When Steve Miller, Peter Cetera Criticized the Rock Hall

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Miller and Cetera displaying Cetera's Rock Hall trophy (via PeterCetera.com)

Miller and Cetera displaying Cetera’s Rock Hall trophy (Idaho Mountain Express photo by Roland Lane, via PeterCetera.com)

Two prominent members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 – each of whom added controversy to what the organizers have always hoped would solely be a celebration of the music – spoke up about their induction. Original Chicago lead singer and bassist Peter Cetera and Steve Miller had plenty to say about the Rock Hall and the process in a published interview.

The classic rock stars were interviewed together in-person by the Idaho Mountain Express; both performers have long-standing ties to the state’s Wood River Valley, having bought homes there in the 1980s.

After being inducted by the Black Keys at the April 8 ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Miller performed “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Rock’N Me” and “The Joker.” However, in a press conference following his performance, Miller went on a rant about the hall. “When they told me I was inducted they said, ‘You have two tickets — one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000. Sorry, that’s the way it goes,’” he said. “What about my band? What about their wives?”

A Rock Hall representative tried to cut him off but Miller would have none of it. “No, we’re not going to wrap this up — I’m going to wrap you up,” he said. “You go sit down over there and learn something.”

Watch Miller’s rant (You’ll need to click on the link)

He later embellished his complaints to Rolling Stone: “Starting from who you can invite, what you can do, how long you can play, what you can say. The whole thing is sort of an amateur production and doing this is harder than doing a 20-city tour. Everybody is kind of a dick and an asshole. And every artist you talk to will tell you that. You’re lucky that everybody didn’t fucking walk out. It was very, very close.”

Related: Steve Miller – Black Keys diss

In the Idaho Mountain Express interview, Miller said: “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame needs to become more inclusive, not more exclusive,” he said. “It’s terribly run. I don’t respect the way they operate. I worry about the future of music.

“They were so rude. If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame conducted itself with grace and dignity, they could raise so much money and deal with these issues that are life and death to musicians,” he said. “I want to completely reorganize the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—I want to rebuild the temple. The way they deal with everything—it’s the exact opposite of what rock’n’roll is. They did achieve some good things with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the museum, but they’ve lost their way.”

As for Cetera, Best Classic Bands reported regularly earlier in the year about his attempts to reunite, if for one night, and put aside differences with his former Chicago bandmates.  In one post on his website, Cetera wrote about his recent communication with the band: “The only reply I ever received back from them was a very snarky ‘Take a chill pill dude!’ Whoa! Really? At this point in my life, I really don’t care to reintroduce the same negativity, misplaced egos, and petty jealousies I experienced years ago.” (Read the often cringe-inducing coverage here about the on-again-off-again discussions.)

In the end, Cetera, the band and the organizers couldn’t agree and he didn’t attend the celebration. “Music is supposed to be fun, and there’s no way that was going to be fun,” he told the newspaper. “I chose not to go and deal with the rigmarole with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and my ex-band,” he said. “This is a total honor and I just wish there were better circumstances,” he said.

Since Cetera wasn’t at the event – he says he was at a hockey game instead – the Hall shipped his trophy to his Idaho home. “It’s actually for the fans. It’s a total honor.” On the lighter side, he says: “I have had the most fun since I got this award taking it around town and sharing it with everyone.”

Miller also revealed plans for a new album he’s been recording: “It’s really amazing. It’s a combination of jazz and blues, and I’m using some great musicians. It’s Miles Davis meets Ma Rainey.”

Best Classic Bands Staff
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8 Comments so far

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  1. Cappy
    #1 Cappy 13 May, 2016, 14:43

    The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame from its inception until Ahmet Ertegun’s passing was a well respected organization incorporated to honor musicians et al. Unfortunately, with Ahmet’s passing and under Jan Wenner’s leadership has become a disgrace to all previous honorees and those that should, and have not, been inducted from then until now.

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  2. Eco
    #2 Eco 9 June, 2016, 09:14

    Well, thanks to all for this “cringe-inducing” glimpse into the ego soaked planet of elderly rock and roll. Yuck.

    Reply this comment
  3. Der F. TooL
    #3 Der F. TooL 23 October, 2021, 21:28

    I’ve often wondered why some got in and why some didn’t. It makes sense to me now. Hey Hall monitors when are we going to hear that huge popping sound that is your head come flying out of your ass. Remove yourself from the equation and do what’s right. It’s about music and the desire of what the people want. You are not the center of the universe.

    Reply this comment
  4. JennyB
    #4 JennyB 24 October, 2021, 02:50

    The RnR HOF has been a disgrace from the very beginning. It was a total mess when I and a friend went to see it. I don’ t know who was in charge of the place at the time but they had their collective heads up their asses and couldn’t organize two items if they tried. The place was a mishmash of crap. The “Board” who selects the inductees got lost in the process when they started inducting artists who aren’t even RnR groups! RnR is supposed to be fun and joyous and crazy but it’s all like they just induct the popular kids in high school. I’ve come to see the Hall as a dubious honor for ANY band. I hope someday they get it together, un-induct those who don’t belong there and really make it a ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Hall of Fame! Maybe the fans should take over the place! Long live ROCK!!!!

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    • Kkb
      Kkb 25 October, 2021, 02:10

      Absolutely right! There are so many bands they have snubbed for years. FINALLY, finally, to quote Ann Wilson, the Moody Blues were inducted after being ignored for years. $hameful.

      Reply this comment
  5. JCB
    #5 JCB 24 October, 2021, 14:10

    The fact that Paul Rodgers, who everyone in R+R knows is one of the greatest lead singers / songwriters of all time is not in the R+R Hall tells you all you need to know about the mistake by the lake. Shameful.

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  6. Baybluesman
    #6 Baybluesman 30 October, 2021, 23:47

    Good for Miller, Cetera, and Rundgren, amongst other musicians critical of he HOF.

    The Rock and Roll HOF is nothing more (at least for the last 25 years) than a self-serving mausoleum for Jann Wenner.
    It is as irrelevant as Rolling Stone magazine has been for the past 20 years or so, and I was a subscriber from the 70’s through the late 80’s.

    For both the HOF and R.S., they became pandering tools to political correctness after about 1985, and turned their backs and what made them successful in the first place, at their origins – that being celebrating rock and roll, rock, and blues rock – not being everything to every faction.

    With so many notable deserving exemptions (the list is too numerous to list here), as an example, the very epitome of hard-driving, in-your-face rock, the J. Geils Band, is excluded.

    Any one who ever attended a J. Geils Band concert anytime in the 70’s, knows exactly why they should have been in the HOF years ago, along with so many deserving others

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