Loud and Clear
San Francisco Chronicle, Lively Arts/Nightlife, 1/5/97
By Denise Sullivan
Check the song titles on the Loud Family's new CD, Interbabe Concern: "Screwed Over by Stylish Introverts," "Rise of the Chokehold Princess," "North San Bruno Dishonor Trip." What's going on in head-Loud Scott Miller's extraordinarily crafty pop mind?
"I was rebelling against those one-word titles, like 'Carpet,' or something that's supposed to evoke a feeling but doesn't really say anything," he said. "I tried to say as plainly as possible what the song was about. But if people want to call my work the musical equivalent of T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land,' I have no problem with that. I have no fear of it being called intellectual."
Early in his career, Miller was labeled "Alex Chilton's son" because his voice bore a strong resemblance to that of the former Box Tops/ Big Star singer. (In 1985, Miller's difficult-to-categorize rock band Game Theory was among the first to proselytize about Big Star.)
"I used to get really angry about that because, although Game Theory covered 'You Can't Have Me,' we weren't just about that sound," he said.
Interest in Miller has never waned among pop aficionados. R.E.M.'s first producer, Mitch Easter, recorded Game Theory, and recently singer-songwriter Aimee Mann told Pulse magazine that every time she writes a song she asks herself what Miller would think of it.
"That was incredibly flattering," Miller said. "We've gotten a fair amount of press in our time and I was excited that (Loud Family's) last album was reviewed in Rolling Stone. No one noticed that, but everyone saw that Aimee Mann article."
Miller recently revamped the lineup of the Loud Family, and the shift in personnel made room for his old Game Theory band mates Gil Ray and Shelley LaFreneire to join him on one track, "I'm Not Really a Spring," another loaded title from the Louds' new album on Alias Records.
"I picked a straight-ahead pop-rock song, but it has the sort of unusual changes that Game Theory fans might be familiar with."
Ken Stringfellow of the Posies and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt also contributed to the album. After recording with former 4 Non Blonde Dawn Richardson, the Louds asked the drummer to join the Family, but she declined. The band is without a permanent drummer, but bassist Kenny Kessel and keyboardist Paul Wieneke remain.