Homegrown musician Jeff Miller brings unique show to Jam-Rock

Combining art and music under one roof

By Chris Rugowski

A photo of Jeff Miller performing 15 years ago at a festival in Minneapolis. The long-time musician said he knew early on that music was in his blood. Submitted Photos

As the name suggests, The Jeff Miller Band is led by local singer, songwriter and musician Jeff Miller, who said he knew early on that music was in his blood.

Growing up in Green Bay, Miller said he began showing an aptitude for music at a young age, but it wasn’t until middle school that he found his true calling – the guitar.

Miller said he began playing in rock ‘n’ roll bands at age 13, and back then, played at every Green Bay venue that had live music.
As a high schooler, he said he played for many of the high school dances.

In 1974, Miller left Green Bay for Madison to attend school, where he said the music scene was vibrant.

“(From) the Green Bay music scene, (I) went into becoming a booking agent in college,” he said. “Some guys that I worked for in Madison gave me a job right out of high school as a booking agent and it was my college job. In 1975, the music scene was vibrant and so thus my college studies suffered a little bit, but my musical career took off, meeting all kinds of people – from Tony Brown to Cheap Trick.”

Miller said he has played every imaginable role in the music business – from musician, to promoter, to agent, to manager, to producer and venue owner twice over.

Miller said he returned to Green Bay in 2013 and began the journey of becoming “The Jeff Miller Band.”

One by one, Miller said he added to his band – which has 11 members including the newest member, Chicago-based rapper Sthorm RRTUT the POETIC MC (pronounced “storm”) – through chance meetings with other musicians.

Jeff Miller performing in Nashville, Tennessee. The Jeff Miller Band will perform at Jam-Rock April 30.

Upcoming local show

The Jeff Miller Band, featuring local artists Morgan Piontek and Jacob Bacon, will be at Jam-Rock, 700 Bodart St, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30.

Miller said the show at Jam-Rock will have a unique twist, which comes from a concept of having a combined space of art and music.

Throughout the night, Miller and crew will be doing “Music Money Trivia,” which starts off easy and becomes more difficult as the night goes on – the harder the question, the bigger the prize, he said.

Miller said the idea is simple – the band plays, then asks something like “Who wrote this song?”

He said prizes include everything from money to CDs to art.

Miller said the first set will include all original music, featuring some new content that has only been played in front of an audience once, as well as an unreleased song.

He said the show is meant to engage the audience with an interactive aspect, while highlighting local art, music, culture, the scene and overall art appreciation.

The future

Miller said he has never really been a forefront leading member, but would instead help out in other ways as a band member.

But he said he has noticed a shift at this point in his career.

“My feelings now about how my career is, I’ve never been more motivated to go out and say, ‘This is who Jeff Miller is.’ I haven’t shown you who I was before,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in Green Bay, and I’ve had a lot of talent open shows for us. I give the Lyric Room a lot of credit for everything they do. When Blue Opus was open and running music seven days a week, the scene was there. COVID-19 came, and we all know how that went, but it’s going to take time to come back. Wisconsin has always had vibrancy without arrogance to it.”

Miller said his advice to the youth and current motto for a life in music, is simply “Go for it.”

Chris Rugowski is a photojournalist from Green Bay, who mainly focuses on event photography, with an emphasis on bands and music. When he’s not doing live event photography, he focuses on landscapes and macro, as well as writing narrative pieces to accompany photos.

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