April 8, 2016. Inductee Steve Miller performs at the 31st Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center in New York. (The Associated Press)
Steve Miller had just performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, but he wasn’t finished.
In fact, he was just getting started. The new inductee ripped the rock hall in a backstage interview, calling the evening a “lazy” night with “a bunch of fat cats” that was tantamount to a bad reality show — only he used a stronger epithet than “bad.”
“I don’t know why I was nominated for this because I said this for 30 years,” the 72-year-old musician said in the interview. “I don’t get along with the people running it. When I found out about it, I felt like I was in a (expletive) reality TV show.”
Of the evening as a whole, Miller said: “It wasn’t very overwhelming. It was a lazy kind of night with a bunch of fat cats at the dinner table. It’s not a real pleasant experience to tell you the truth.”
Asked why, he said: “The reason … is because they make it difficult for the artists. I think it’s time for the people running this to turn it over to new people because it doesn’t need to be this difficult. You don’t need to insult every artist that comes along.” He added: “People in the crews are nice, but people that are running it at the top have no concept of how to run a concert or how to run an award ceremony or how to take care of artists.”
The rock hall issued a statement Saturday in response to Miller’s comments. “Rock and roll can ignite many opinions,” it said. “It’s what makes it so great. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was honored to induct Steve Miller last night.”
In the interview, Miller explained that he only appeared at the ceremony for the sake of his fans. “My fans take it seriously,” he said. “I really didn’t want to show up.”
Entering the rock hall along with Miller at the ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center was the rap group N.W.A., along with 1970s-era rock acts Cheap Trick, Chicago and Deep Purple. N.W.A., which opted not to perform at the ceremony, was inducted by one of music’s hottest artists, Kendrick Lamar, who said the group had “proved to every kid in the ghetto that you could be successful and still have your voice while doing it.”
Miller and his band, who are preparing for a summer tour, played the crowd-pleasing hits “Fly Like an Eagle,” ”Rock ‘n’ Me Baby” and “The Joker” to an audience of fellow musicians and industry professionals sitting at tables, and ticket-buying members of the public in the surrounding stands.
“If you listened to the radio, you listened to Steve Miller,” said the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who inducted Miller with his bandmate Patrick Carney.
Backstage, Miller even questioned the purpose of the rock hall.
“You tell me what the hell is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and what does it do besides talk about itself and sell postcards?” he said.
HBO will air highlights of the show on April 30.