“I told him: ‘Hey. F**k you, Chuck!’”: Steve Miller recalls his “awkward” time working with Chuck Berry

“A lot of blues guys are real cranky.”

Steve Miller

Steve Miller and chuck Berry. Credit: Daniel Knighton/Francois Durand

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Steve Miller has named Chuck Berry as the most awkward musician he has ever worked with in a new interview.

Although Miller does say he “loved” Berry, he admits that the musician was difficult to work with but changed his tune once Miller raised his voice and called him out.

“When the Miller Band backed him, at Bill Graham’s request, first thing he said at rehearsal was: ‘Okay, no one take a shave or shower until we’ve played,’” he tells Classic Rock. “Just before the gig, he disappeared and returned loaded as a zombie on downers. We backed him all over California for two years and he got more and more annoying.”

He goes on: “At the Carousel Ballroom he got shitty with us on stage. Afterwards he came to my dressing room and I told him: ‘Hey. Fuck you, Chuck. Get your own fucking band, get your own fucking amp and get the fuck out of my dressing room.’ He was fine from then on. A lot of blues guys are real cranky.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Miller is asked about his arrival in San Francisco in 1966 and whether it led to him taking LSD.

“Of course. I’d taken LSD 25, from the Sandoz lab in Switzerland, with a Doctor of Philosophy at university in Madison in 1965,” he answers. “We had books, music and deep discussions. By the time I got to the Monterey Festival everyone was taking Owsley’s acid and it became trivialised: let’s put strychnine, speed and cat food in!”

He adds: “Acid should be taken in the right circumstances; driving downtown, tripping, to rough places like the Fillmore West, wasn’t a great idea. I stopped in ’68 because drugs and work didn’t mix. I like to be clear-headed and fast on my feet.”


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.