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Jerry Miller

A Conversation with Jerry Miller (continued)

PM: Garcia and some of the other great Bay Area guitar players came from the folk movement. Did you come up that way?

JM: Not at all.

PM: You came from a different angle, didn't you?

JM: Right, I didn't come up from that at all. My initial kick-off, I think, was Link Wray's "Rumble," and that sort of thing. I'd play that at two o'clock in the morning, and my grandma would get out of bed and come out there and say, "That's a sweet little piece." She really liked that.


PM: [laughs] So where were you growing up? What town were you growing up in?

JM: I grew up right here where I am now, just a few blocks away, in Tacoma.

PM: What's that like being back in your hometown? That's got to feel interesting.

JM: Oh, it's pretty cool. I got the beach here. I got a bird dog, and a wee little house. It's pretty cool.

PM: And is it just you and the lady or--

JM: Yeah.

PM: Beautiful.

JM: I got somebody to argue with.


PM: And what's today all about? Are you playing many gigs? Are you writing many songs?

JM: I am writing songs. I recently wrote a really good one called "You Did What You Said You Wouldn't Do." And that's a good one. And I wrote one just before that called "I Don't Love You Right." I was just making up a melody when you called. I probably stole it somewhere.


PM: Who are you playing with these days? Who are your running partners?

JM: I'm playing with a drummer named Tom Murphy, and a bass player named Kim Workman, a little trio up here. Tom Murphy plays real good second line, New Orleans.

PM: Right.

JM: And the bass player, he's everywhere. He's got the whole thing down. Electric, standup, the works. Sometimes we do just a duo with the standup. That's for the society parties.

PM: Wow. Is anybody shooting any video of this stuff, or what?

JM: No, not yet. But I should do that, my little white-haired self. Put on the suit and go down there for the parties.

PM: Really? You can do that gig? Go down there and do the Society Hill thing.

JM: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I do "Misty" and--

PM: Yeah, because I remember you knew all the jazz standards and all that stuff.

JM: Yeah, I love to play those. I still have my old Bassman [Fender amplifier] that I bought brand new in 1959.

PM: Really? I worked with Mesa/Boogie a long time, certainly that Boogie circuit [not to mention the Marshall] came right off the Bassman.

JM: Yes, it did. I remember Randy [Smith, the maverick founder] up there.

PM: Yeah. I worked with Randy for many, many years.

JM: Well, then you knew Haggerty, too then? [The iconic guitarist of the Bay Area greats The Sons of Champlin.]

PM: Sure. I know Terry Haggerty very well.

JM: Me and Haggerty play, man, it's really fun.

PM: So do you know Steve Kimock, too?

JM: Of course.

[We digressed briefly here about The Goodman Brothers and Steve Kimock, as we'd played a gig or two with the Grape in our early days in SF, in the '70s.]      continue


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