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As I See It

10-26-13
 

We hope this finds all of you well.

We are doing fine - it is Day 6 for Pam's new knee (she had the other one done about 5 years ago - so we know how the recovery goes). She's doing great. I am Nurse Betty for a month and we are doing all this in Florida. It's beautiful here. I get to swim and play golf while Pam works on the PT rehab.

I have a new CD coming out next week called "Sweet Doin' Nothing", and I am re-releasing "A Colorado Christmas" CD and "A Collection for Children". Our daughter, Casey has an incredible job at Yellowstone Club in Big Sky Montana in the sales department and our son James is working there too& as a bar tender. James has a band called The Electric Sunday and they have an incredible You Tube Video out called "Old Dog".

Pam and I had were in Nashville in the the end of July, dinner with Dolly Parton and our our friend Richard Dennison, for his 60th birthday - it was a blast. I am not going to be on the tour with her next year, she wants me to continue doing my own thing, but I think I might get to do something with her down the road.

In June, I went to Italy on a car rally - drove an old Ferrari. Pam and I will be going to SkiBo Castle in May and then Italy again to celebrate out 30th anniversary. I am psyched about upcoming shows at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado this month and Palm Springs, California next month with my pal Ken Miller. We are also doing a gig in Gillete, Wyoming at Jordan's on Dec. 6th and then the annual Christmas Shows at the Broadmoor, then Montana for Christmas week. Then early next year Florida, Kearney Nebraska, San Francisco, maybe Sun Valley and Steamboat Springs. Keystone and Florida again after that. I hope to produce a new CD of cowboy songs next Spring and also thinking about a bunch of other things.

So that's life here - It's fun to be off the hamster wheel for a bit and to be with Pam.
Lots of Love to you all!
Jim




5-24-13
 

Had a blast last night at McCabes Irish Pub in Naples, FL!

McCabes Irish Pub




3-22-13
 
This is a letter I wrote to a friend of mine who passed away a couple of weeks ago- it's my way of dealing with it all... I wanted to share it with my friends and family because Paul McIhenny was very special in our lives. Jim

Dear Paul,

I haven't had clear time to address my feelings about you until now - today.

They say you passed away. I can't believe that because in my mind you are fine and making people laugh and smile.

That's what you always do. You make people feel good about themselves and in that calm Southern style, your common sensibility is a great cover for a brilliant businessman.

But that's not the guy I remember. (the biz guy) I remember first meeting you on Reeves Neblitt's ride down the Mississippi on the Delta Queen.

We stopped at a Cajun place and you were there. Oysters everywhere and yes Tobasco.

(I remember my first taste in Nebraska as a little boy - it made my eyes water a bit- my older brother loved it so, I did too... still do) You were friendly to all.

I remember a museum talk and the fact that you had opened a bottle of Tobasco from the Civil War days to find it pretty much the same as today's sauce.

Then a guy asked you how long a bottle truly lasts and you looked at a bottle and said "about two weeks" delivered dead panned, honest and hilarious.

I remember your nephew Took explaining how he traveled to Colombia with armed guards to finds the best peppers (the drug lords being an issue) I remember all the lunches especially the ones Erich invited me, on yours and Peters' behalf, to sing.

I remember the story of making the hole bigger on the bottle.
And I remember how kind you were to me with gifts of baseball caps and a six pack of all the different flavors of Tobasco.

But I will always remember how incredibly kind you were to my son James when he showed up to play for me when I got sick.

You wrote James Jr. and me a letter. It was heartfelt and still moves me to this day.

I will treasure that more than anything, one of the nicest things that could ever happen to a Dad.

So you'll never really be gone Paul! There will be tears this summer (just like these in Florida this morning) and there will be much laughter and I will always smile when I think that I am friends with someone who touched so many lives.

Your Friend,
Jim

p.s.- And with the Tobasco I had on my eggs this morning, you'll never really be gone.

Listen to TOBASCO - To the tune of "Tiny Bubbles" - a parody
Oh Tobasco-
From Avery Isle
You make me feel so happy
You make me want to smile
My Tobasco
Sprinkle it all over
Gives me the feeling that Im gonna love Tobasco for a long long while-
Tobasco comes from Louisianna not Hawaai
Hello Paul I love them all the different Tobascos
McIhenny whoop dee doo McIhenny ooohhh



2-27-2013
 


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2-27-2013
 


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2-27-2013
 


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2-27-2013
 
I traveled up to Downey House yesterday to set up and discuss this week for the Dartmouth Ski Week Annual get together. And again today after finishing this years script. I make a movie every year for the Bobfather- These are the real alumni from the Animal House (AD House) the movie was based on. It's fun and a ton of work for me as I write parodies and write a script for a movie that gets printed up and given to participants.

A typical day starts at 9:00 breakfast- then skiing until 12:30 with lunch at Alpen Glow Stube, then more skiing- then badminton-volleyball-football- and then cocktails-then a lecture from a US Ambassador- then dinner then entertainment. Rinse Dry Repeat. Seventy of the most interesting men and women come together to laugh and love winter.

In the middle of this I have to travel to San Francisco tomorrow morning for some business and fun then come back at 5:40 on Friday morning to join the Keystone bunch.

Sun, Mon, and Tues off and then driving with Pam to Big Sky MT and playing Thur, Fri, and Sat at Yellowstone Club.

Then driving over to Sun Valley (6 hrs) and skiing 5 days with friends from there and Bay Area. I get to play 4 days at the Duchin Room in the Sun Valley Lodge - it's a beautiful place to be and to stay and play. I love it there and the audiences are the best.

Then it's a couple of weeks to write----I am way behind in this and have a ton of ideas. Dolly has always been my teacher when I think of how much and how often she writes. She has written thousands of songs and makes me want to get back at it right now and it's therapeutic.

I'm so happy the tour was so smooth and people seemed moved by the show. I also am so happy my Mom has bounced back once again from all the trials she has faced this winter.

The children are happy- Pam and I are loving our time together and looking forward to a long drive- a good book on tape and the chance to dream out loud ---one of our favorite things.

Love to Everyone!

Photo

 

2-25-13
 

Hello there Jim,

So I grew up to my mom cranking the Eagle and the Hawk on her ancient record player and John Denver's songs have never left my soul. When by some stroke of luck we heard about the tour you're on we absolutely had to go. My mom and dad and husband and I all immensely enjoyed your show at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on the 16th. Had I known prior that one of John's band members would sing my second most favorite song, For Baby For Bobby, I (would have still gone but ) I KNOW I would have scoffed at that, I would have decided that this show must be cheesy and I would have been so so wrong. You, YOU did such a beautiful job...you performed your role and your songs perfectly, a show like that needs someone exactly like you to make us understand how to feel that connection with John and his band. Perfection. Seriously. Down to the detail that you introduce yourselves twice because the first time is good but by the second time we're in love and...well I scrambled for my pen to be sure to write your name down. I've been to a gazillion concerts...including one of John's when I was just 7 or 8 around 1980 in Madison, WI (Mom found the program and the copyright 1980 date on there is all we have to go on). How cool is my mom to have taken me to see him when I was so young? So with nearly every single concert I attend, I'm usually ready for it to be over right about the time it gets over but your concert I just wanted it to keep going and going and going. There was a strong sense of never wanting it to end because I don't know if it will ever happen again and even if it does, will I know about it? I'm not sure how many theater's mailing lists I need to be on to make certain I never miss such an event! If you have such a thing as a personal mailing list with event information, please put me on it. I hope you and the rest of the band would be willing to tour again because I know I would go again and again and again. I do have a question I'm hoping you can answer. The video footage where John arrives at a concert with (his?) two children on a boat and performs in a sort of green and blue and white tie die shirt and I think it's raining too. Can you tell me where and when that concert was? I'd love to try to find my own concert DVD if it exists, he never looked better than he does at the performance. My mom and I were together the day we learned he'd died. We cried and cried over the loss of the man and such perfect vocal cords...it's still hard to comprehend that they'll never sing again. But we have you...and you do a FANTASTIC job of substituting for John so THANK YOU!! Thank you for doing the tour and making it a top notch, first class event!!

Most Sincerely, Karen

Flying Home




2-23-13
 

Paramount Theater

It was a sweet night - happily well received.
I wanted my son James to play the last song with me as we do this on my shows. It's the closest he'll ever be with John Denver singing the theme of the tour. Rocky Mountain High.
Our pal Gary Shapiro wore the same shirt as James- He is a legendary broadcaster on 9News (here in Denver)
Thanks so much for following my little journal and please come back.
Good Night to all and Happy Trails!
Grateful, Jim

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-23-13
 

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-21-13
 

We Loved Austin City Limits LIVE at Moody Theater-
(I think they liked the show a lot too!)
Oh and the Tex Mex food?
Oh yes -there was that too!

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-20-13
 

Dallas Center for the Performing Arts


RMH Tour 2013




2-18-13
 

Hi Friends,

It was another fine evening on the RMH tour and today many folks in MN are happy we were there.

We have just arrived in Wichita and we have a day off to recharge the batteries after 6 shows in a row. It's all working smoothly and Ken Miller is now on board. He will do a great job for us and I'm glad he got to hear his charts for the strings and take the show in last night while Chris Nole was still out here.

It feels like the ticket sales for the shows are great! I can't believe how fast it's all gone.

Check out the last shows on this tour in Wichita- Dallas- Austin and Denver if you can and thanks for visiting the site.

Jim

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-17-13
 

Last Night Pabst Theater Milwaukee

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-16-13
 

Sleepy this morning in Milwaukee - The Star Plaza Theater was beautiful last night - The band is locked in with the films of JD and the crew is wonderful. It's a smooth running machine-many are moved by the experience and I feel lucky to be here. Hope all is well at home and can't wait to do this again tonight and finally at the Paramount in Denver after shows in Minneapolis-Wichita-Dallas and Austin (one more week to go)

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-16-13 Milwaukee
 

RMH Tour PatchMary Schott: Rocky Mt High concert in Merrillville IN tonight; what a wonderful experience. John Denver on the big screen, and Chris Nole, Jim Horn, Jim Salestrom, Alan Deremo on stage with drummer and string quartet; doesn't get much better than that! An especially nice touch was seeing the musicians playing on screen at the same time they were performing live on stage. Thank you guys for keeping John's music alive. You will LOVE it, Joy; its like being at a JD concert again .

Joy Wyse: I have wanted the band to do this for a long time and I'm glad they finally did. I'm getting excited to see the concert a week from tomorrow night. John is the star and of course the band. Hearing him sing in a theater has to be awesome.




2-11-13
 
NOTES FROM YOU!

My husband and I so enjoyed the concert last night (2/9/13) in Lancaster. Thank you so much for being a part of bring John back for one more concert.There were tears of joy last night....
Kim Rosencrance -
Clarks Summit, Pa USA - Sunday, February 10, 2013

Attended the "Tribute to John Denver" concert in Lancaster, PA on 2/9/13. It was fabulous and really enjoyed your singing voice as well. The entire band was wonderful and the tribute presentation was and will be forever memorable. Thank you for bringing John's memory back to life!
Marilyn Rosenbaum -
Exton, PA USA - Sunday, February 10, 2013

My husband and I attended your tribute to John Denver concert this evening on Feb-06-2013 in Easton, PA at the State Theater. We throughly enjoyed ourselves. You did a superb job entertaining everyone. Loved your singing. Your tribute was very special and brought together a wealth of talent. Thank you for a wonderful show.
Nancy M. Reilly -
Phillipsburg, NJ USA - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Great show in Westbury last Friday! The stuff with John on video is awesome, but the band by itself is a tribute alone. Your vocals and stage presence are so heartfelt and real. Hopefully, I'll catch you again. It was cool that Long Island was the opening night of the tour--I felt honored to be there! "Ponies" such a highlight for me. Thanks to everyone!
Jeff Jensen -
Plainview, NY USA - Wednesday, February 06, 2013


2-11-13
 

Ambassador Theater NYI too....am saddened by the cancellation of the Boston show. We tried very hard to get there--it was a life and death kinda drive--and I know the band and management is really sorry about the lady who drove through the storm.---it was just terrible on the CT Turnpike- it should not have been opened and if not for our incredible bus driver, we'd still be out there. I saw a matinee of Chicago. Great dancing and wonderful cast - Bob Fosse's choreography incredible. It was wonderful. We hit the ground running starting tomorrow. Hopefully we won't have anymore weather issues. Love to all from RMH TOUR 2013.




2-9-13
 

wishin' this for all of us all the time

 	wishin' this for all of us all the time




2-9-13
 

We had to postpone the show at the Keswick Theater in Glenside PA last night because of the slick roads. We have snow on the ground today but the sun is shining. We are doing our show at the theater here in Lancaster PA. tonight, please visit the official John Denver web site or Facebook page for all the updated details. I am lucky and blessed to have friends like Chris Nole, Alan Deremo, Nate Barnes, and Jim Horn out here on the snowy road. Below are photos of some of the different artists Jim Horn has recorded with. There are quite a few.

Jim Horn Recordings




2-9-13
 
WOW- Boston got hit with snow - nice here today though.
Tour Case


2-8-13
 

Easton to Lancaster PA
Such a pretty lady at the CF Martin factory - they should keep her in that spot.
CF Martin Guitar




2-7-13
 

Easton PA and the State Theater - We had a great time at C.F. Martin and our show was well received. It was great seeing Dick Boak, Ric and Janet Forero, and Jim and Cathy Goodyear. I loved our time here! Rocky Mountain High Tour - John Denver's image on the big screen...live band.

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-6-13
 

Beautiful Strathmore Center for Performing Arts - Bethesda MD

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




2-5-13
 

Buffalo, New York!

Buffalo, New York




2-3-13
 

A Day Off for Super Bowl- Snowy Here! Life is good-

The show last night in the Count Basie Theater was wonderful in Red Ban NJ - Basie's hometown - our 2nd show was smoother - we are having a great time and people are really emotionally moved by seeing and hearing John again.

It's wonderful to be in beautiful snowy Amherst NY (actually very nice hotel ).
I'm headed for the gym - the nap - the bar for Super Bowl&in that order.

RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013
RMH Tour 2013




1-31-13
 

The Tour Begins

The Tour Begins!




1-31-13
 

Todays Thought

Todays Thought




1-30-13
 
2nd day of rehearsals- we saw videos of the songs and everyone felt like they were with John again... We think people are going to feel this too. It's wonderful to remember this incredible entertainer and how he brought all of us musicians / friends together and how many fans we have come to know. It's been a a long 15 years without him and now it feels a bit like he's closer. Or maybe we are closer. Thanks for being here - hope you get to see the show. jim in Westbury NY 1st show this Friday night

Photo

 

1-30-13
 

1st Day of Rehearsal

RMH 2013
1st day rehearsals
Westbury NY
The first step!




1-28-13
 

Rocky Mountain High Concert TourLeaving for LGA today!
Rehearsals start tomorrow I am psyched!
Should be a bit cooler than here in Denver. We have had a mild winter so far - we need snow. I'll finally get to ski in March - Big Sky MT and Sun Valley ID.



Can't wait to see my pals and play some great songs by JD.




1-27-13
 
Jim with John DenverStan Miller was John Denver's sound man and eventually his company Stanal Sound did sound for John on large tours around the world. Stan is Neil Diamond's sound man FOH mixer and my friend. It's a long article but very interesting if you are interested-

Leaving on a jet plane tomorrow for La Guardia and rehearsals- Good Night! Jim

http://www.fohonline.com/index.php

Stan Miller, Digital Sound Pioneer
He's worked for John Denver, Johnny Cash and Stevie Wonder. He built the wall of speakers for Pink Floyds The Wall concerts. He provided sound for Bob Dylan when he performed at Zeppelin Field in Nuremberg, Germany. Hes also been called on by the likes of the Pope and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

And since 1967, he's been behind the board of one of pop musics greatest stars.

Stan Millers long association with Neil Diamond, behind the scenes of all of his greatest concerts and live recordings, would alone mark him as more than worthy of receiving the Parnelli Audio Innovator Award. But its his pursuit of sound evolution through digital technology that defines his legacy.

Millers technical achievements are dazzling: He was one of the first to hang speakers, through a steel cable/drum winch system of his own making, and he was the first to use multi-core snakes allowing for easier cable hookup. He was the first to take a graphic EQ with third-octave Altec passive filters on the road. In the 1970s through the 1990s he was also an audio product manufacturer, owning Stanal Sound where he created the high-powered, high-end Stanley Screamers for Altec. Later, he consulted with the pro audio company JBL to create advanced speakers and rigging for touring as well. He pioneered the used of fiberglass covering for road cases and loudspeakers, making them so reliable that many of his boxes are still on the road 30 years later. His work with Yamaha led directly to the PMD1 and PMD5 digital consoles.

Stan wasn't on the cutting edge, he was on the bleeding edge, states Larry Italia of Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems Division. He is fearless, has remarkable instincts and possesses a wonderfully curious mind.

Stan has his own take on technology, adds Patrick Stansfield, a Parnelli honoree himself who worked with Miller for Diamond for many years. He has his own personal way of doing things that marked him as different. Some would discount him as an odd duck, which was an obvious mistake.

Longtime industry professional Sam Helms recalls going to a multimedia presentation at an Audio Engineer Society show 25 years ago that featured Miller and his work. Impressed with everything Miller was doing, especially his flying speaker system, he asked for a meeting with him, and theyve been collaborators and close friends ever since. He was able to get so much high fidelity out of his speakers, and he built the cabinets so they not only sounded great, but were easy to load in and load out, says Helms.

Helms, who today is president of Sigmet Corporation, a manufacturing rep firm, was consulting and supplying gear for many of Millers first, including all of his forays into digital sound. Hes always been on the digital edge.

With Diamond, Miller designed the sound system and worked front of house for all of his historic and record-breaking world tours. He was also behind the recording of Hot August Night, recorded at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in 1972. Miller was audio designer/consultant for what The New York Times called a milestone in rocks history, Pink Floyds The Wall Live concert in 1981.

He knows what Neil is looking for, and Neil relies on him, Michael Weiss says. And they are friends its not all just about the sound and touring. Weiss has worked with Miller since 1981. Currently hes Diamonds production manager.

Lighting designer and Parnelli Lifetime Achievement recipient Chip Monck met Miller in the early 1970s and worked with him in the 1980s as well. Monck and Miller became good friends and neighbors in LA. The man is a bitch of a taskmaster, and I must say, my dearest friend, Monck says. He took Diamond digital, developed rigging systems that flew audio, and today has a system where each musician mixes their own monitors. This tribute is long overdue.

Neil allows me to be creative and experimental, Miller says. He didn't put me in a box. That is so unusual in this business for someone like me to be allowed to try things. He allowed me to dream & and as I always say, I've always been out on the end of the limb with a saw.

Beginnings
I'm a Nebraska farm boy, and to this day, my favorite thing is driving around on my John Deere [tractor], Miller says.

Miller was born in Lincoln, his father was in the agriculture business and his mother was a teacher. Work had his father moving around, but mostly within the Cornhusker State borders. In high school, Miller played trombone, but it was audio that caught his ear. When his music teacher was building a loudspeaker, Miller brought him to his fathers garage workshop and helped him cut the wood for it. Several students and the teacher built a hi-fi system. I was blown away when I heard it in the gym, and that sparked my love for audio, he says. He proceeded to build amps and speaker boxes, and suddenly he was the go-to guy when a sock hop was planned, as nobody else had an audio system. Armed with two eight-inch Jenson loudspeakers, two seven-watt Heathkit amps and two RCA turntables, he would start on his professional sound career as a DJ spinning records at local parties and school functions.

In 1958 he moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, and became a ski bum, though there he continued building and experimenting with sound systems. I had the first stereo cartridge in the area that could play a stereo record! he laughs. He would return to Nebraska and attend college. My original intention was to be a teacher, and I got a degree in teaching, but I also got an Altec franchise and opened up a small commercial audio store in 1962. He would provide sound for acts like the Smothers Brothers and the Carpenters when they toured the Midwest.

A company out of Duluth, Minn., called Variety Theater International was touring Midwest colleges with the Christy Minstrels, and the organizers determined that they could make more profit if they offered the group complete with their own sound system. Thats how he began a life on the road that would continue through today. I kept building more speaker boxes, more amplifiers, and used to haul my stuff around in a station wagon. I had a lot of wonderful experiences I worked with John Denver when he was just starting out. During this time he hooked up with the Young Americans and got his first taste of international touring with them to Australia, Thailand and Japan.

In 1967 he found himself in Vermillion, South Dakota, working a double bill that included a young singer/songwriter out of New York named Neil Diamond. Forty-two years later, they are still working together, and in all that time, he has not missed a single show.

Audio Pioneer
Patrick Stansfield joined the Diamond crew in 1976. In what is quite an anomaly, the future production/tour manager for Diamond had to first be interviewed by the sound guy. It was made clear that I had to pass muster with Stan Miller, Stansfield recalls. Neil so trusted Stan that if someone couldn't get along with him, there was no need to go further. Stansfield passed the Stan Test with flying colors, forging a lifelong friendship.

Miller kept to his humble roots. Even when Diamond was engulfed in superstardom, Miller would drive the truck to gigs from his Kearney, Neb. headquarters, Stansfield tells. He also mentions that many of Millers side projects made use of a Radio Shack franchise in Kearney. The Radio Shack franchise in Nebraska was amusing but also helpful. Whenever we needed something, he would locate the local Radio Shack and get a 20 percent discount.

Meanwhile, he would contract with others between his tours. One group was Sonny & Cher, and on that show, he was told that he couldn't block any seats. He had done a little rigging and decided to hang the speakers, one of the first to do so. While Clair Brothers Bruce Jackson was experimenting with hanging speakers for Elvis at the same time for the same reason, Miller couldn't get that system to where it needed to be and spent six weeks developing his own system. I was in the middle of Nebraska and chain motors weren't around, he explains. There were no [professional] riggers, and we had to get it up there. But we figured out how to get up there fairly fast & of course [Stansfield] called it the flying junkyard.

Stansfield adds, He had two cabinets per basket it was a funny system but he swore by it.

During the 1970s he founded Stanal Sound Ltd., which eventually had scores of employees, including Millers father, as business partner. He also continued building a lot of equipment for bands because in the Midwest, he was one of only a few in the area who could fulfill their needs. Not that he was limited to small spaces by any means. I had a number of agreements with facilities [in Los Angeles] like the Greek, the Universal Amphitheatre, the Wilshire, Pantages and others in Chicago and Denver, he says. Id supply the hardware and the people to run it.

Its hard to imagine what it was like in the early days of professional sound, but Miller tries to paint a picture: We moved all our equipment by air with bag tags hanging on the [speaker] boxes. Wed drive up to the airport, give the guy a $20 and have him throw it in the plane. He recalls that once his speakers were riding on the luggage carousel in St. Louiss Lambert Airport for days before he drove in from Nebraska to pick them up. I just rented a wagon and strapped the stuff on top.

As a company owner, he was tough. Weiss says they joked that he never put wheels on any of his equipment and never produced SWAG. T-shirts and casters will break a company, was Millers mantra. But he did eventually put casters on all his equipment only to sell the business shortly after that! laughs Weiss. He sold the company in the late 1990s.

Award-winning lighting designer Marilyn Lowery remembers well her first meeting with Miller. She had been hired to work on Diamonds performances to support his movie The Jazz Singer. Already nervous about the gig, she was introduced to Miller, who shook her hand and bluntly informed her the road was no place for a woman. That was my, Hi, how are you doin', laughs Lowery. We still joke about that today, though hes embarrassed about it! (So close are the two that when Miller had a wedding ceremony with his life partner, Lowery was the best man.)

Into the Digital Unknown
In 1972, when Diamond recorded his historic Hot August Night at the Greek, Miller had no mixing console, so he took parts from multiple sources and built one that had 24 inputs and 12 outputs. I had to figure out how to patch it together, and I used a pin matrix system with multiple wires to rout the signal to multiple speakers sources. Also, how to connect all those amps without excessive buzzing and humming was a challenge. Of course he had to be concerned for the audience as well as the recording, and this involved everything from putting speakers in trees to choosing mic placement. When I go back and listen to that recording, Im still amazed & sometimes something magical happens.

Miller was also one of the first to take a graphic EQ with third octave filters on the road. He says he spent a lot of time figuring out how to apply permanent fixtures to the rock and roll touring world.

The Stanley Screamers speakers were a major breakthrough. Produced by Stanal Sound in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they were a three-way system. What made these high-end, high-powered speakers so popular was their use of 604 Duplex loudspeakers. Miller would hand pick and test the individual drivers for the system. These were the speakers that were used in Pink Floyds The Wall tour.

Later, he moved from an alliance with Altec to JBL. Through a joint venture, he designed and built the JBL Concert series, which was one of the first systems that could be rigged and hung as a complete component and developed the rigging for it.

Another time he confronted the problem of multiple mic lines and cables. Typically these would just be taped together, but Miller discovered he could make use of a Multi Box with connectors on the other end, which was the beginning of the snake. This helped with hanging speakers and cut time with setup. I was just always dreaming stuff up.

When the first Yamaha PM 200 mixer became available in the states, Stan jumped on the Yamaha wagon and developed a life long association. Touring Japan with Stevie Wonder, he visited the Yamaha facilities. His relationship with Yamaha from the first PM1000-16 prototype mixer is a milestone.

In the mid-1980s he started experimenting with digital sound and created analog/digital hybrids. He wanted the ability to recall settings, and he used 14 small Yamaha 01s and the outputs were all fed into an analog PM 3500 console for final mix. People were looking at me going, Why would you want to do that? But this allowed me to call up all the console settings without dialing it up every time.

Miller was the first to insist on digital overall system control, and he helped pioneered the technology that allowed him to set amps remotely. It was unheard of at that time, but he got a pure digital signal going from the mic to the speakers, Stansfield says.

Larry Italia of Yamaha treasures his companys long relationship with Miller. The two have worked with each other for at least 20 years. He saw the advantages and ultimate improvement that digital technology offered before anyone, Italia says. He saw that it would be the difference between a computer and a typewriter. He credits Millers early confidence in Yamahas technology with putting their digital mixers on the map. Now you cant swing a dead cat without hitting someone with a digital mixer, but Stan was the first to use [digital technology] on a major tour.

Yamahas groundbreaking PM1D was the beginning of a paradigm shift, Italia says. A lot of the things we saw Stan trying to do inspired us to create the PM1D & but hes done so many different things at one point he was out there without a console, just running sound from his laptop. Everybody talks about that, but who actually does it?

Over the last decade, Miller has achieved his digital dream, including the final battle, which included getting everyone on stage including Diamond himself personal monitors and thus eliminating the stage wedges. The result is that the last two Diamond tours hes done have been 100 percent digital sound. Entertainers on stage dont always understand that by getting rid of all the speakers on stage, you can dial the sound system to the environment better and easier. You have control over things.

Pushing the envelope is the road less traveled and solid footing is not assured. Its a process that is very painful for everybody, Weiss says. But it always seems to work in the end & though let me put it this way: Things went wrong [during a show], but nobody knew but us. Then wed all sit around for days trying to fix what went wrong.

Lowery agrees: There was a fair amount of hand wringing. He was always trying new things, and they all worked out eventually, but there was always a huge learning curve.

Being in a completely digital audio world has made him a better engineer, he says. When you have 100 percent recall ability of channels, all of a sudden you think differently. I believe thats one of the reasons others fought it they didn't want to think differently! Id say Im a lot older than most of these guys, and they ought to be hipper than me! [Laughs]

Every year he would up the ante! laughs Italia. After every tour, he and his team would come back and tell Yamaha they wanted to try something else. He would always throw a new wrinkle at us, and say Can we do this? Wed say, Yeah. Maybe. Possibly. But why would you want to do that, Stan? Italia pauses and adds: I think ultimately he wants to get to the point he can run a tours sound system from his bed & breakfast!

A Life in Sound
Stansfield has a trunk full of anecdotes of life on the road with Miller. Every morning for breakfast, wherever he was in the world, hed order two eggs basted and six strips of bacon burned black. He would send it back to the kitchen if the bacon wasn't black enough. Once in Australia, he sent it back, and suddenly the door to the kitchen opened and out came flying his plate like a Frisbee.

The plate missed him, but not the effects of life on the road: In 1978, at the young age of 37, he suffered a heart attack. Among his many firsts here is one he would rather not boast of, that he is in fact one of the first in the country to have undergone 5-way bypass surgery.

It scared everybody, Weiss says. It happened so fast. Since then he exercised and took [health issues] seriously.

It was a pretty traumatic time, confirms bass player/musical director Rienie Press. He had his doctor out on the road with him for a while. Stan was then usually seen walking around the top of an arena hall during sound check, getting exercise in.

In addition to his artistry, Miller has earned Diamonds trust every day. Not that Miller was a pushover he can and, when something affects the quality of his work, will be confrontational. Hes sometimes stubborn, but has a gentle soul and a good heart, Lowery contends.

Stan is very competent, adds Press. The biggest thing that has endeared him to Diamond is that he always gets Neils voice out there and sounding the way Neil wants it to.

Miller on Neil: Hes a very loyal guy and a nice fellow. Most of the musicians have been with him for 25 years. That doesn't just happen. And if he weren't a nice guy, I wouldn't be there. I expect to be treated as I would treat someone else. Artists often dont treat their people very well. When youre on the road together for this many years, we all have our moments and know when to stay clear of each other. On the other hand, Neil has a knack for surrounding himself with people who are diligent at making him look good.

Reflecting, Miller adds, A lot of artists dont get it, and Im sorry for them because as a result they dont get the best show in the end, Miller says. I was able to try things throughout my career, and that was fun. If I had to do things the same way every night, that wouldn't be any fun.

His philosophy of mixing is unique. When I watched other engineers, I saw people working against the sound system. People would EQ the console as opposed to the system. Those who EQ best EQ least. And I've seen people with all this equipment who didnt know how to run it! [Laughs] I see people tweaking knobs on a console without it even being on. Set a graphic EQ in a curve and never listen. You should listen to it first!

Today, Miller lives in Big Bear, Calif. with his life partner of 20 years, Thomas Bicanic, a chef. Together they manage their 12-room bed & breakfast and restaurant, Knickerbocker Mansion. Stan has a daughter, a son and three grandchildren. My children turned out to be an asset to society, in spite of me. His daughter is executive director of a nonprofit medical society and his son is an airline captain.

Italia: His is a life lived well. I can not think of anybody we worked with who is ahead of the curve more than him.

Miller will receive his Parnelli Award at a gala dinner on Nov. 20 in Orlando. For more information on the Parnellis, go to www.parnelliawards.com.


 
The "As I See It" Archive:

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April 2006
Fall 2005
December 2003
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September 1998
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