Marcus Miller: The Man of Many Hats
"I wouldn't want to choose if I didn't have to. But at the center of it all, it's playing. Everything else is there to make the playing sound better."
So 2008 finds him working on the new CD with his fellow bass virtuosos, but also promoting Marcus. He notes that the promotion game for musicians in the new techno/Internet/MP3 era and beyond is not what it once was. It's time consuming, but still a vital part of the process.
"We take a lot more of it on ourselves," he says. "We've got a great partner in Concord Records, but we know that we've got to help them out. It's so difficult now. I've got people helping me with Internet promotion now, with radio promotion. We're going to think up some other campaigns that we can come up with to interest people in the music. I end up spending half my time making music and the other half figuring out how to let people know that it exists."
It would seem that end of the business could interfere with the creative process. But Miller doesn't look at it that way. He understands it, and deals with it. That kind of an outlook is a barricade to frustration.
"You realize it's always been a part of the process. It's just that we were insulated from it before, because we had record companies that would do that kind of thing. Now you realize that's the way it's always been and you have to take a lot more of it upon yourself. You don't have time to get frustrated ... You know what it really is? It's like advertising. They told me a long time ago you have to attack people from three sides. Where they see you on the radio, they see you on TV and then they maybe go to your website. And when they're there, maybe they see something they need to check out. You try to be everywhere you can at once."
Miller is sharp as a tack and seemingly unfazed by it all. He's got his shit together and in April was eagerly awaiting the road.
"We're going to do some gigs! Hit the road and play some music," he says excitedly. "We're hoping as we do these gigs and the record is out, more and more promoters will say, 'Hey, we need to get these guys.' We're hoping that we're going to build it. Get to a lot of places."
Miller has already been to a lot of places in a successful career that has more mountains to climb. Bet those mountains won't be a problem.
Marcus Miller, Marcus Miller (Concord, 2008)
Marcus Muller, Free (Sony/BMG, 2007)
George Benson/Al Jarreau, Givin' It Up (Concord, 2006)
Marcus Miller, Silver Rain (Koch, 2005)
Will Calhoun, Native Lands (Half Note, 2005)
Marcus Miller, The Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg (Telarc, 2003)
Luther Vandross, Dance With My Father (J-Records, 2003)
Kenny Garrett, Happy People (Warner Bros., 2002)
Marcus Miller, M2 (JVC, 2001)
Marcus Miller, Live and More (GRP, 1998)
Marcus Miller, Tales (PRA, 1994)
Wayne Shorter, High Life (Verve, 1994)
Marcus Miller, The Sun Don't Lie (PRA, 1993)
Ernie Watts, Afoxe (CTI, 1991)
Miles Davis, Amandla (Warner Bros., 1989)
Miles Davis, Tutu (Warner Bros., 1986)
McCoy Tyner, Double Trios (Denon, 1986)
Donald Fagen, The Nightfly (Reprise, 1982)
Miles Davis, We Want Miles (Columbia, 1981)
The Brecker Brothers, Straphangin' (Arista, 1980)