It is supposed to be a night of celebration, a night when rock and roll’s elite is recognized.
When Steve Miller got the call in December that he was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, his response was that he was happy, but criticized the induction process saying that a “very elitist, small committee” controlled it.
On Friday night in New York, Miller took his criticism of the institution up a notch,
angrily telling reporters backstage that his experience of the evening was “so unpleasant”; he even snapped at a Rock Hall publicist who attempted to cut Miller’s rant short.
During his acceptance speech onstage the singer used his moment to say that he’d like to see the induction process made more transparent, and that more women need to be inducted into the Hall. Backstage, Miller was asked to elaborate on what he’d like to see changed about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and his response was, “Everything.” He wasn’t joking, either.
He went on to say: “The whole process needs to be changed; from the top to the bottom. Doesn’t need to be this hard, there’s nothing fancy going on out there that requires all of this stuff. They need to get their legal work straight, they need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don’t — I don’t have any of my paper work…signed. I have no licensing agreement with these people, they’re trying to steal my footage, they’re tying to make me indemnify them.”
Miller even took aim at how many tickets he was given for the ceremony, saying: “When they told me I was inducted, they told me I could have two tickets, one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000 dollars. Sorry, that’s the way it goes.” He then added: “I said, ‘I’m playing here, what about my band. What about their wives?’”
Talking of the night, he said: “They make this so unpleasant.” At this point, the female publicist in charge of the backstage pressroom attempted to usher Miller off the stage, suggesting he “wrap it up.” One very upset Miller then snapped and said, “No, we’re not going to wrap this one up. I’m going to wrap you up. You go to sit over there and learn something.”
In a final rant, the singer/songwriter held his index finger and thumb about an inch apart, and left with these parting words: “So here’s what you need to know… This is how close this whole show came to not happening because of the way the artists are actually being treated right now, so, I’ll wrap it up now.”
Miller was not the only inductee unhappy with the process. N.W.A was also inducted but did not perform. In an interview with The New York Times Ice Cube had said, “Nah, we’re not performing. I guess we really didn’t feel like we were supported enough to do the best show we could put on.”