Interview With Tom Miller of The Righteous Kind: Pt. 2

Tom Miller of The Righteous Kind at Gainesville's AM/FM Music Showcase

Photo courtesy of Debby Strickland.

Describing Tom Miller in two words or less is not a particularly challenging endeavor. Sure, he plays bass for Gainesville’s acid-fried garage revivalists The Righteous Kind, spent three years honing his blues chops in the Windy Cindy, can rattle off a laundry list of now-defunct 352 venues, and dropped both Beib and Bobby Sherman references in part one of our interview.

But “chill bro” will suffice.

In part two of our convo outside of Sunday’s AM/FM Music Showcase at 8 Seconds, we discuss his band’s new album Wild Hibiscus and meditate on the concept behind… Sorry, what was I saying?


Ana(b)log: Tell me about your new album.

Tom Miller: It’s awesome. I love the new album. My favorite part is that it was mastered by a guy named Michael Fuller of Fuller Sound in Miami. You can look him up (reader’s note: I did. And he won a Grammy). But anyway, he mastered Bee Gees albums and America albums and I knew him 25 years ago because I made my first record – actual 45 record – when I was 15 years old. And that’s where I met this guy.

A: No kidding? Were you in a band at the time or just doing it solo?

TM: No. I was just multitracking my heroes. Paul McCartney was multitracking. Stevie Wonder was multi-tracking. And then me. And nobody else was doing it. Now you can download a multitracking app on your iPhone and sit under a tree and make an album. I had to con my parents out of thousands and thousands of dollars to get the stuff to do that. But, um, what was the question?

A: The new album.

TM: Oh yeah, yeah. So Mike Fuller’s mastering of this album really polished what was a very beautiful gem. The Colonel [The Righteous Kind's singer/guitarist Charles Ray] has put a lot of work into it. We all put a lot of work into it. And the songs are fun. “Ear candy” is what I’ve been saying to myself. It has a beginning a middle and an end. It’s not background music – it can be. But I miss the days when you sit around in a dark room with a really good friend or a girlfriend or a boyfriend – whatever you’re into – and you’d just kind of say, “Let’s be quiet and listen to this.” And it’ll tell a story. You know Sgt. Pepper’s tells a story. And the Court Of The Crimson King tells a story. And you’d turn your life off and listen to it.

A: It’s a concept album…

TM: Yeah. But all the songs work independently and they also work as just rock ‘n roll music to be played when you’re having a good time. So we covered all three bases with it. Ear candy, in short.

A: Ear candy. Okay. How is it different from the stuff you’ve done in the past?

TM: Our first album we did at Rob McGregor’s [Goldentone Studio]. And we’re really proud of that.

A: He’s a big name around here.

TM: Well yeah, he’s a badass. He’s just… the man. And what we did was, we went into Rob McGregor’s studio and we just played the songs. Like the Beatles went in – their very first album – and just played the songs. So we were trying to replicate that arc of a good Sixties band. They come in, they play some good quality songs, and then they start screwing with it, bringing in other instruments. Then they start trying to play with you. And hopefully they represent what’s happening in the times. There’s some politics in the album, but not much. We want to stop the war. Peace, music and love – that’s what it’s about.