially those who flew here. We want to make sure their families have funds."

Miller has been a valley resident for 25 years and loves it because he can enjoy the mountains and the wilderness right outside his front door. That is why he feels indebted to the Castle Rock Fire firefighters.

"This is a different kind of community," Miller said. "I am not interested in being splashed all over. I'm a musician. I have been playing for years, and it's a joy and a privilege to do that."

Miller's tour hits about 45 cities throughout the year playing large music festivals with crowds ranging from 15,000 to 25,000 people. His band includes longtime band mates Norton Buffalo, Billy Peterson, Gordy Knudtson, Joseph Wooten and Kenny Lee Lewis.

"I am going to be 64 in October, and I don't feel my age at all. I feel more like 24. I see old people from the stage out there," he laughed. "It's an audience of ages 5 to 70. We really have an amazing age span."

The band will play a two-hour show in Ketchum on Saturday, Sept. 29, and Miller said he will play an assortment of songs, especially the most requested hits such as "Fly Like an Eagle," "Jet Airliner," "Jungle Love," "Take the Money and Run," "Space Cowboy" and more.

"We are going to raise a lot of money," Miller said. "John Bolin, who makes all my guitars, has made two guitars with pictures of Baldy. John will bring the guitars, and one of them will be for auction."

"It's about the music," Miller said. "I like to help the community when I can make a difference."

The Steve Miller Band, Bruce Willis Blues Band and Carole King will perform in downtown Ketchum from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, with doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $200 for the opportunity to meet Miller.

For tickets and more details, go to

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