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Under the Hood: Steve Miller on the 60s San Francisco Music Scene

Steve Miller got into the blues at a very early age.  As a child, Steve met guitar pioneers T-Bone Walker and Les Paul, and by his teens he was sitting in with Chicago greats like Jimmy Reed.  During the mid-1960s, the young Steve Miller began hearing rumors that something big, new and exciting was happening out in San Francisco, and he decided to go check it out.

I couldn’t figure it out at first because I didn’t think the bands were very good when I got to San Francisco. In fact the first night I was in town I went to the Fillmore and the Jefferson Airplane were playing with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  I was just befuddled by what was going on because I was used to really great bands in Chicago where it was very competitive. You know you had Howlin’ Wolf and Junior Wells and Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters and AC Reed and James Cotton and Otis Rush, you know.  Those were the guys you were competing with just to work.  I came out and saw the Dead tune up for 30 minutes and Jerry Garcia talking to everybody, you know.  It was pretty groovy but musically it was a completely different world. - Steve Miller