MEET THE BAND: Jim Miller (vocals, guitars), Steve Scheff (keyboards), Brian Golenberg (drums), Dave Blackerby (bass), Vince Berry (guitar)
THE BEATLES BLEW HIS MIND: Initially, local singer-guitarist Jim Miller gravitated to the classical music that his mother used to play around the house. Then, he saw the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. "The Beatles blew my mind," says Miller, who now also teaches guitar. "I wanted to play guitar after that. The Beatles are always around. The young kids today are even into them. Some of my students I have had who are 8 and 9 are big Beatles fans." Miller first played with Oroboros and then formed the JiMiller Band in 1988. The band played its first gig, opening for the Grateful Dead tribute act Sugar Magnolia, in August of that year. "It was rough at the beginning," says Miller, who has seen the band's lineup shift over the years. "For the last 10 years, it's just started happening with this lineup."
ON BECOMING A DEADHEAD: An avid fan of the Grateful Dead, Miller says he was initially attracted to some of the covers that the band would play. "They played songs by Johnny Cash and Howlin' Wolf," he says. "I also liked some of the storylines in their music. I loved how in the early '70s when they did country and folk stuff. I got to open for [Dead songwriter] Robert Hunter twice and talked to him between shows at the old Peabody's Down Under. Our influences separate from the music were the same. We liked [novelist] James Joyce and [psychologist] Karl Jung. [Hunter] was a fascinating man. What a treat."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The JiMiller band has released four albums over the course of the 20 years and regularly posts original music on its website. Live, the band plays covers and includes Orobos songs in its set as well. Songs such as "Weather the Storm" have an epic feel to them and feature improvisational segments and noodle-y guitar solos. For the upcoming Music Box show that will celebrate the band's 20th anniversary, former band members such as Steve Zevesky, Fred Perez Stable, Mike Rotman and Brett Miller will join the group. The first set will be all JiMiller and Orobors originals, and the second set with be covers of songs by the Dead and other roots rock acts.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: jimiller.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: The JiMiller Band's 20th Anniversary Show takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Music Box Supper Club.