art and music

Steve Miller – Famous Milwaukee Musician

Steve_Miller_LiveSteven H. “Steve” Miller (born October 5, 1943) is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter who began his career in blues and blues rock and evolved to a more pop-oriented sound which, from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, resulted in a series of successful singles and albums.

Early years

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, young Steve received his first exposure to music from his mother, Bertha, whom he described as a remarkable non-professional jazz-influenced singer, and his physician father, George, known as “Sonny” who, in addition to his profession as a pathologist, was a jazz enthusiast and accomplished amateur recording engineer. Moreover, guitar virtuoso Les Paul and his musical partner Mary Ford were regular visitors at the Miller house and Dr. and Mrs. Miller were best man and maid of honor at their December 1949 wedding. Les Paul heard Steve, who was about five, on a wire recording made by Dr. Miller, as the youngster was “banging away” on a guitar given to him by his uncle, Dr. K. Dale Atterbury. Paul encouraged the little musician to continue with his interest in the guitar … and “perhaps he will be something one day”.

In 1950 the family relocated to Texas and Steve, who was nearly seven, began attending Dallas’ St. Mark’s School, a non-sectarian preparatory day school for boys where, about eight years later, he formed his first band, “The Marksmen”. He taught older brother Buddy, the only child in the family with a driver’s license, to play the bass and also instructed classmate and future musical star, Boz Scaggs, a few guitar chords so that he could join the band. After leaving St. Mark’s — “I got kicked out”, he recalled with a laugh in a 2004 interview — he then attended a school in the Lakewood area of Dallas, Woodrow Wilson High School, from which he graduated in 1961.

In 1962, Miller returned to Wisconsin, and entered the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he formed The Ardells. Scaggs joined the Ardells the next year, and Ben Sidran became the band’s keyboardist the year after. After attending the University of Copenhagen in Denmark for a semester in his senior year to study comparative literature, he dropped out six credit hours shy of a literature degree, opting to pursue a music career with his mother’s encouragement and his father’s misgivings:

When you look back over the span of your career, what are the lasting moments, the sweetest highs?

I would have to say my father’s relationship with Les Paul and T-Bone Walker when I was young. Growing up in Dallas, being part of that phenomenal music scene. I found a way to do what I really wanted to do, which is so important for a kid. Near the end of college, my parents said, ‘Steve, what are you going to do?’ I said, ‘I want to go to Chicago and play the blues.’ My father looked at me like I was insane. But my mom said, ‘You should do it now.’ So I went to Chicago. And that was a special time. I played with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. I got to work with adults and realized music was what I wanted to do, what I loved.

Upon his return to the United States, Miller moved to Chicago where he immersed himself in the city’s blues scene. During his time there, he worked with harmonica player Paul Butterfield and jammed with blues greats Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy, all of whom offered the young guitarist encouragement to pursue a musical career. In 1965, Miller and keyboardist Barry Goldberg formed the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band and began playing on the Chicago club scene. They signed with Epic Records and released a single, “The Mother Song”, and soon began a residency at a New York City blues club.

When Miller returned from New York, he was disappointed by the state of the Chicago blues scene, so he moved to Texas in hopes finishing his education at the University of Texas at Austin. He was disenchanted with academic politics at the University, so he took a Volkswagen Bus his father had given him and headed to San Francisco. Upon arrival, he used his last $5 to see the Butterfield Blues Band and Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore Auditorium. Miller fell in love with the vibrant San Francisco music scene and decided to stay.

Steve Miller Band

In 1966, he formed the Steve Miller Band (at first called The Steve Miller Blues Band), with Miller also handling vocals. Billed as The Miller Band, they backed Chuck Berry on his Live at Fillmore Auditorium album released that year. In 1968, they released an album, Children of the Future, the first in a series of discs rooted solidly in the psychedelic blues style that then dominated the San Francisco scene. Writing in Crawdaddy!, Peter Knobler called the album “a triple moment of experience, knowledge, inspiration”. Boz Scaggs rejoined Miller for this album and the next one, before starting his solo career.

The group followed the release of their second album, Sailor, with the albums Brave New World, Your Saving Grace and Number 5. These first five albums performed respectably on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart but failed to yield a major hit single; the highest charted single being “Livin’ in the USA” from Sailor. Songs from this period are also featured in a portion of the double album compilation Anthology, which includes a guest appearance on bass guitar, drums and backing vocals by Paul McCartney on the songs “Celebration” and “My Dark Hour.”

In this first period Miller established his personae of the “Gangster of Love” (from Sailor) and the “Space Cowboy” (from Brave New World), which were reused in later works. In 1972, Miller recorded the album Recall the Beginning…A Journey from Eden, in which a third persona, “Maurice,” was introduced in the tune “Enter Maurice.”

In 1973, The Joker marked the start of the second phase of Miller’s career: this work was less hard-rock oriented and simpler in composition. The album received significant radio airplay, which helped the title track reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single also hit No 1 on the UK Singles Chart in September 1990 after it was used for a television commercial.

Miller followed up with Fly Like an Eagle in 1976, and Book of Dreams in 1977. (The songs for both had been recorded at the same time, and released over two single albums rather than one double-album.) This pair of albums represented the peak of Miller’s commercial career, both reaching the top echelons of the album charts and spawning a lengthy series of hit singles, including “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Rock’n Me”, “Take the Money and Run”, “Jet Airliner” and “Jungle Love”. The Steve Miller Band co-headlined a major stadium tour with the Eagles in 1978.

Although the Steve Miller Band had limited peak commercial success, his ongoing popularity has been notable. In 1978, Greatest Hits 1974-1978 was released, featuring the big hits from his two most popular albums, Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams along with the title track from The Joker. This popularity also fueled successful concert tours throughout the 1980s and 1990s, often with large numbers of younger people being present at the concerts, many of whom were fans of the big hits and inevitably purchased the greatest hits album. Miller would often headline shows with other classic rock acts, and played a variety of his music, including a selection of his blues work dating from the late 1960s.

1980s and later

Miller developed a high degree of music business acumen. Aware that songs earn individual publishing royalties no matter what their length, he separated the 57-second electronic introduction from the song “Sacrifice” on Book of Dreams, named it “Electro Lux Imbroglio” and published it separately, earning thousands of extra dollars as a result. On the heels of this massive success, Miller took a long hiatus from recording and touring, emerging in 1981 with Circle of Love. Sales were disappointing, however, and in 1982 he returned to the pop formula with another hit album, Abracadabra. This was Miller’s last great commercial success; a series of collections, live albums and attempts to find a new style appeared in 1984 (Italian X-Rays), 1986 (Living in the 20th Century) and 1988 (Born 2B Blue). He released Wide River in 1993, which was his only studio release of new material between 1988 and 2010.

On hearing the news of the death of Les Paul in 2009, Miller responded “I cannot believe he is gone, I will miss him very much, my prayers go out to him.”

In 2009, Miller was inducted into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame.

Miller released Bingo! on June 15, 2010. The album of blues covers, issued through his own Space Cowboy label in partnership with Roadrunner/Loud & Proud Records, was his first studio album release since 1993. Let Your Hair Down, a companion release to Bingo!, was released 10 months later (on April 18, 2011).

For the 2010-2011 school year, Miller was an Artist in Residence at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he taught students in the Popular Music and Music Industry programs.

At a guitar auction in 2011, Miller stated that he owns 450 guitars.

Miller, currently married to his third wife Kim, has homes in Ketchum, Idaho, and Friday Harbor, Washington.

Milwaukee Museum Of Art

Milwaukee Museum Of ArtThe Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is an art museum with a collection of over 30,000 works of art serving over 350,000 visitors a year. The campus of three buildings is located on Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Museum’s stated mission is to “collect and preserve art, presenting it to the community as a vital source of inspiration and education”.
The 341,000-square-foot (31,700 m2) Museum includes the War Memorial Center (1957) designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the Kahler Building (1975) by David Kahler, and the Quadracci Pavilion (2001) created by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The Reiman Bridge, also designed by Calatrava, connects to the pavilion and provides pedestrian access to and from downtown Milwaukee.
From its roots in Milwaukee’s first art gallery in 1888, the Museum has grown today to be an icon for Milwaukee and a resource for the entire state.
The Museum offers works in various permanent Collection galleries, as well as a variety of changing special exhibitions throughout the year.
History
Beginning around 1872, multiple organizations were founded in order to bring an art gallery to Milwaukee, as the city was still a growing port town with little or no facilities to hold major art exhibitions. Over the span of at least nine years, all attempts to build a major art gallery had failed. In 1881, exhibitions were held at Milwaukee’s Exposition Hall, which was Milwaukee’s primary event venue at the time. Shortly after that year, Alexander Mitchell donated all of her collection into constructing Milwaukee’s first permanent art gallery in the city’s history.
In 1888, the Milwaukee Art Association was created by a group of German panorama artists and local businessmen. The same year, British-born businessman Frederick Layton built, endowed, and provided artwork for the Layton Art Gallery. In 1911, the Milwaukee Art Institute, another building constructed to hold other exhibitions and collections, was completed. The institute was built right next to the Layton Art Gallery. Alfred George Pelikan, who received his Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from Columbia University, was the Director of the Milwaukee Art Institute from 1926 to 1942.
The Milwaukee Art Center (now the Milwaukee Art Museum) was formed when the Milwaukee Art Institute and Layton Art Gallery merged their collections in 1957 and moved into the newly-built Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial.

The Art Collection
The museum is home to over 35,000 works of art housed on four floors of over forty galleries with works from antiquity to the present. Included in the Collection are 15th– to 20th–century European and 17th– to 20th–century American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, decorative arts, photographs, and folk and self-taught art. Among the best in the nation are the Museum’s holding of American decorative arts, German Expressionism, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960.
Important artists represented include Gustav Caillebotte, Nardo di Cione, Francisco de Zurbarán, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Winslow Homer, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Robert Gober, and Andy Warhol. The Museum also holds one of the largest collections of works by Wisconsin native Georgia O’Keeffe.
It also has paintings by these European painters: Francesco Botticini, Jan Swart Van Groningen, Ferdinand Bol, Jan Goyen, Hendrick Van Vliet, Franz Von Lenbach (“Bavarian Girl”), Ferdinand Waldmüller (“Interruption”), Carl Spitzweg, Christian Bokelman (“Broken Bank”), Bouguereau, Gerome (“2 Majesties”), Gustave Caillebotte, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Kowalski (“Winter in Russia”), Jules Bastien-Lepage’s “The Wood Gatherer”, and Max Pechstein.

Awards
The MAM recently gained international recognition with the construction of the white concrete Quadracci Pavilion, designed by Santiago Calatrava (his first completed project in the United States), which opened on May 4, 2001. The pavilion was engineered by the Milwaukee-based engineering firm, Graef, while the construction manager was also Milwaukee-based, C.G. Schmidt. The structure contains a movable, wing-like brise soleil which opens up for a wingspan of 217 feet (66 m) during the day, folding over the tall, arched structure at night or during inclement weather. The brise soleil has since become a symbol for the city of Milwaukee. In addition to a gallery devoted to temporary exhibits, the pavilion houses the museum’s store and its restaurant, Cafe Calatrava. The pavilion received the 2004 Outstanding Structure Award from the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.

In popular culture
The museum held auditions for the 10th season of American Idol in 2010.
The Quadracci Pavilion was prominently featured in the 2011 blockbuster film Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
The opening movie for the 2011 video game Forza Motorsport 4 features the museum as a backdrop.