Scott Miller

For former V-Roys front man Scott Miller, '04 was a year to "Chill, Relax Now" on the writing/recording front. But instead of getting in scribbling and studio time, the Virginia native and Knoxville, Tennessee, resident ended up whiling away his time playing on some high-profile stages and embarked on some unusual tours.

Most recently, Miller and his Appalachian pop-rock group the Commonwealth have served as the house band on the WB's surprise hit comedy/variety show Blue Collar TV. "The musical director of the show was a fan of Sugar Hill," Miller says of his label. "So he contacted them, and they sent him a bunch of CDs, and Jeff Foxworthy liked us. He's a really nice guy; I had to have lunch with him and stuff, kinda interview for it. It was cool. You can't be a stupid asshole and do what he's done."

Scott Miller
Scott Miller
Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken

Miller's an old-school fellow -- in this age of computers, he collects and still uses old-fashioned ribbon typewriters -- so his winter train tour on the same "Amtrak Crescent" he saluted on last year's Upside/Downside was very much in character. Miller and the Commonwealth and a few roadies, reporters, Amtrak liaisons and film crew members clambered aboard the train in New Orleans and rode the rails all the way to Boston, stopping off to play live in and generally make messes of every city along the way. Miller says the band filmed the whole partially sponsored tour, recorded on eight-track gear in one of the train's larger handicapped cabins some live material, which they hope to use on an upcoming record, and that he hopes to do another train tour, on either the Crescent route or the New Orleans-Chicago "City of New Orleans" line of Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie song.

All of which eats into his songwriting time, which is a battle he has just rejoined in the last few weeks after the WB tapings in Atlanta wrapped up. "I got home, cleaned off my desk, and I'm just trying to start writing," he says. He also notes that he's keeping a wary eye on Tennessee's southern border. Football season is about to start, and the citizenry of Alabama is up in arms about recent revelations about University of Tennessee football coach Philip Fulmer's role in landing the Alabama Crimson Tide on NCAA probation. "At this point, if Alabama could mobilize the National Guard and invade us, they would," he says, half seriously.

Train tours, TV tapings, impending interstate internecine warfare -- it all makes a guy fall behind. Miller is unfazed. "I would have been stupid not to do the Blue Collar TV thing, at least for the experience of it, good God." He also notes that the money was great, and being on the show got his band good exposure, something he's had a hard time getting on mainstream radio, which he brands "damn mega-corporation conglomerate corporate pigfuck pieces of shit."

Couldn't have said it better myself. -- John Nova Lomax

Thursday, September 2, at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 713-528-5999.

Clay Aiken

Next time you're looking to burn a couple of work hours tooling around on the Web, do yourself a favor and double click a few Clay Aiken fan sites. Any one will do --, -- even the tragically misnamed and misleading Each of them offers insight into a world of unabashed dork-worship so utterly devoted it makes a Trekkie convention look as hip as the crowd at a Franz Ferdinand show. On these sites you can browse through the "Dictionary of Claybonics," which -- much like Klingon -- is a made-up language. "Claymaniacs" insert the singer's name into everyday words to alter their meanings. (Example: Anticlaymatic -- When everything seems disappointing in contrast to seeing or hearing Clay.) Once that gets boring, surf over to and try the Claykespeare's Midsummer Night's Claydream link. There you can peruse Clay-related original poetry, prose, journal entries and artwork by these nuts. Stories run the gamut from the twisted Kidnapping Clay by Clayfan#1 to the well-intentioned but unfortunately titled Number Two by Beth. If you're worried about being caught by office Internet activity tracking, don't be. Females can expect to be pitied by their higher-ups, who will let it slide. Males? Your suspected insanity will render supervisors impotent. If worse comes to worst and someone does push the issue, just tell them you're seeking help for your addiction in Alclayholics Anonymous. -- Brian McManus

Tuesday, September 7, at Reliant Arena, 8400 Kirby, 713-629-3700.


In the land of perpetual trunks poppin' and eternal tops droppin', it's refreshing to hear H-town rappers take their art form to new levels. And that doesn't mean getting a major-label deal -- it means coming hard or not coming at all. Recently, a few heads have been stepping up to the plate, turning folks out and winning Houston some respect. One such is Savvi, the self-described New Speaker of the South and a guy who's been winning fans over on the live poetry circuit for the past few years. Now that he's learned to set his rhymes to beats, his debut album, The Hueston Chronicles, has raised the bar for underground MCs.

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