You won't meet a nicer guy in rock and roll than Rhett Miller
. The singer-songwriter and iconic front-man of Texas rock outfit Old 97s proves it in this back alley interview after a smokin' performance at The Launch Pad. Here, Miller touches on his roots (seriously...we're getting into building calluses here), how he decides if a song is destined for the Old 97s or his solo endeavors, and his new album The Dreamer
. When Miller admits "it's been a fun life so far", you'll see why in this interview.
Stewart Ransom Miller II , better-known as Rhett Miller (born September 6, 1970) is the lead singer of the alternative country band Old 97's and a successful solo musician. He graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas, a private boys' school in Dallas in 1989 and briefly attended Sarah Lawrence College on a creative writing scholarship before dropping out to pursue a music career. His first musical endeavor was in 1990 with Murry Hammond and drummer Benjamin Warrenfells, who formed the Sleepy Heroes, an alterna-pop band. The Sleepy Heroes released one album, Under a Radio Sun, before their breakup.
Rhett Miller has recorded four solo albums. The 1989 album Mythologies was produced and recorded by future Old 97's member Murry Hammond. The 2002 album The Instigator, produced and recorded with Jon Brion, received critical acclaim and substantial airplay on alternative-oriented radio stations. In 2006, Miller released The Believer, his first effort for the Verve Forecast label. It includes a cover of Brion's "I Believe She's Lying", and "Fireflies", a duet with Rachael Yamagata. His most recent album, Rhett Miller, was released in June 2009 (Shout! Factory), and includes Jon Brion on guitar and bass, The Apples In Stereos John Dufilho on drums and Billy Harvey on guitar. Upon the album's release, Rolling Stone called it Miller's "strongest solo set ever." "I Need To Know Where I Stand" is the first single from the album, and was available for listen on Miller's MySpace page several weeks before the release of the album.
In 2004, Miller toured with Neil Finn and recorded a version of Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" for one of MasterCard's "Priceless" advertisements. Songs from Miller's second solo album, The Instigator, were featured on an episode of Joan of Arcadia during its short run on CBS. Songs by both Miller and Old 97's have been used in the soundtrack of the American comedy series Scrubs. Miller also covered The Beatles song "Girl" for 2005's This Bird Has Flown - A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul. In 2008, Miller co-produced the first EP, No One Will Know, of New York band The Spring Standards.
Miller married model Erica Iahn a week after he completed production of The Instigator. Iahn found out she was pregnant with their first child, Max, while Miller was wrapping up his tour with Tori Amos to promote the album. Their daughter, Soleil, was born in the spring of 2006. Miller's song "Happy Birthday Don't Die" is his imagining of what the world will be like when Soleil celebrates her 100th birthday.
Miller appears as a member of the musical ensemble in the 30 Rock episode Kidney Now!
American Songwriter named Miller their Writer of The Week for the week of June 25, 2012 and included him on their The Muse July Sampler.