An Interview with the British "Blues Knight" Miller Anderson: The Blues is a Real Life

Miller Anderson was born in Houston near Glasgow in Scotland i 1945. Miller is a Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist who has worked with many well known musicians over his long career - Keef Hartley Band, Savoy Brown, T-Rex, Mountain, Spencer Davis Group, Deep Purple and most recently with the Jon Lord Blues Project 2011. 

Here is a list showing some of the bands that he has been involved with....
The Voice (1965), The Scenery (1966), Freddie Fingers Lee Band (1967), Paper Blitz Tissue (1968), At Last the 1958 Rock'n'roll show (1968). In November 1968, Miller joined Keef Hartley to record the Halfbreed album. This lineup played in Woodstock Festival, on its second day, although unfortunately they don't appear on the movie or soundtrack. Miller Anderson Band (1971 - 1973), after releasing his solo album, Bright City, Miller assembled a band to make some concerts. Although he didn't tour, there are at least some sessions for the BBC in 1971. He called in many of his friends that played in the album. 

 Hemlock (1973), Savoy Brown (1974): Miller joined the blues band Savoy Brown in January 1974. In the band, there was three superb guitarists at the same time: Kim Simmonds (the leader of the band, he still maintains the group actively), Stan Webb (from another great blues band, Chicken Shack), and Miller. They released an album Boogie Brothers and many of the songs were written by Miller. They toured the USA extensively but they only stayed together till December 1974. After the Dog Soldier (1975) separation, Miller and Mick Taylor met again (they had met in some sessions in the Keef Hartley Band). Mick had assembled a powerful band with ex-members from Stone the Crows, and they were looking for a lead singer. Miller came here. In August 1976 Miller joined Marc Bolan's T Rex. In 1978, Miller and Ronnie leave Donovan to form their own band, The Dukes (1979). Mountain (1980 - 1984) Between "Mountain" gigs all over the USA and Canada. Miller toured Europe with Stan Webb in his Band Chicken Shack...

 

Stan Webb called his band Chicken Shack again and Miller is present again from September to December 1984, although playing bass this time. Spencer Davis Group (1985 to now): A reunion of veteran musicians, under the name of the historical group. They usually reunite every year under the command of Spencer Davis and Pete York, both original members of the band: Spencer Davis, Chris Farlowe, Miller Anderson, Colin Hodgkinson, Zoot Money & Pete York.

Miller was part of a band called Pete York & Superblues, based in Germany. The band reunites some veterans from the British blues-rock scene, many of them were part of Spencer Davis Group in the 80s. Jon Lord Band, Deep Purple, The Jon Lord Blues Project 2011: The band was formed by Jon Lord and Pete York.  The band members are: Jon Lord, Pete York, Maggie Bell,  Zoot Money , Colin Hodgkinson & Miller Anderson. The Miller Anderson Band: Miller continues to tour with his own band . "The Miller Anderson Band" playing his own songs from his solo albums and from his work with The Keef Hartley Band , Savoy Brown etc... 

 

Interview by Michael Limnios


When was your first desire to become involved in music & what are your first musical memories?

Hearing early black blues.

 

Who were your first idols & what have been some of your influences?

Chuck Berry

 

What was the first gig you ever went to & what were the first songs you learned?

Chuck Berry songs

 

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

There have been many good times and bad times too.

 

What characterizes the sound of British Blues?

It’s a copy of American black blues

 

Who are your favorite bands from ‘60s & of all the people you’ve meeting with, who do you admire the most?

The Band & Levon Helm


Is there any similarity between the music today and the music of the '60s?

There is when I play

 

How was your relationship with the other bands of ‘60s?

It was always good.

 

Who is you have learned many more secrets about blues music?

Everybody teaches something

 

Difficult question, but who of the people you have worked with do you considers the best FRIEND?

Ian Hunter is still my friend.


What does BLUES & GUITAR mean to you?

It’s my life

 

In which tune can someone hear the best of your work?

I don’t know, only the listener knows that.

 

What were your favorite guitars back then?

Fender

 

Three words to describe your sound & your progress

Simple, direct, tuneful

 

How/where do you get inspiration for your songs?

From Life

 

What musicians have influenced you most as a songwriter?

Bob Dylan

 

What do you think were the reasons for the blues boom at the sixties?

It was an extension of early rock n’ roll.

 

Who impressed you musically in the early 60s, both in British blues and across the water?

Chuck Berry & Bob Dylan

 

How did you first meet Keef Hartley & how was your recording hours with him?

I meet Keef in 1968. He was great to work and very creative.

 

Do you have any amusing tales to tell of your gig in Woodstock?

It’s all on my live double CD “From Lizard Rock”.

 


Are there any memories of Keef Hartley which you would like to share with us?

It was a very creative band.

 

What is the “think” you miss most of the ‘60s?

It was young then ...:-)

 

Were there any places where you did especially well from ‘60?

Germany is one of the best places for blues.

 

What music would you have played at your home alone?

Not much. I prefer to PLAY music at home.

 

Of all the many albums you has made, what was your favourite?

I don’t listen to my own albums

 

Why did he think that Miller Anderson, continued to generate such a devoted following?

I really don’t know

 

When did you first meet John Lord?

I met Jon in 1968. He had been in the Artwoods with Keef

 

What kind of a guy is Leslie West?

Nice guy but a touch guy too. Great player and singer

 

Let’s go back even further. What do you like about your very first sessions for your solo album at 1971?

They were with all my friends good fun

 

What are some of the memorable gigs you've had?

Too many to list. I Love playing music.

 

What was the last album you bought & what was the best blues album you ever had?

I like lots of blues albums. Last album I bought is “Modern Times” of Bob Dylan

 

Tell me about the beginning of the bands: The Voice, The Scenery, Freddie Fingers Lee Band, how did you get together and where did it start & from the musical point of view is there any difference?

The Voice was my Scottish band. We come to London in 1965, I met all the rest in London

 

What do you think of PSYCHEDELIC music & how close are to BLUES?

Its all good to improvise on


Looking back over many years of music is there anything you wish you’d done that you hadn’t?

I signed too many bad contracts.

 

How do you see the future of the blues?

It will always be with us in some form


How did you first meet Spencer Davis Group?

1985 I meet Spencer

 

Who are your favorite blues artists, both old and new?

Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, ALL those guys

 

How has the music business changed over the years since you first started in music?

Its harder to earn a living when you get older.

 

Do you remember any funny from the recording hours with all your partners?

It was always funny

 

I wonder if you could tell me a few things about the story of “Boogie Brothers”, how that came about?

It was Harry Simmonds, Kim’s brother idea.


Where did you pick up your guitar style?

A bit of this and that from everybody I liked

 

What are some of your favorite blues standards?

“Smokestack Lightnin’”, “Help Me”

 

What made you want to work with Cyril Davis?

I never met him!

 

What advice has given from Alexis Korner?

I met Alexis but I did not know him well

 

What would you ask of Graham Bond?

Why did you jump under that train?

 

Describe the ideal BAND to you?

Good drummer & bass player is most important

 

You have traveling all around the world. What are your conclusions?

It's BIG

 

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is?

It's real life


Why are Europeans so enamored with the blues?

It's FUN to play with feeling

 

Do you have a message for the Greek fans?

I have only played one time in Athens, I’d love to play in Greece again.

 

Which is the most interesting period in your life and why?

So many good times / In music & life outside music.

 

Why do you play the blues & what does music offered you?

I love the music. I play more than just blues.

 

The Home of Miller Anderson


 


 

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