Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting the lullaby treatment…
- Posted on Nov 25th 2010 10:30AM by Steve McLean
New West Records
But the man born Stewart Ransom Miller II -- who just released his eighth studio album, 'The Grande Theatre, Volume One,' with the Old 97's -- also happens to be a huge hockey fan.
Miller grew up in Dallas, Texas and became a fan of the local NHL team known as the Stars after the franchise moved south from Minnesota before the 1993-94 season. He admits that he especially enjoys performing in Canada because it gives him a chance to indulge his passion for hockey.
"We got to play one of the Blue Rodeo summer shows that they do every year [at Toronto's Molson Canadian Amphitheatre], and I got to meet the GM of the Stars, Bob Gainey, who was also with the Canadiens," Miller tells Spinner.
Miller enjoys watching the home team at Dallas' American Airlines Center, where he says there are are "a lot of bells and whistles, and big video screens, and games on the ice between periods -- and all of this goofy stuff" to keep patrons who may not be as knowledgeable as him about the sport entertained. But he describes witnessing a game at Toronto's old Maple Leaf Gardens as "one of the greatest things" he's ever experienced.
"Seeing it there was just so classic and perfect. There were people sitting around talking seriously about hockey and watching the game with no bells and whistles -- it was great."
The biggest moment in the Dallas Stars' history will also be inextricably linked to Toronto for Miller, as it will be for those who were at the Horseshoe Tavern to see the band perform June 19, 1999.
The Stars had a three-games-to-two series lead as they played the sixth match of the Stanley Cup final against the Buffalo Sabres that night, which turned into a real nail-biter going into triple overtime with the score deadlocked at one apiece.
The Old 97's members were so enraptured by the game on a small dressing room television that they told opening act Slobberbone to play longer because they didn't want to emerge until an outcome was reached.
"We actually ended up going on stage at the beginning of the third overtime because the promoters finally came and said, 'Guys, everybody's been waiting for hours,'" recalls Miller. "That was the one time the Stars won the Stanley Cup, and we didn't get to see Brett Hull kick the puck in.
"Slobberbone came out with no shirts on and had 'Stars win' written on their chests, and they were jumping around when they finally did win."
The Stars aren't the team they used to be, and through 20 games were 10th among the 15 teams in the NHL's western conference -- which is actually better than Miller expected.
"They're a young team and I didn't imagine that they were going to do anything in their first eight games," he says. "But I sang the anthem at their second home game, and it was a little weird to see [former Stars captain and franchise all-time leading scorer] Mike Modano come back and play a game as a Red Wing.
"They've been up and down -- and, for a team that's so full-on into youth, it's going to be hard to find consistency. But I think it's heartening that they've had success already. Hopefully they can make the playoffs and be a legitimate NHL team, and not just give up."
Miller has also lived in Los Angeles and now resides in New York, but he insists that he'll always remain loyal to the squad he first embraced.
"I can't be a [LA] Kings fan because they play too much head-to-head with the Stars. I don't like the [New York] Rangers. I kind of like the [New Jersey] Devils because there's been so much sharing of players; Jamie Langenbrunner went to the Devils -- so many Stars have been Devils, and gone back and forth."
"I've always liked the Habs [Montreal Canadiens] because there's a connection with the Stars again," he adds. "Gainey went back and forth, and players have gone back and forth. But I'm a Stars fan at heart."