The 20 Best Steve Miller Quotes

The 79-year-old songwriter Steve Miller is known for songs like “The Joker,” with its poetic, creative lyrics and its pleasant, free-floating feel. A product of the ’60s and ’70s, Miller’s music continues to live today.

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More recently, Miller has been sharing new songs, including the single, “Mama Church (A Cappella),” ahead of the forthcoming release of the 50th anniversary deluxe edition release of his seminal album, The Joker, released in 1973.

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Here, we dive into some of the best quotes from Miller, those ideas and provocative thoughts the singer espouses about life and love, the environment, his craft and more.

1. “Each time I hit the road to gig, it still feels like I’m going to summer camp.”

2. “We are living in a country that has taken the short view on everything. We have sold our future.”

3. “I enjoyed having people complain that I wasn’t in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame more than I think I’ll like being in it.”

4. “I was exposed to jazz and blues and gospel and country music and rock, and I was the only kid I knew who knew about that stuff.”

5. “I like hooks and choruses, things people can sing to.”

6. “In some states, the population is pretty low and if 5,000 kids vote, they could completely change the political atmosphere.”

7. “Vinyl’s like a really juicy steak compared to like a kind of tough steak or something. It’s really good. And once you listen to vinyl and get a chance to hear it, I think anyone will enjoy it more than they will digital.”

8. “Generally what you see happen is these talented kids make a great album, but they don’t have a chance unless they have someone working with them who has integrity. They get thrown out by MTV and radio in six weeks, and they don’t get any time to grow.”

9. “We have screwed with our environment. We have a culture that’s going crazy, and it’s all being propelled by the trillion-dollar advertising corporations.”

10. “My strongest message is: ‘Never give your songs away. Never sign a contract you can’t get out of.'”

11. “As soon as I understood what was going on in San Francisco, which was in 1965 and ’66, I immediately left Chicago where I was working in a nightclub that was being shaken down by the mafia and the police for payments. I mean, it was a real thug world.”

12. “I’ve demanded respect for myself and my band and my peers, I’ve demanded full artistic control for my music, I advocate for artists and music education wherever I can. And I’m a nice guy.”

13. “Growing up in Dallas, my first influences on the guitar were T-Bone Walker and Les Paul. T-Bone taught me how to play lead guitar behind my head and do the splits in 1951 when I was nine.”

14. “When Chuck Berry came along, what he did was more rock & roll than it was blues. It was more exciting. He was like the next step. I thought his first single, ‘Maybellene,’ was the greatest song in the world.”

15. “I play for the audience’s pleasure. What I expect from them is not important; it’s what they expect from me.”

16. “I’ve always considered myself a serious guitar player, but I haven’t been really worried about whether the public thought I was. That never was part of my record sales strategy.”

17. “The truth of the matter is, things that feel spontaneous have a much longer life than things that have got a lot of burnt brain tissue to make them perfect.”

18. “Hip-hop belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s one of the most radical, revolutionary and reactionary music there is.”

19. “When ‘Joker’ came out in ’73, I finally got a viral hit. Every DJ who heard it played it.”

20. “It’s not always about huge giant commercial success. It’s about art.”

Photo: Gijsbert Hanekroot / Courtesy of Big Hassle Media

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