Dave Miller has been involved in music for most of his life. He started at an early age playing piano, but discovered you were really cool if you played guitar. With that, he was “lead ukulele player” in his first band, and not long after, graduated to an old Silvertone acoustic guitar.
The defining moment in the start of Dave’s music career was listening to a recording of Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock playing the Star Spangled Banner and Purple Haze. He was floored. Dave would come home from school, open all the windows, and play those two songs full blast on his father’s mammoth stereo system.
“I would play those two tracks over and over. I assumed the whole world wanted to feel the same exhilaration that I did when listening to them. I later learned the neighbors were not quite as passionate. I knew that it was more than just wanting to play Jimi’s music. I HAD to. It was an expression of my emotion, as well. It still gives me chills, even now.”
As life progressed, Dave’s passion for music began to encompass many different styles. Led Zeppelin was a huge influence as was Mountain, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden, just to name a few! Then came progressive rock. Genesis, ELO, Kansas, Styx, and Yes added to the amalgamation forming the palate of creativity. As Dave’s guitar playing technique progressed, artists that became staples for Dave were the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Michael Schenker, Steve Morse, George Lynch, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmstein, Randy Rhodes, the list could go on for miles! Later music that Dave played turned toward instrumental rock and metal and leaned toward the most crushing heavy metal you could play. What Dave also discovered was that most people didn’t have his taste in music. Most people loved hearing acoustic guitar. Dave formed a trio and was hired to play for dinner groups, small clubs and parties, church functions, and weddings, as well as funerals. Later, Dave studied with world-class guitarist Tommy McClendon. Atomik Tommy M. provided an in-depth study of music, theory, and the technique required to advance farther onto a professional platform.
In recent years, Dave has been playing in bands that are either contemporary Christian for worship services and church outreaches or bands focused in more heavy rock and metal styles. For over 10 years, he played electric and acoustic guitar for Won By One, the worship band at his church. His interest has also taken him into a production setting where Dave worked with many professional acts that toured the country. Dave built stages, assembled huge concert sound systems, lighting rigs, and did video production for a broad spectrum of artists. Some of the bands were Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speed Wagon, ZZ Top, Dwight Yoakum, Peter Frampton, and Glenn Campbell.
Dave’s passion for teaching developed while instructing a few teens. He noticed that he was able to help their interest in playing guitar become a passion in learning about music. As they did so, their interest in drinking, drugs, and delinquency, was slowly replaced with a desire to spend more time practicing the guitar and increasing their skill level. With that positive influence came a change in the kids’ behavior. Today, all of Dave’s time is spent either teaching guitar to a broad variety of students or coaching young teens on how to start a band. He was instrumental in starting a new chapter of the national non-profit Guitars Not Guns program in the local area he resides in. Dave is currently the Vice President of Guitars not Guns in San Joaquin County. This program helps deserving kids earn a guitar of their own as well as provide instruction for all the basic skills needed to learn to play. Sponsors help provide the resources necessary to purchase guitars and lesson materials for the classes.
In early 2011, Dave received a call from Bruce Gaetke, drummer and lead vocalist at the time for Time Horizon, inviting him to audition for lead guitarist after the previous guitarist moved on to other projects. Dave’s previous experience had covered playing pretty much every genre of music…except progressive rock. “After listening to the amazing music written by Time Horizon and sitting in on a practice session, I was intrigued, challenged and hooked! But it wasn’t just the music. It was also the integrity, professionalism and spiritual maturity of the Time Horizon members that drew me in.”
In his “spare time,” Dave enjoys traveling with his wife, playing with their two cats, attending concerts, oh and playing and practicing guitar!
Name: Dave Miller
College: California State University, Sacramento – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Favorite Colors: Blue and Red
Favorite Non-Fiction Books: 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, and Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
Favorite Instructional Book: The Bible
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Quote: “Love one woman, many guitars.”
Favorite Artist: Zakk Wylde
Dave’s Stable of Guitars and Gear:
Gibson Les Pauls (Standards and Customs)
Ernie Ball Axis and EVH signature models
Hamer Arch top Custom
Peavey Custom Shop HP signature model
Various Jackson guitars
Ibanez 20th Anniversary RG550RXX Black
Amps and Cabs
Soldano SLO 100
Marshall JCM 2000, 50 and 100 watt heads
Marshall JMP1 Midi Preamp
Marshall Power Amp model 9060 300 watts per side
Mesa Boogie Triaxis Preamp
Mesa Boogie 2:90 Power Amp
Roccaforte High Gain 100
Mesa Rectifier 4×12 cabs w/side armor (three)
Various Marshall A and B cabs w/Celestion and EV Black Label Speakers
Soldano A and B 4×12 cabs
Various rack effects by Rocktron, and many different pedals that “get the job done”