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My little oration…

This is what I said at Phil Miller’s funeral. I was pretty sick and couldn’t organise a proper speech, so on the day I just spoke spontaneously and without notes. Herm asked me if I could get it down. It’s not quite verbatim but close ; –

 

‘When I first heard Phil’s music as a teenager I wanted to meet him. I had a mental profile of the kind of people I hoped I would encounter in life and you only had to hear a few bars of one of his passionate guitar solos or majestic compositions to suggest that here was someone who was not only a vital musician but also essentially a thoroughly decent human being with a great big heart. 

I got to meet him properly when In Cahoots appeared with Caravan at the London Astoria sometime in the late nineties. We had a lot in common and got on well. He invited me round for a ‘cuppa’ and I was delighted to find that my positive instincts about the man behind the music were correct and so we became very good friends. I insisted upon it!

Musically he became something of a mentor to me. I was determined to learn something from his advanced harmonic systems in particular and really loved to play his compositions that he would tutor me through with endless patience and good humour as I waded through bar after bar of finger knotting chinese puzzles. He enjoyed my phrasing, and I was thrilled and honoured that he wrote Delta Borderline for me and employed me to play on various other tracks where he had crafted bespoke parts that were often complex but always beautifully logical. I have the happiest memories of recording those parts and hearing the music come to life. I have equally happy memories of his wild eyed expressions of maniacal glee accompanied by his trademark faux sadistic cackle as these increasingly fiendish parts were presented,

The man was absolutely indivisible from his music. To go for a walk with Phil was like enjoying one of his more serpentine pieces or solos. He would always want to take a less obvious turning just to see what was there. You could end up somewhere quite unexpected, or even jumping on a bus to somewhere of such dubious glamour as Romford on the pretext of going to a guitar shop, but really just for the pleasure of the trip out, the passing scenery and musings on lives glimpsed from the top deck. He took an almost incandescent delight in the most simple, mundane things. Parks, canals, railways stations, grey London streets… It was all grist to his creative mill. He was an earthy man, very connected to his environment and in tune with the pulses of life. At the same time there was an ethereal quality to him with a sense of awe and wonder at the depths and mysteries of the universe, underpinned by a keen intellect that he kept politely and very humbly hidden. He was not naturally demonstrative … but its all there in the music.

Phil’s working method was usually painstaking and methodical and he was full of gratitude to the extent that Herm (a fine artist in her own right) supported him in this. Indeed it was abundantly clear how much he appreciated her and her boundless love and support generally. She was a major contributor the the fact that I would grade Phil as a basically happy and content person, and also that his music could be bought into existence at all.

Yes, Phil was a truly loving and beautiful soul first and his music sprung organically from that. You could never think of him without affection and the most vivid metaphor I can think of for him was as a warm heater in a cold room. HIs energy was such that his very presence would improve the general sense of well being in any gathering. His vibes were inspiring and you wanted to spread them far and wide. He didn’t think of himself as a spiritual person but he truly was, in that deepest sense, and I honestly cannot think of a finer tribute to anyone than to be able to say that.’

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Obituary for Phil Miller in The Times

Phil:Times

The Times! Excellent! Apologies for the rough scan but the point is it’s there.

Phil left me all his pedals and Marshall amp. Sat here surrounded by his stuff. This is all getting a goooood work out later.

Not the time now but Phil’s music is going on in a BIG way.  Watch out for a sonically majestic 2018…

Phil Miller

One of my dearest friends passed over today. Phil was the gentlest, kindest most generous soul I think I’ve ever met. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour in mid summer. I saw him only a few weeks ago. He was obviously weak and the prognosis was poor but his attitude was beautiful and sunny and full of gratitude for the beautiful music he had created and been a crucial part of. He was one of the greatest composers ever and a stunningly inventive and original guitarist. I have a lot more to say about Phil the musician but that will suffice for now.

I spoke to him on the phone barely two weeks ago. He sounded weaker but still the same beautiful attitude. My thoughts are with his devoted wife Herm at this time. Please send her loving energy and to Phil for his gifts to the world.

Red Light’s On…

No more gigs till next year so up and down to Soho for sessions. The mega Christmas cinema and TV ads – all the big brands. Amazing films! Love the buzz and really exciting composing and performing on the spot. Just found out one of my recent ads won a Golden Globe for best music. That doesn’t hurt!

Also gives me great shopping opportunities around Holborn/Covent Garden. I like good clothes, man! All most satisfactory.

Post tour landing

What a joy and honour it’s been to perform with Deborah Bonham on Paul Rodger’s tour. This has been the first time that Paul has performed the classic Free material since that band ended and his performance was stunning every night. An absolute gent too and a real pleasure to meet him. Paul was using Deborah’s band and extra kudos goes to Pete Bullick for his chunky riffing and achingly languid bends.

Kicking off in Glasgow and ending at London’s Royal Hall, Debs delivered raw soul and passion. She really is world class. This format is challenging and I’m proud we achieved a sound substantial enough to fill these venues with just a voice and a guitar. Thanks to everyone who gave us their appreciation. Look forward to taking this project on…

We had no shortage of top drawer visitors. Robert Plant came down to Oxford along with Brian Johnson to join Paul and the boys on stage. The first time Brian had sung live since leaving AC/DC early last year. Top geezer. Brian May and Jimmy Page were in attendance at Albert Hall. Jimmy was on great form. A really great guy and fantastic to see him again. Heady days indeed!

I’m back with Nigel Kennedy this month. Another master. Gig update and more news shortly…

Leisure

A lot of people ask me (well ok, but if they did) what do I do when I’m not being good at music? Well I really enjoy being with nature. You know, rolling around in the mud, eating leaves, riding elk, that sort of thing. If I have a few free days I enjoy kayaking, amber mining, and deep space exploration.

Yes. Let’s rock.

Just back from a pleasant couple of days up country rehearsing with Deborah Bonham for the upcoming Paul Rodgers tour. I’ve had the pleasure of playing on a couple of her albums and it’s just great to hear that amazing voice again. Debs and Pete are highly superb people. They rescue maltreated ex-racehorses and nurse them back to health for a great and well deserved retirement. Throw in a couple of self walking dogs and newly rescued donkey, organic lifestyle, log fire and it’s a pretty great scene really. Very entertaining to this city boy!

Full tour dates and further updates very shortly, just catching up around here, and many blessings on all your houses. Be they humble or nay.