New York (AFP) – Garage rockers The Black Keys have voiced regret over inducting Steve Miller into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, calling the experimental bluesman thoroughly unpleasant.
Miller, one of five acts honored by the Hall of Fame on Friday, jolted the New York ceremony by lashing out at the institution, calling it a boys’ club that unethically tries to cash in on artists.
In the tradition of the three-decade-old Hall of Fame, fellow artists, often younger stars inspired by the inductees, introduce them with praise at the ceremony.
But in a highly unusual admission, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach said that he and bandmate Pat Carney regret their speech for Miller.
“We were so disappointed that as soon as we got offstage, we left while he was playing,” Auerbach told Rolling Stone in an interview published Wednesday.
Auerbach said that Miller did not know who The Black Keys were and, in his sole attempt at conversation, told them of his problems with the Hall of Fame.
“He said, ‘The whole process was unpleasant.’ And for Pat and I, honestly, the most unpleasant part was being around him,” he said.
“It was just a real eye-opener for us. Because as we get older, I hope that when I’m in my twilight years, I can look back and be grateful to the people who have appreciated me and to be able to give back,” he said.
Auerbach voiced particular regret that Miller’s comments overshadowed the “message of positivity” by critically acclaimed hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar as he inducted gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A., who Lamar said offered hope to residents of their rough hometown of Compton, California.
Miller, best known for his 1973 hit “The Joker,” emerged from the dynamic cultural mix of 1960s San Francisco as he brought blues, jazz and Americana roots music together into a psychedelic mix.
Miller, in remarks to reporters after his induction, said the Hall of Fame tried to “steal” the rights to footage and had hard-pressed his band members to pay $10,000 a ticket to attend.