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Who was or is Steve Miller's bassist?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Gabu, May 6, 2004.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    In particular, the one who wrote the bassline for "Sha Ba Da Ma Ma"... That is a cool tune. :bassist:

    I just bought a 'greatest hits' with Miller and man does it smoke. :D
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Dpm't know who played on just a particular song.

    But I went to a concert where Miller was one of the bands on the bill and Steve introduced a guy named Gerald Johnson as the bassist........superb guy playing on a white Jazz bass on songs like "Big Ol' Jet Airliner."

    He wasn't a spectacle but he sure could slip into the pocket.
  3. Yes, Gerald Johnson was the bass player for some of the "big hits" era for Steve Miller. However, his original bass player in the 60's was Lonnie Turner (great bassline in Space Cowboy), replaced by Bobby Winkleman from ~ 1970-73, in turn replaced by Gerald Johnson in the "Joker" era.

    Turner returned in 1976 for the "Fly like an Eagle" album, then Johnson returned again for a while.

    I have all of Steve Miller's early stuff (Children of the Future, Sailor and Brave New World), and my old band played a bunch of his tunes in the early 70's before he became a pop star, so I know way too much about him..... :help:
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Funny...I was going to say "Lonnie Johnson".
    Was it Turner, a leftie, who played a right-handed natural wood P-bass flipped over?
    If so, I recall seeing the Steve Miller Band on one of theose '70s In Concert TV shows & he was workin' it!

    Just wanted to add that "Fly Like An Eagle" has a great groove.
  5. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Hmm... The greatest hits CD I got is entitled 'Young Hearts'.

    It includes:

    1. Take The Money And Run
    2. Abracadabra
    3. Rockin' Me
    4. Swingtown
    5. Joker, The
    6. Living In The USA
    7. Space Intro
    8. Fly Like An Eagle
    9. Threshold
    10. Jet Airliner
    11. Space Cowboy
    12. Jungle Love
    13. Serenade
    14. Cry Cry Cry
    15. Shubada Du Ma Ma
    16. Wide River
    17. Wild Mountain Honey
    18. Stake, The
    19. My Dark Hour
    20. Who Do You Love
    21. I Wanna Make The World Turn Around
    22. Dance Dance Dance

    I actually didn't remember any of the tunes on there at the time I bought it. I saw the CD on sale and remembered that my Dad had some Steve Miller records. I have always shared a similar taste in music so I picked it up. Then I ended up recognizing nine tracks and enjoying most of them. My favorite bass line is in the track 15. In this CD I hear some strikingly different bass tones and I was guessing that on the older tunes an Acoustic rig was used, and on the newer ones an Ampeg rig.
  6. Actually, THAT would be Gerald Johnson. Here is a pic of Gerald and Steve rocking the Fender Museum..

    And both Lonnie and Gerald played on the JOKER album that featured Shu Ba Da Du Ma; but Lonnie only played on the tune Evil (a live cut). Thus, Gerald played the bass line on Shu Ba Da Du Ma, although it may well have been Steve's line written for the tune.
  7. ZonPlyr


    Apr 29, 2003
    Pasadena, CA
    Another cool Miller tune bass line to check out is Your Cash Ain't Nothin' but Trash. Great funky line with some cool double stops in it. Groovin' song.
    signalpathological likes this.

  8. I love that tune! :D
  9. I always thought that the bass players of that band were always overlooked by many bass players. Many smoking bass lines to be found IMO.
    physics likes this.
  10. In the picture, why is he playing with a left handed body on a right handed neck?

  11. Probably learned to play a right handed bass upsidedown then had one made special to keep the feel when left handed bodies were available.
  12. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Could just be that he really likes the feel of that neck. Lotta folks do that, (well... some anyway :) )... I used to treasure an old J bass with a left-handed neck strung for a right-hand... No denying the feel of that neck! One of many old friends stolen years ago :(

  13. Wasn't a pre-Journey Ross Valory a member of the Miller Band? At least the road unit?

    The early Miller Band had a pretty hefty second-in-command, too: Boz Skaggs.
  14. Dr Quist

    Dr Quist

    Jul 22, 2013
    ANSWER : Because there are way more right handed basses in existence. Gerald got a lefty bass in the early 1970's from Fender .. but was so used to the tuners on the lower side ... he took the maple neck off his right handed P Bass so it 'felt correct'.
  15. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    A thread back from the dead.
  16. Dr Quist

    Dr Quist

    Jul 22, 2013
    I worked with Gerald in the Dave Mason Band in 1878 ( OOPS 1978 in reality )... he then had a natural finished P Bass with his 'log' neck right handed P Bass on that body.

    I have dealt with him over the last 40 years several times.
    In the 1980's Steve Miller called me and asked me to make two basses for Gerald.
    I made the Green and the Blue P Basses he still has.

    Dan Smith sent me the parts I needed ....I sprayed the color on the bodies ....and assembled them . THe parts were the gold pieces from the P BASS Special and the pickups were in fact a S Duncan Vintage ( in the green) and a 1/4 pound ( in the blue bass)
    Both bodies are Ash .....both got lacquer finishes and both had Acrylic Urethane clear on the necks.
    Both used REAL Kluson tuners .

    Why does he use a right handed neck ? Easy ... you can always get one if you need a neck . His necks have dots on both sides in case you were wondering .
  17. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ross played on the 71 album Rock Love.
  18. SactoBass

    SactoBass There are some who call me.......Sactobass Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sacramento CA
    Whoa! Now THAT was indeed a long time ago!
  19. Dr Quist

    Dr Quist

    Jul 22, 2013
    sorry about the typo. it should be 1978 . A Great time touring North America .
  20. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    The last couple of times he's made a live appearance on TV
    the keyboardist was kicking bass and there was an older, black gentleman dancing around and singing some very marginal backup vocals.
    What's going on with the SMB now?