Thursday, April 18, 2013

He found in the world without as actual what was in his world within as possible

For the last fifteen years I've thought it a criminal waste that no one really took notice of Scott Miller, the polymath frontman of Game Theory and the Loud Family. He released ten albums of varying ambition but relentless quality. Albums that I found it hard to pass on to others but that, to me, felt like a precious roadmap to the emotional tundra of a man's early twenties, just as Scott's carefully compiled album charts unlocked huge swathes of music for me and encouraged me to compile my own.

With the exception of a brief collaborative return in 2006, Scott stopped making records in 2000 - two years after I first heard his music. Through second hand shops, Amazon, kind friends and music blogs, I was able to plug all the catalogue gaps left by bad deals. The further away we became from this music being made, the easier it was to actually hear it.

But it was Scott's writing on, which never went away, that was his greatest influence on me. Answering fans and allies' questions with exacting precision, he treated pop music, art, literature and science with the same rigour and humour. His answers were gracious, thought-out and kind. When people began to write to me about my own work, I used Scott as my template. I didn't have to think about how to relate to "fans". It was easy. You treated them like smart people. You wrote back to them the way Scott Miller did.

His writing on music in recent years was arguably, even better. In a field where drift and posture often stand in lieu of knowledge and perspective, he made the rare distinction of having both.

Of course it would take his awful, early passing at 53 for voices to unite in support of this great, thoughtful man. Some of his answers revealed a painful self-deprecation in his awareness of the rock career arc, his withdrawal from the game to avoid pressing on to minimal return. To be told today that he was just about to come back to music was heartbreaking. But that's a selfish feeling. With the words he wrote, with the records he made, he'd done enough. He'd done more than most.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you. A lovely reflection on a wonderful person and talent gone too soon.