Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
"ALL WE WERE DOIN' WAS JUST KILLIN' "
"WE HAD A REAL GOOD TIME—FOR A while," recalls Jerry Miller, Moby Grape's lead guitarist, from his home in Cave Junction, Oreg. "When we were out playing after our first album, we scared a lot of people. There was magic to what the five of us could do together. I remember when we opened for the Mamas and the Papas. We'd finish 'Omaha,' really boogying, and then they'd get up there and try to do 'Monday, Monday.' We got booted off that tour fast. We got a bad rap, but all we were doin' was just killin'."
Why did Moby Grape flame out so soon after rocketing to stardom? "I don't think we ever really realized the power we had," says Miller, now 49. "We should have just sat back, slowed down and done our second album when it was really ready. But we were being pushed very hard by everybody around us—and pretty soon fuses just started blowing."
Miller, who's married with a 5-year-old son and a 7-month-old daughter, has remained active in music (his Jerry Miller Band hopes to tour the country this summer). He is still in touch with the rest of his old mates, especially drummer Don Stevenson (a vacation time-share salesman in Seattle) and second guitarist Peter Lewis (currently finishing a solo album in Southern California). "Me and Pete and Don always talk about how we'd still like to do our second album the right away," he says. As it is, the new retrospective suits them all. "Hey, every pothole we could step in, we stepped in," he says with a laugh. "After all these years, it'd be real sweet to finally put the proper period on our story."