Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing no games.
- Posted on Nov 14th 2010 2:00PM by Eric R. Danton
"In my 20s when I was single and childless and fancy-free, I was writing constantly," Miller, 40, tells Spinner. "There were periods when I was writing a couple songs a day for a week or two at a stretch."
Now married with two kids, that kind of writing spurt hadn't happened in years. But with plenty of time on his own in unfamiliar surroundings, Miller found the songs came pouring out -- a stream that continued when he returned home.
"I felt like that trip reignited something, and I've been writing a lot more since then," Miller says. "Certainly not at such a clip, because when I'm at home, I have to be other things for other people, too, but I've been writing a ton and I've been feeling really good about it."
Not all the songs on the new album came from his European writing excursion. Bassist Murry Hammond wrote two, and a third, 'Champaign, Illinois,' dates back years. Miller splits a writing credit on that tune -- with none other than Bob Dylan, whose 'Desolation Row' provided the melody.
"I was driving a late-night shift years ago with the Old 97's before we had a bus or drivers or anything, and I was trying to stay awake because my band mates had all been asleep," Miller says. "To keep myself awake, obviously I couldn't play guitar while I was driving, so I said, I'll take this tune I knew inside and out and come up with new lyrics."
Although Dylan's version has eight verses, Miller called his complete after three.
"I was really happy with it, and I thought, this is a sweet little song, and it kind of exists on its own. And then I sat on it forever for fear of legal repercussion," Miller says, laughing.
Eventually, Miller's manager passed the song to Dylan's people, and word came back: the master approved.
"Even then, it was still a surprise that it went through: Dylan's manager said they turn down 100 requests a day," Miller says.
'The Grand Theatre Volume One,' is out now via New West.