Pure music. Buddy Miller Julie Miller

Puremusic Interview with Buddy and Julie Miller  (continued)

PM: You're just back, you say. Has Julie been out on the road with you?

BM: She only came out for the last two Emmy Lou dates, she's been staying home. We just did a family thing together. I've been doing double duty, because I opened about 20 of those dates.

PM: Do you open solo, or with a band?

BM: I have Brady [Blade] play a cocktail drum, and the front of house guy [the person who mixes the show out front], Dean Norman, he plays the bass. So, it's a different look, and a different sound with the cocktail drum. [a tall drum with heads on the top and bottom. There's a snare on the top head, played with brushes or sticks, and a traditional foot pedal to get a bass drum sound out of the bottom head.]

PM: Yeah, you got to change the look, and change your shirt between sets.

BM: Yeah, I only do just because I sweat, you know. It doesn't matter too much what we look like, everybody's looking at Emmy Lou anyway.

PM: On top of being great, she's still so striking. Who's playing in the Emmy Lou band these days?

BM: It's me, Brady Blade, and Tony Hall on bass. It's just been three pieces and her for seven years. Daniel Lanois played guitar the tour after Wrecking Ball, and I've been on guitar since then. We changed bass players a year ago, Daryl Johnson had played previously.

PM: So, you get to play your ass off every night.

BM: Oh yeah. There's a lot of freedom.

[Julie reappears with the beverages, Buddy's checking out the gold record.]

PM: Do you have a tune on that record?

BM: No, sang on it, but we have had some cuts, with the Dixie Chicks and Lee Anne Womack...

PM: I've been reading about all the great cuts of late, quite a windfall of them the last couple of years.

BM: It's been mindblowing.

PM: It may not be the end of financial insecurity, but it puts things on a pretty even keel.

BM: Certainly keeps you in cat litter, yeah. And we just like the work. We're going over to sing with Lee Ann Womack in an hour on a song of ours that she did and is redoing. She cut another one of Julie's recently, we don't know if it's gonna make the record, not yet.

PM: Which other Julie song did Lee Ann cut?

BM: "I Need You." It's a rockin thing. We really don't know if it will make the record at all.

PM: Really? That's interesting, might be good for her image. It's kind of, how shall I say, on the dirty side, you know?

Julie Miller: [laughs] Yeah, that's what we thought.

PM: But I mean it in a good way, of course, it's a great song. But all the cut action is really great, one can easily tour all year and not make that kind of money.

BM: It was pretty unexpected.

PM: You know what I'd like to hear? Little Jimmy Scott's cut of "All My Tears."

BM: Oh, you've never heard that? Before you go, I have to play that for you.

PM: He's such an otherworldly singer.

JM: Oh wow. That's for sure.

BM: It was a ways into the song before Julie recognized it.

PM: So, let's see, I did bring some questions. This first one woke me up at 4:30 this morning.

BM: [to Julie] That's a good question for you. [laughter]

JM: Absolutely, if it arrived at 4 AM.

PM: Speaking musically, one of the things that makes your partnership so rich is that Julie is bringing the folk and rock elements to the table, and Buddy the country, soul, and the R&B factor. With that in mind, and speaking personally, what are the elements that each of you bring to the table that make your friendship and your marriage work?

BM: That's a good question. [stands up and walks to a ringing phone]

JM: No, turn it off, Buddy! [laughter]

[After a humorous rapid fire family conference, Buddy agrees to take it off the hook, after the caller's message is complete.]

JM: That's something, Buddy taking it off the hook -- that doesn't happen.

PM: Really? As a recording freak, I woulda thought he'd want it turned off a lot.

JM: [whispering] Oh no, he's a telephone freak.

BM: [from the next room] I'm not a telephone freak.

PM: [whispering, to Julie] He likes to talk on the telephone?

BM: [from the next room, louder] No, I hate it!

PM: You just like to know who's on the telephone.

JM: He needs to know. [laughing]

BM: I just like to know who's calling.

JM: He's an information kind of a guy. Anything that's involved with information. The mail, the Fed Ex man, the phone...

BM: I think I'm a normal guy. She's not. I can't get her on the phone when I'm calling from the road! And half the time she probably hears me on the machine, saying, "Julie, it's me, pick up the phone..."

JM: Thing is, I just don't even hear the phone... I don't want to be responsible for knowing.

BM: She doesn't have it turned on sometimes. We had an elaborate system hooked up one time...

JM: You might not want to reveal.

BM: Oh, okay, yeah. [Julie's laughing]

PM: Oh, were we getting into family secrets?

BM: Well, no, I just mean with the...okay, maybe we shouldn't.

JM: Well, he's information guy. I'm Rapunzel, with cats.

PM: Ain't nothin wrong with that.

BM: You ever see nine cats together? [Julie's laughing] You might change your mind. It's like a little herd.

JM: They didn't have a mommy or a daddy, and I couldn't find them one.

PM: One at a time, or a litter?

JM: Well, we did find a couple of litters. We gave away part of two litters, and have the rest. And the mama of the second litter, too. We didn't want to claim her, so we didn't give her a name, she was just mama. Now she thinks that's her name. The other night I thought she was lost, and I was walking the neighborhood at 2 AM calling "Mama..."   continue

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