Five Important Questions About the Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band.
Steve Miller Band.
Capitol Records

It's August, the hottest month of the summer! Now, whether your summer began when school let out in May or at the equinox in June or the day after the 4th of July, when you could really relax, chances are all the summer fun you've been expecting is now in full swing. That means toes in the sand, wet butts on the car seat, and an inescapable wave of the Steve Miller Band blasting out of stereos.

Now, you may not realize it because you're preoccupied with being stalked by Santana and Rob Thomas's "Smooth," but the music of the Steve Miller Band is pretty much all over your life, to the point that you've probably become accustomed to him rock'n you, baby. While we've been known to get down at some SMBBBQs (that's Steve Miller Band Barbecues, for those of you who've never been called Maurice) being aware of how much of Mr. Miller's Wild Ride that we're taking in does bring up a few questions I really think we need to address about his music. While the band's current tour is bringing it nowhere near us so we probably won't be getting a sit-down tell-all interview before Labor Day, we'd like to throw into the public consciousness a few questions we have for the Steve Miller Band.

1) Where, exactly, in northern California are the girls warmer?
With the Steve Miller Band having formed in San Francisco, one would assume that the line in "Rock'n Me" referring to "northern California where the girls are warmer" would be in reference to San Francisco, right? After all, San Francisco is distinctly north of that city that Randy Newman loves, as well as north of that city where the guy from Kony2012 got caught jackin' it in public, so wouldn't that be the City of Saint Francisco? Evidently not, as when I was out there last February, the girls of San Francisco to whom I brought up the song said, "Hey, that's not a reference to us. This isn't northern California." I asked, "Then where?" but then I got distracted trying to track down the flower shop from The Room. Regardless, could it be Sacramento where the girls are warmer? Or perhaps even the northern-most tip of California?

2) After seeing the latest Suicide Squad footage from Comic-Con, is it possible that Jared Leto is actually playing Steve Miller's "The Joker"? 
Now, we don't know much about Jared Leto's Joker. We know he's got tattoos, plays up the humor obsession of the character, and he's not Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger or Mark Hamill. That said, maybe we've been looking at this Joker all wrong. Maybe the Suicide Squad's antagonist is actually the Joker from Steve Miller Band's song? While nobody in the trailer calls him the Space Cowboy, and he hasn't shown an affection for your peaches — or a desire to shake your tree, for that matter — the DC cinematic universe may be setting the stage for a Steve Miller biopic.

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3) How come nobody's made a stink about "Take the Money and Run" being the most unapologetically disturbing glorification of murder, burglary, breaking-and-entering and fleeing authorities ever recorded?
With an N.W.A. biopic hitting cinemas this month, people seem to have chilled out quite a bit over the past few decades regarding the violence in rap music. But while gangsta-rap hysteria, silly as it was, was a vibrant fiery point of national contention, Steve Miller Band's 1976 single "Take the Money and Run" is as morally bereft as anything in the boom-bap canon. Two "young lovers with nothing better to do" rob a house, kill a man, flee the authorities and live happily ever after. All with the most treasured joyful mid-verse handclaps this side of Jack and Diane. 

4) Why couldn't the Geto Boys sample "The Joker" for "Gangsta of Love?"
In between their classic sophomore Grip It on That Other Level LP and their American Records self-titled re-release, something strange happened to one of the Geto Boys' strongest songs whenthe Steve Miller Band sample on "Gangsta of Love" was removed and replaced with "Sweet Home Alabama." C'mon Steve. Was it money? Was it the filthiness of the song? Was it the possible reveal of being eskimo cousins with Bushwick Bill?

5) Why let Run-DMC remake "Take the Money and Run?"
Look, we love Run-DMC. We wore Adidas because of them, we've seen them live, we doubled down on their digipack re-releases and we've even purchased their solo records. That said, while it's the best song on their largely lackluster final 2001 album Crown Royal, we have to ask why, of all the samples allegedly denied, was this the one that got cleared? Was it money? Was it an act of respect for Reverend Run? This one we're just more curious what those meetings were like. We're guessing it's because Mr. Miller found a kindred spirit in Run, as he likely also speaks of the pompatus of love.


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