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Once in a rare while someone genuine and meaningful comes into our lives when we least expect it. To have met and actually perform with a man like Randy Miller comes but once in a lifetime. Fortune smiled on this old rock-and-roll geezer of more than 30 years when last spring I was asked by local rock-cornerstones, Marvin Allen and John Miller, to collaborate on some original songs. They said that a guy named Randy Miller might be playing with us. I immediately KNEW who they were talking about! I responded, “You mean the guy from the Myriad?!” That little band with local roots had won a national competition sponsored by MTV, performed national tours, professionally recorded albums and were watched from one corner of our globe to the other on television. You know. The “Big Time” kind of stuff kids dream about doing when they grow up . Other than knowing the Myriad was an MTV icon, that was about all I knew of Randy at the time.
Randy showed up for our first rehearsal like a rack of firecrackers. I remember shaking his hand and humbly saying that I had admired his work and style of playing, and that I was really glad that he was there. Without hesitation Randy said, “Oh no, man! I”M the one who’s glad to be here. I have followed you guys for years – I’ve always looked up to you dudes!! You’re the great ones! I feel so lucky to be playing with all of you and I want to thank you for having me here!”
I couldn’t believe what I just saw and heard. He went down the list of each of our local brief band histories with profound respect and a genuineness not found with typical, well-meaning, fawning people. As a rock & jazz bassist for many years, it is also rare to find a fellow musician who transcends ego while playing. Randy was as respectful and genuine musically as well as interpersonally. He was the most emotive drummer I have had the great fortune to play with. The consummate Meter-Master, every single stroke from him was MUSICAL and respectful! He could tickle a cymbal to sound like a tear drop and command his kick (bass drum) to sound like an explosive jackhammer breaking your spine. And everything in between… was a well felt-out, visceral symphony.
Randy tosses a broken drum stick and never misses a beat.
We performed but one time together on an asphalt-melting day at Anderson River Park last summer. Randy, Marvin, John and I were there to celebrate Music Max’s (Music Store in Palo Cedro) second anniversary. We gave a lot of ourselves that snapshot of a special day. Randy played like a pro always musically respecting his bandmates and the audience while denying the pain of a 106-degree day.
L-R: Alan Phillips, Randy Miller, John Miller and Marvin Allen perform at Anderson River Park on July 11.
I had the unique perspective as his bassist to look down the neck of my bass to see through my lesser sweat, that Randy always seemed smile and lovingly look out toward his admiring wife and kids, falling in love with them over and over again.
I feel so blessed to have been a bandmate of Randy’s – no matter how brief. I played a lifetime in his rhythm, silent-strength, jasm, love of his dear family and his honest humility. The heart-sickening passing of Randy comes after a battle of epic proportion with a rare form of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma on Friday, Nov. 5. Randy was only 39 years old. Rest in peace my friend. Now, with all my selfish blubbering temporarily put aside, I give happy thanks for Randy!
For all who can contribute to Randy and his wonderful family, please see the link below. To Mercy Medical Center (CHW), please do more than what you can to soften the financial impact on this exceptional, loving, child of God and his family.
Photos by Linda Gutierrez
Below is an article written by Doug Van Pelt on cmspin.com and “Hard Music Magazine” about Randy’s death. “We are sad to announce the passing of Randy Miller, drummer from the band, The Myriad, on November 5, 2010. A wonderful husband, dedicated father, beloved friend and talented musician, Randy had been battling chondrosarcoma, a form of bone cancer since 2008. Randy was 39 years old.
Randall J. Miller was born February 9, 1971 in Long Beach, CA, and moved to Redding, CA in 1985. In 1997, he married Kristyn Davis and they have two children, Conner, age 11, and Gillian age 9. Randy founded and ran Metolius Construction with his business partner and friend Tommy Carlson, but in 2006, he gave into his musical passions and talents, and began playing drums for the band The Myriad. Known for his quiet demeanor and contagious smile, Randy transformed into a musical force when he sat behind the drums. The Myriad became more of a brotherhood than a band, with Randy the constant, steadily keeping the whole group in time. While we know Randy was exceptionally talented, we will most miss his gentle ability to make everyone feel loved and appreciated.
“Randy was a rare gem. A totally humble man, but an amazing drummer and confident musician who owned his craft. He was a man who loved Jesus, his family, and any chance he could get to play the drums.” – Tim Taber, Floodgate Records.
“Randy breathed life into everyone around him all the way until the very end. People would come to the hospital to visit Randy and encourage him but quickly found out the visit would be quite the opposite. He began to pour out words of encouragement and tell people to do everything that’s in their heart. He saw things in people that no one else recognized and his words of life ignited fires that could not be put out. He has changed my life and most of the people I know. Randy was a great man.”– Jeremy Edwardson, vocalist from The Myriad.
“Randy never had anything handed to him. He faced challenges throughout his life that would make most buckle. I am honored to have seen how a Godly man lives; with strength, kindness, compassion, and heart. Selfishly I will miss him always; this world will be emptier without him. But I believe with everything in me that heaven will be richer with my friend there.” -Steven Tracy, guitarist from The Myriad.
Two weeks ago, band members, past and present, as well as dear friends gathered to say goodbye to Randy. During the afternoon, Randy said something that seems to sum up his life:
“I’ve been thinking about my life lately and how I’ve never really been a wealthy man, especially after the past 2 years of medical bills. We’re renting our house and we don’t have much. But you know, somehow I just feel so rich. I have an amazing family, and the best job ever. I just feel so rich. Somewhere that’s gotta mean something. Somewhere we all have a cosmic currency.”
In lieu of flowers, friends request that donations be made to cover medical and funeral expenses. Like many musicians, the Millers did not have health or life insurance. Donations can be made at by going to the Online Giving section at http://thestirring.org and clicking on the Mercy Fund designated for the Miller Family. All donations are tax deductible.
We are thankful for your thoughts and prayers for Randy’s friends and family. He will be dearly missed.
Alan Ernesto Phillips is a proud son of Shasta County, a proud father of two daughters, and a local musician. He is a parenting educator, chemical-dependency counselor, victim-awareness counselor and developmental-asset builder and trainer. He also is a Clio and Telly award-winning filmmaker who produced and directed political campaigns for congressmen, senators, governors and one president (Ronald Reagan). His clients also included Coca-Cola, NIKE, CBS News and NOVA documentaries. He is a current board member and public affairs officer for the Northern California Hispanic Latino Coalition.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.