T-Bone Walker Taught Steve Miller to Play Guitar Behind His Head While Doing a Split

T-Bone Walker Taught Steve Miller to Play Guitar Behind His Head While Doing a Split


-I was really lucky. You know,
Les Paul’s my godfather. -Yeah, I didn’t know this.
Les Paul, who is the inventor of
the electric guitar. -So, I met him the late ’40s, and he was putting his act
together with Mary Ford, and they were staying in town,
and my dad was a hobbyist. He was a tape-recorder nut,
and he knew they were playing. He went over and said,
“Can I record your shows?” And they said, “Yeah.” And then they came over
to the house to listen to the recordings, and then
they decided to get married. So they got married
at our house, and Les became my godfather. So I learned how to make records
from Les Paul then. And then later, we moved
to Texas when I was 6, And T-Bone Walker, who was
the bridge from blues to jazz. He was the first guy to really play lead guitar,
electric guitar. And, you know, when B.B. King
was a little kid, he used to listen
to T-Bone Walker records, and when Freddie King
was a little guy, he used to listen to B.B. King. And when Stevie Ray Vaughan, you know, was listening to
Freddie King and Albert King, and they all listened
to each other. And T-Bone, when I was 9, he was at our house, and he had me play the guitar
behind my head and do the splits. -That’s the best lesson
you’ll ever learn. -He was the most generous guy. Both he and Les were really generous, sweet,
great musicians. And, you know,
so I was really lucky. And as soon as I saw that,
you know, I just went, “That’s what I want to do
when I grow up.” You know? I want to be a musician.
So I was real lucky. -Do you remember out of all the
gigs, was there one that just blew your mind where you like, “I can’t believe
we’re playing…”? Brazil or something or…? -Oh, you know, there’s —
Well, I can — One that comes to mind
was we went to — Pink Floyd called me up,
and they said, “Listen, man. We’re doing this festival
in Knebworth, and we really want you
to come play.” And I said, “Well, you know,
I don’t have a band right now. I really can’t do it.” And they said, “No, no. We really want you
to come and play.” So I just kept raising my price
and saying, “I can’t do it.” You know? “I can’t. I can’t.” And so finally, I had to do it
because they said, “Okay.” So, I called up Boz,
and I borrowed his bass player. And I called up
Creedence Clearwater, and I borrowed Cosmo
from Creedence on the drums. And Les Dudek came over,
and we rehearsed for a day in my living room,
and then we got on a plane and flew to London. And when we got there,
they said, “Oh, this is a big festival, and there’s going to be
60,000 people there.” And I went, “What?!” You know.
And it turned out — -“Okay, we just —
we just met each other.” -It turned out there were
120,000 people there. And I had thought to myself, “I know how this gig’s
gonna go.” You know, like, when you open up
for a big band like that, it’s usually like, “Hey, you’re
gonna hit the stage at 5:00.” Well, the sun is setting,
people are going to sleep. You know, there’s no lights
or anything. So, I wanted to write a tune that would, you know,
rock the house. And so I wrote “Rock’n Me,”
and that’s — We learned it that afternoon and went to London and played it
the next day. In front of 120,000… -Why would you do that?!
That’s why you’re Steve Miller. That’s why you —
You take risks like that. -Sometimes you got to
write them fast. -You got to write them fast
and take risks. -And, you. You, we’re going to make you the
honorary mayor of Swingtown. Because while you were singing
all my little tunes, I was in the back. I had my guitar in my hand
and went, “Wow. He’s in the right key
for ‘Wild Mountain Honey,’ singing it in beat.
I can’t believe you did that.” -Wow! You hear that?! [ Cheers and applause ] -Perfect pitch.
-Perfect pitch. Come on. To hear that from Steve Miller.
I love you so much, man. I’m a giant fan.
-Right back at you. -Steve Miller.
“Welcome to the Vault.”

12 thoughts to “T-Bone Walker Taught Steve Miller to Play Guitar Behind His Head While Doing a Split”

  1. The word is Steve inherited all of Les Paul's vintage guitars when he died. Worth millions. He has a 'vault' in a Manhattan brownstone with all the guitars.

  2. Amazing to hear T Bone Walkers and Freddie and Albert Kings names on mainstream tv. Millions are like who?? Including most folks that just have Steve Miller's greatest hits.

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