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Episode 71

Fathers, Sons & Motown featuring Mark Arthur Miller

Episode  71
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Singer/Actor/Tennis Player Mark Arthur Miller was the only white boy growing up in his south side Chicago neighborhood, only to discover that his estranged father, Ron Miller was the only white songwriter at Motown. The two reconnected when Mark was 16 and were able to share 20 years of connection, forgiveness and love. Mark has fashioned his story into a musical stage show that audiences are finding as unique as it is universal. Mark is in-studio to talk all about it. Plus Fritz and Weezy are recommending the film Spencer, the book into limited series, One of Us is Lying and with an assist from engineer, Mason Brown, the Japanese film, Shoplifters.

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Fritz Coleman  (00:00):

Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman

Louise Palanker (00:06):

And I'm Louise Palanker.

Fritz Coleman (00:07):

We want you to use the Media Path podcast as your guide to pastimes that give your life meaning like movies and books and television and theater experiences, and streaming and broadcast and cable. And then we want you to hang out with us and meet very cool guests like today's Mark Arthur Miller, an r and b singer, with a great new live show, an interesting family story. He is the son of the first white staff writer at Motown, and his greatest credit is he's my friend. Ah, and I, you know, and I can't wait for you to meet him in just a couple of seconds. And wheezy.

Louise Palanker (00:49):

I want that credit.

Fritz Coleman (00:50):

Oh, you, you've

Louise Palanker (00:51):

Got, what do I have to do to earn,

Fritz Coleman (00:52):

I don't have to say it with you though, <laugh>. We get great

Louise Palanker (00:54):

Reviews. Oh, we get great reviews. This one comes from Kit and it says, the title is the Comedic Intensity of a thousand Sons.

Fritz Coleman (01:02):


Louise Palanker (01:02):

I know, it, it's rather poetic If Hyperbolic, Louise and Fritz are a riot to listen to. The guests are great. The recommendations are always excellent. And Louise and Fritz go together like PB and Jay. If PB and Jay were two legends in the broadcasting arena, seriously give it a listen. It sounds delicious, man. When you say it that way.

Fritz Coleman (01:22):

<laugh>, uh, you know, with my delicate self-esteem, that was a really good review. Thank

Louise Palanker (01:27):

You. And also palate, cuz those are one of the two things that you will eat.

Fritz Coleman (01:30):

The title of this next one is Delightful in All Ways. Oh my gosh. Burns and Allen Holmes and Watson Peanut Butter and Jelly. Wow. The chemistry we must really come off like peanut butter and jelly. What is the chemistry between Fritz and Louise is fun and charming with their smart observations and takes on a variety of interesting topics. Lanker and Coleman create the appointment podcast programming with no appointment needed. Well, we don't know you, but we love you. Thank you so much. Yeah, that

Louise Palanker (02:00):

Is awesome. And now Fritz, see I'm, I'm a little bit envious of you and also a little bit nervous because you've been going to the movies like in person.

Fritz Coleman (02:08):

I know. I

Louise Palanker (02:09):

Have. And who sits? Does someone sit like right next to you?

Fritz Coleman (02:12):

No, I've ne I don't go to movies where a lot of people are there. Right. I've been to the movies where I'm the only person in there, the Langley Theater. I, and that, that, to me, that's the coolest experience. It's like the whole thing is for my benefit.

Louise Palanker (02:23):

Okay. So you went to see what?

Fritz Coleman (02:25):

I went to see Spencer. And this is only in theaters. It's not in might stream soon, but not yet. It's at the Laley. I went to the one in NoHo. This is a very surreal view of the life of Lady Die. It's kind of a, a reinterpretation of her life, which has probably already been over scrutinized. The Crown, for instance, is a wonderful factual look at her life. This movie Spencer focuses on a brief holiday moment when her marriage to Prince Charles had already peaked and was in free fall. It's her point of view showing how she suffered physically and emotionally from the family Tension. This re-imagining is what took place during one Christmas at the Queen's Estate Memorial. The whole point of this movie is to amplify and make you feel her discomfort, her eating disorder, her intense loneliness, her disconnectedness from the rest of the Windsor family. They use surreal flashbacks and dream sequences. One which is really cool involves Anne Bolin, who was the woman that was married to Henry VII and got beheaded. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and there's an interesting parallel in the fear of both of these women. Cause I think Lady Di thought that would be the end game if things didn't go well with Charles. Oh my goodness. And, uh, it, it's just a, it's a dream sequence that she has. Oh,

Louise Palanker (03:47):


Fritz Coleman (03:48):

But what I thought was the most powerful aspect of the movie was the cold, precise, and emotionless daily life of the royal family. It's e every person is, is trapped in their own identity as a royal. It's the same feeling you get when you watch The Crown. The poor Windsors are solitary lonely characters. One of the warm spots in the film is Diana's relationship with Harry and William, her sons. They are her saving grace and she is theirs really convincing acting by Kirsten Stewart. Really? I was surprised at how she really painted a picture of this woman and a really lovely turn by a woman. I just love Sally Hawkins as Maggie, a member of Diana's staff and the one person she has a safe relationship with. You wouldn't want this to be your only source material to get you, uh, into the world of Diana, but it's a great

Louise Palanker (04:41):

Addition. So in what ways is it more or differently revealing than the Crown?

Fritz Coleman (04:45):

It's, it's more surreal. It, you, you, you, you find yourself breathing heavily for this woman about halfway through the movie. It's depressing because they really go under her bulimia. They really go under the way she's rejected by the royal family and the cold reaction of everybody in the family, including Charles to her. And, but, but I think that's the point. The guy that directed this movie is the guy that did Jackie with, uh, what's her name? Oh, right. Eerie movie. It was, it was eerie, but but it put you in the head of Jackie and the emotional pain that she went through. And this is the same journey for, uh, Diana. I, I I thought it was great. Yeah.

Louise Palanker (05:23):

Yeah. I look forward to seeing that. So this is different Fritz, but you know how I do enjoy my book into movie and series experiences. And so here comes one and it's, uh, the book is One of Us is Lying. It's a Ya title by Karen McManus. It's a New York Times bestseller named one of the 10 best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, buzzfeed and Pop Crush. The story is sort of the Breakfast Club meets Clue. You've got the jock, the nerd, the bad boy, the pretty Girl, and the outcast in detention together. One of them dies, they're surviving four are now suspects. Okay. So on Monday, Simon died, but Simon hosted a spill all gossip site. And on Tuesday he had planned to post Juicy Reveals about all four of the classmates who joined him in detention, which gives each of them both motive and opportunity. The story raises the question, how far would each of us go to protect our secrets? The book is now a streaming series on Peacock, either the best or the worst streaming service name ever. It contains the words P and cock in its title <laugh>, but okay.

Fritz Coleman (06:28):

Those NBC people

Louise Palanker (06:29):

Are smart. Yes. The series takes some twists away from the book, which for me is part of the fun of watching. And while the kids look to be closer to 30 than 17, they're acting and it's a story. So Enjoy. One of us is Lying is on Peacock. The book is by Karen McManus, and you can find it everywhere you find books.

Fritz Coleman (06:49):

Sounds cool. I can't wait for the world to hear from Mason. Is this your first time talking on our show?

Louise Palanker (06:55):

No, he has talked before, because remember he asked Ruth Mendelson questions about composing

Fritz Coleman (06:59):

Oh, oh, oh. Oh. That's, that's true. Well, Mason is our fantastic engineer. He's the only person that understands how all this crap works. And now we're gonna see if he can walk and shoot gum At the same time. He's gonna run the show <laugh>, and then he is gonna discuss one of his favorite movies, which is also a favorite movie of many people called Shoplifting or Shoplifters

Louise Palanker (07:18):


Fritz Coleman (07:19):

And you, you, you, you were so excited about this. You sent us an email about this movie wanting to describe it, and said, you wouldn't come to work unless we allowed you to describe

Louise Palanker (07:27):

Hostage situation.

Mason (07:28):

I quit and he didn't let me talk about it. No. Um, yeah, shoplifters really great film. Japanese from 2017. It's a family melodrama, but the longer it goes on, the more you find out, it might not be just that. Um, but really I think the best quality of this one, as y'all were talking about earlier, is just the acting and directing is so phenomenal. Um, but I think my favorite element of it is just this slow burn that it has where it's, uh, so subtly heartbreaking. It's not in your face about it. And I didn't even realize how heartbreaking it was until like 20 minutes after it was over. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know what I mean? It's one of those that really stays with you after the credits roll.

Louise Palanker (08:09):

Yeah. It's a movie about how kindness, maybe a more important quality than obeying the law <laugh>. Like, because these people are connected in a way that isn't clear to you, you know, that they live together. There's just so much kindness. They're so kind to each other and they live like, like barely subsistence existence in Japan. And then as it goes on, you find out how they're connected to each other and, uh, it, I think Mason summarized it best with the wind. Heartbreaking.

Fritz Coleman (08:38):

Yeah. And, and I, I, the two things I took away from it are that you, you find family anywhere. These people were not blood relatives, but they created a family out of the poverty in this particular part of Japan. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> also an interesting thing was the morality in the movie, uh, shoplifting is illegal, but they trick themselves into thinking what they were doing is okay. Cuz if you don't steal it from somebody after they have purchased it, then it's not bad If you steal it from a store, it's not an amoral act.

Louise Palanker (09:07):

Well, I think that's what the,

Fritz Coleman (09:08):

It's a redistribution of wealth.

Louise Palanker (09:10):

<laugh>. Yes. That's what the father, that's how the father is explaining it to the, to the child. But he, as he gets a little bit older, he comes to kind of accept his own version of morality as we all do, as we travel through life in terms of like what we're comfortable doing. And so the movie reaches a tipping point. And you saw the movie too, right? Mark Miller? I loved

Mark Arthur Miller  (09:28):

It. Yeah. I, the fascinating. But I see a lot of Japanese movie and it did have a similar flavor and a morality and, and a darkness to it that the movie that won the Oscar a couple years ago. Um, the Korean movie. Yeah, the Korean movie. Yeah. So it did have, it did have that same sort of feel that it sort of creeps up on you and you don't know whether they're good people, evil people or somewhere in between <affirmative>, you know? But I, I loved it. So

Fritz Coleman (09:54):

That's a good comparison. Let me introduce you so people don't think you're just an interloper. Oh.

Mark Arthur Miller  (09:57):

But yeah, I just walked in. Um,

Fritz Coleman (09:59):

I'm so happy to have the House was open. Have this guy with us <laugh> the

Louise Palanker (10:02):

House was open. <laugh>, you need to lock your

Mark Arthur Miller  (10:04):

Door. And I'm a shoplifter <laugh> <laugh>.

Fritz Coleman (10:08):

He's an r and b singer. His most recent album is Soul Searching That dropped in 2018. My favorite aspect of this album is his treatment of some of the iconic Motown hits. He blends them together and makes Medleys out of them. And, and he's wonderful. He's an actor as well. He was a nationally ranked tennis player at one time. And you understand his rhythm and blues DNA when you learn that his father, Ron Miller, was the first white staff writer at Motown. And it gives me goosebumps to read the hits his father wrote for Stevie Wonder for Once in my life. Are You kidding me? A Place in the Sun, which is one of the iconic songs of the Civil rights movement. That, that that song, it's

Louise Palanker (10:53):

Also maybe the best song from that period. Oh my

Fritz Coleman (10:55):

God. In opinion. Seriously? Yesterday. Me, yesterday. You yesterday. Heaven help us all. He also wrote Touch Me in the Morning, the Diana Ross Hit and many others. I'm happy to have my friend Mark Arthur Miller. Thanks for driving to Sherman Oaks.

Mark Arthur Miller  (11:08):

Oh yeah. No, I just walked actually

Fritz Coleman (11:10):

<laugh>, uh, um, I know you

Mark Arthur Miller  (11:12):

Don't live, I don't live that

Louise Palanker (11:13):

Far. Well, we are on a hill, so,

Fritz Coleman (11:14):

Well, you and I, uh, connected because of our love of r and b music. My attraction was more mystical because I grew up in the lily white suburbs of Philadelphia. There was no reason for me to be as attracted to r and b as I was.

Louise Palanker (11:30):

Chris, you don't know for sure that your father wasn't a soul.

Fritz Coleman (11:33):

Yeah. Now, if you met my father, there would be no tracing back. Are

Louise Palanker (11:37):

Are we sure he's your

Fritz Coleman (11:38):

Father? Well, that's a good

Mark Arthur Miller  (11:39):

Point. That's, that's

Fritz Coleman (11:40):

The biggest, anyway, I had limited exposure to African Americans. Mark, however, grew up in the south side of Chicago where most of your friends were

Mark Arthur Miller  (11:49):

Black. No, no. All of my friends were black

Fritz Coleman (11:52):

<laugh>. You'd be the only white kid doing the front porch harmonies in the neighborhood, which is absolutely where you learned your trust. Talk about that period in Southside Chicago, late fifties, early sixties. Yeah. And, uh, what it was like,

Mark Arthur Miller  (12:05):

Uh, it, I I just feel blessed that I sort of had that different upbringing. Um, my father, you know, I, I talk about this in the show. I decided to do a show based on my father's work and songs that I wrote and telling this story. And the, the thing that I always find most interesting about the story is the correlation between, I didn't see my dad for 10 years, uh, from six to 16. He was the only white writer at that point for Motown Records. And I was the only kid living in a black neighborhood in Chicago. My grand, I was living with my grandparents and they were the last white family. Uh, it was during white flight as they called it. And everyone took off. And, um, so I grew up with soul music trying to convince my friends that the name on the record was my dad, <laugh>. They didn't believe me. <laugh>, that's not your dad made you to write that record

Fritz Coleman (12:57):

<laugh> talk about the first time you heard one of your dad's songs on the radio and you're running around the neighborhood going, oh

Mark Arthur Miller  (13:02):

My god. Yeah. No, you know, I, I found out because someone had seen his name on a record, you know, and I wasn't even sure that he was writing or, you know, I was probably eight years old or something like that. And, uh, I got the 45 and just raced to my best friend's house and said, my dad, look at my dad wrote this. That's his name. And you know, he, I think he jokingly told me that I didn't know who my real father was. Anyway, <laugh>. But, but, um, you

Louise Palanker (13:26):

Know, neither those Fritz, it turns out.

Mark Arthur Miller  (13:28):

Yeah. Yeah. Neither did

Fritz Coleman (13:29):

Fritz. We have the same father. I can feel. Exactly.

Louise Palanker (13:32):

You guys.

Mark Arthur Miller  (13:32):

So, yeah. So it was, it was, it was different. You know, I mean, as time went on, um, my friends started to realize that that actually was my dad, even though he was not in my life. He was living in Detroit. And I literally didn't see him from the time I was six to 16. And then my sister sort of called Motown looking for him and, and tried to get in touch with him and, uh, left our home number cuz he wasn't there. And then he actually called us back.

Louise Palanker (14:02):

So he, you used the word estranged in your, in your biomaterial that your dad was estranged from you. But the way that I interpret dad, clearly, since you're a child, is he's estranged from your mom. He's not probably estranged. He didn't, you didn't piss him off. He's a

Mark Arthur Miller  (14:15):

Stranger. No. Right. But I didn't, but, but, you know, unfortunately not to, you know, my dad got another family and didn't, didn't see, he didn't do the work. He didn't see us, he didn't do the work. He didn't help support, he didn't, you know, so there was no reason for me to actually want to, you know, my mother didn't have a lot of great things to say about him. So, but you know, like any kid, you still, there was always,

Fritz Coleman (14:39):

That stuff's a

Mark Arthur Miller  (14:40):

Boy, especially. Yeah. Any boy

Fritz Coleman (14:41):

Took boys right outta my

Mark Arthur Miller  (14:42):

Mouth. Yeah. Any boy, you wanna know who your father is. And plus, to be honest, I knew my love for music and my love for acting. I mean, I, at six years old, I walked into the living room and made a grand announcement to everyone in the house that I was going to be a professional athlete and a performer. And then that's exactly what I did for the rest of my life. So I knew that bloodline sort of, I felt it, you know, I felt that there was something about my dad that was the same in me. So, you know, knowing that he was writing these records, I always knew that I was gonna figure out how to get in touch with him. And he, you know, he called us back and then eight months after he called us, we were out in Los Angeles living with him. So it happened

Fritz Coleman (15:25):

That way. Let, lemme just get some backstory. Yeah. Before he went to Motown and he was still living in Chicago. Was he a composer? Was he writing music for other people or what?

Mark Arthur Miller  (15:34):

Well, no, he, he wrote music. Um, he wrote stories. He was one of the first people at Second City with, uh, Brock Peters and Avery Shiver, who were close friends. Um, but he was also trying to support, you know, two kids. And so he was selling washing machines at Polk Brothers. And I think, you know, when I look at it, um, I don't think he would've been a writer and, and done all that he did in music had he stayed with my mom.

Louise Palanker (16:03):

Oh, wow. So what age were you when he left? And did you learn more about his relationship with your mom that made it so that the result was, you guys had no contact with your dad?

Mark Arthur Miller  (16:14):

Yeah, there was a lot of d things. My dad was sort of, you know, crazy. He went to married someone else, had other, other kids. Uh, I, I don't think he wanted to look back, but I think he always, you know, I, like I said, I saw him on and off from the, from two, just like six mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and he would visit and then all of a sudden nothing for 10 years. And I remember having one other phone call with him somewhere in that 10 year period, but nothing came of that. And then when we were older and was 16, then he came out and we met him at the airport. And, and, uh, you know, it was, I gave him a big hug. He gave me a big hug back. Almost like we had seen each other a few days earlier, but we hadn't seen each other in 10

Fritz Coleman (16:54):

Years. And, and, and so when, when you reconnected with him, then that just coincided with Motowns move to LA from Detroit.

Mark Arthur Miller  (17:01):

He had already gone to la. Oh,

Fritz Coleman (17:02):


Mark Arthur Miller  (17:02):

So they had, they're already gone because I met, I met him back up in, in, uh, 73. What

Louise Palanker (17:07):

Year did you go to la?

Mark Arthur Miller  (17:09):

I went to LA in 74.

Louise Palanker (17:11):

Now Motown. Did you do, do I look vaguely familiar at all?

Mark Arthur Miller  (17:15):


Louise Palanker (17:16):

A little bit. Because I worked in that building from 1982 to like,

Fritz Coleman (17:21):

I don't know, 80, the Motown building in

Mark Arthur Miller  (17:22):

Hollywood. Yeah. On Sunset. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 82 I wasn't around. Yeah. Yeah. And I were already traveling and going back to New York and Chicago and all in doing the rest of my life, you know, but, but

Fritz Coleman (17:34):

In that building mark, in that building, you rubbed elbows with everybody, Marvin Gaye, everybody Smokey, always.

Mark Arthur Miller  (17:39):

And in the studio that was on, um, you know, uh, the studio behind Trader Joe's in, uh, by the park. Yes. Um, um, what's the Bif Formosa down the, the, you know, uh, what's the street I'm thinking <laugh>. Um, that's where the Motown studios were, as far as where they recorded. So I met everyone in this studio. I mean,

Louise Palanker (17:56):

So when we were at Premier, if somebody pressed a Motown button, cuz I wasn't gonna press it, but if there, if someone pressed a Motown button, you know, doors open, I'm always like, all right, we're smokey. You know, like, cuz sometimes you'd see somebody. Yeah, yeah. Oh, of course. It was exciting when the doors open.

Mark Arthur Miller  (18:12):

Oh, well, for me, because, you know, I've lit, I literally had singing groups on the south side of Chicago that I was in, and I was the only white guy in the singing group. So, you know, when I met Smokey and Stevie and all those guys for the first time, I, I was, you know, I just, you know, were

Fritz Coleman (18:27):

Idols. And and your dad was there at the pivotal time. Holland, Dozier Holland. These guys are like the Mount Rushmore of songwriters and, uh, Fuqua was there and Yeah. And uh, what was the other guy? There's another guy. And, and so how did your dad get along being the only

Mark Arthur Miller  (18:48):

They loved my dad. My, my dad. They loved him. I mean, you know, he, first of all, my dad would fill up any room like I, I talk about in the show. He, he had such charisma that he'd make everyone laugh. He'd tell inappropriate jokes. Everyone was okay with it. He was a womanizer to the ump teeth degree. Sounds like it. Um, you know, he was, he was crazy. He had a lot of, he had a lot of demons and a lot of talent. But he was fun to be around. You know, he wasn't fun to, you know, try and get him out of trouble cuz he got into trouble a lot. He did have a gambling addiction and that ruined a big part of his life and a big part of his royalties and a big part of my royalties.

Fritz Coleman (19:28):

But that's the great part about your live show. Your live show is r and b and you do some of your dad's songs, but you do your own songs. And that what, what everybody that sees that show, and I saw the most recent manifestation of it at the El Port Child Theater in North Hollywood, is fantastic. Directed by who? The famous Broadway tour.

Mark Arthur Miller  (19:45):

Glen. Glen Castell.

Fritz Coleman (19:46):

Glen Castell. And, uh, the is fantastic because your father went through a lot. I mean, he lost the rights to all of his movies because of his, his songs. Yeah. Not his movies, his songs. Yeah. But, but all of this is corrected in the third act of your show with reestablishing his relationship with you and then being a partner of yours, allowing you to do his demos and stuff for it. Oh yeah. It really ends on a great, like, uh, it warmed my heart to see how you were able to work your way back into his life and he

Mark Arthur Miller  (20:18):

Into yours. Yeah. I think it's one of people come out of the show and they <laugh> and they're, they, you know, I have people coming up to me crying saying, I just, I just called my dad. I just texted my dad, told them I loved him. You know, so that's the most rewarding part of the show, truthfully, is, is that there's something about my story that everyone has with a parent. It's maybe not the exact circumstances, but everyone has that time with their parents where it could have gone really bad and never existed again. Or could have have been real sour or, or ours ended where we were like just great friends and bu buddies. You know, I wouldn't say he was at all times the best father because there was so much times that he wasn't around. And he had so many demons that, you know, whether I went to school or not, or had discipline or not, he wasn't the best at any of that. So, uh, he was so much fun. But he, he really believed in my talent and, and that helped a lot, you know, for all the years that he wasn't around. The fact that he was so positive about what I did and, and, and my singing and my writing and things like that really sort of made the end of our relationship before he passed some of the best times ever. I mean, it was really terrific.

Fritz Coleman (21:30):

Yeah. Did he reestablish his relationship with your sister and your mom

Mark Arthur Miller  (21:35):

Or? No, my sister. Yeah. Yeah. My sister, of course. Cuz she came out to live with us out here. We both came out. Uh, my mom never <laugh>. No, they weren't gonna ever, you know, I mean, what

Louise Palanker (21:46):

Was your mom comfortable with you reconnecting with him?

Mark Arthur Miller  (21:49):

No, no. Um, I talk a little bit about the show. She finally realized that I had to go, you know what I mean? I mean, I had to go see what it was. I mean, all she had to say because honestly, my dad didn't do right by her in the, in the normal way. I mean, they did get divorced, it didn't, and, but, you know, he wasn't always there for support for us and things. And that made things difficult. So I think there was a lot that she didn't wanna forget mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, as a kid it's different. But as a kid you also, like I said before, you also start to realize that some couples aren't meant to be together based on what they want out of life and what they think normal life should be. My li dad was never gonna have a normal nine to five job life. That just wasn't who he was. And consequently, that's never been who I am either. So I could never have done that. So I'm, I'm a lot like him that way, you know?

Fritz Coleman (22:42):

Did you hang out with your dad when he was working at Motown? What was that vibe like? Oh,

Mark Arthur Miller  (22:45):

The best. That was, that was the best. I mean, I'd go and hang out in the studio with him for days because he would go back then they had money to burn mm-hmm. <affirmative> in the studios. They just threw money at everything, you know, which they don't do anymore. And he would redo songs and remix them and remix them and re until you, it was, you know, and I'd be in the studio the whole time. Just So

Louise Palanker (23:09):

He was producing

Mark Arthur Miller  (23:09):

Too. Yeah, he was producing too.

Louise Palanker (23:10):

And he wrote lyrics and music.

Mark Arthur Miller  (23:12):

Always lyrics. Sometimes both. Okay. Yeah. But Mo but most of the time, always lyrics,

Fritz Coleman (23:17):

Stevie Wonder must have loved his talent cuz Oh,

Mark Arthur Miller  (23:20):

They were, they were so close,

Fritz Coleman (23:21):

My gosh. They were, they were so close. Really the best songs Stevie did, in my opinion, before songs in the Key of Life, that era. Yeah. All these 1960s hits were his best

Mark Arthur Miller  (23:29):

Records. Well, they did a radio, uh, uh, show with about seven, eight parts, all about Stevie Wonder some years back. And they had my dad on, and my dad literally says he


Taught Stevie how to write <laugh>. Wow. I mean, flat out says it now. I don't think Stevie would agree with that,


But my dad says he, I did. I taught him how to write. He was writing a horse,

Fritz Coleman (23:47):

But Stevie played like 15 instruments.

Mark Arthur Miller  (23:49):

Yeah. I was, Stevie was a genius, but I remember the first time the meeting and Stevie for the first time was amazing because he was in the studio before us and we were waiting to get in. His session was ending. My dad was gonna be in, and Stevie was running a little longer and I had never met him. And my dad said, come on, let's go meet Stevie. And I'm like, I'm gonna meet Stevie one. And I just got out to la So we went in there and they were listening to the track that the last track that they had were working on. And everybody's, you know, just groove into the thing inside the studio and Stevie Stevie's there. And, uh, my dad walks up to Stevie from behind and puts his hands over his eyes, <laugh>. And he says, guess who motherfucker. <laugh> <laugh>.


And that's was, and then for the next 30 minutes, all they did was those type of bits. So Stevie would see my know, my dad was next to him, and he'd bump into him and he'd say, would you watch where you're going to my dad to? And, and every time they saw each other, that was the rapport that they had. But the amazing thing about this is he met my sister and I that day in the studio. Two months later, there was a Motown party at Yamashiro up on the hill, and everybody's on the dance floor dancing. And he's got a Stevie's got his baby in his arms dancing, would look, you know, Yolanda, I think it was Alanda and just a baby in his arms and just dancing with her on the floor. And it was outside. And my sister Julie and I go on the dance floor to dance. And we just said, I, we probably said hello Mr. Wonder or something like that, you know, I didn't even think we said Stevie, but we said two words, maybe three words. And he went, mark, Julie. Wow. And I was like, what is your dad here? He knew our voice. He admit us one time. Wow.

Fritz Coleman (25:41):

Pretty amazing. Yeah. That really is. Did you see Hitsville USA on Showtime? The documentary? Yeah. I watched it like five times. Yeah. It was so good. <laugh>. It was so,

Mark Arthur Miller  (25:50):

Oh, absolutely.

Fritz Coleman (25:51):

Yeah. And, uh, I was trying to plug your dad into the Motown environment, but, but it sounds to me like Barry Gordy was very progressive. I mean, he had that, the white guy who was his main sales guy that would go out and get the records played. So he was not racist at all, even though he wanted it to be an African-American enterprise. Yeah. He still had white people in there doing stuff like before that was even accepted.

Mark Arthur Miller  (26:15):

Oh, yeah. Well, you know, he, he got guys who,

Fritz Coleman (26:18):

He was a smart, he

Mark Arthur Miller  (26:19):

Got guys who thought knew how to handle money <laugh>. So, yeah. You know, and yeah, I mean, I don't, I think Barry wanted to be successful and that meant whoever he thought was best for the, you know, and Barry didn't make, you know, listen, there's a lot of horror stories about, about Barry and, and, you know, my dad and Barry loved each other and then at times hated each other. You know, like a lot of people, when the boss is making decisions, he's not always making decisions that you feel are in your best interest. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he for Once in my life, which to me is one of the greatest songs ever written. Absolutely. You know, that was recorded by Stevie and in a drawer for a year.

Fritz Coleman (26:58):

Oh wow. Oh wow.

Mark Arthur Miller  (26:59):

You know, everybody thought it was a hit, except one person who was that one person,

Fritz Coleman (27:03):


Mark Arthur Miller  (27:03):

Gordy Barry didn't think it was a hit. And finally Suzanne de Pass and a lot of other people said, Barry, this is

Fritz Coleman (27:09):

A hit. Yeah. That I, I one my, my favorite scenes in Hitsville, I, I don't know if he did this when your dad was working there, but he would gather everybody in the office and they'd play a song and everybody got to vote on whether they thought it was a hit and nobody thought my girl was gonna be a hit. No.

Mark Arthur Miller  (27:24):

That happened to a lot of songs. Yeah. Unbelievable. Yeah. But I don't know, when you hear My Girl now. Right. Would you ever think that that wasn't a hit? Like the, like if, if from the first guitar strumming, you'd go, okay, I'll buy that record.

Louise Palanker (27:37):

Yeah. I can remember being at a, a radio event and the Temptations were, were the act on stage. I think it was just Melvin and Otis. I'm not sure who, who else was in there, but you know, like you see young guy, young guy, like, oh, Melvin, okay. <laugh>. But I, I, I was, I was with a friend of mine from Premiere and he said, look around. He said, there's not one person here who's not smiling. I mean, that, that's Wow. The reaction. You cannot hear that music and not just be smiling. Absolutely. It just brings out the light in everyone.

Fritz Coleman (28:10):

I, I said this in the piece I wrote about race that you heard.

Mark Arthur Miller  (28:13):

Oh, I love, which I love,

Fritz Coleman (28:14):

By the way, this is true about, about my family. My parents were not overt racist. And I, and I, I try to draw the line very specifically in, in, in my writing in that they, they were never exposed to African American people, so they didn't know how they felt. So they didn't like, you know, young r and b rock and roll that I snuck in the house and played in the basement, but Motown music and some of it was getting to see how slick and polished and non-threatening they were when they performed on the Ed Sullivan show and these other topics,

Mark Arthur Miller  (28:49):

Which Barry did on purpose.

Fritz Coleman (28:49):

Yes. Oh yeah. No, it was brilliant. And, and then that, I always said that that music, the Motown music was a bridge between my interests and my parents' interests when I was growing up. It was the one thing, it, it didn't happen right away, but after a while it sort of warmed up our relationship and their appreciation of what I appreciated. So it was Motown,

Louise Palanker (29:11):

It was the first industry that was sold where the product was sold to white people. Like, you know? Yes. Across the board there were other black owned industries like Fuller Brush. Yeah. Where when white people found out it was black owned, they started to boycott it. But he went, Barry went straight to kids thinking kids aren't gonna care. Yeah. And he, he got that right down the middle.

Mark Arthur Miller  (29:31):

Plus Barry, you know, Barry was quality. Yeah. You know, so the songs were written, uh, you know, like some of the other people who the more southern soul was a little harder and a little more mm-hmm. <affirmative> gritty. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it, and it didn't stacks. Yeah. It didn't get across quite as simple. It wasn't as Poppy mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, and it, and it seemed

Fritz Coleman (29:51):

So didn't have strings and

Mark Arthur Miller  (29:52):

Orchestrations. Yeah, exactly. And it, and it seemed, you know, it didn't have the choreography and stuff that was sort of, I guess to white people more white, you

Louise Palanker (30:01):

Know? Yeah. Maybe. But I think also it was like Barry's attitude was, was we are ambassadors. This is the civil rights movement. We're in it, we're ambassadors. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And he understood his role in history.

Mark Arthur Miller  (30:14):

That's the thing about it. He listen, he, you know, all geniuses have their, you know, goods and bad, but he was a genius for what he saw in the future. You know, how he copied it from, you know, the, the car manufacturers, you know, like the assembly line thing. Yes. He, that's how he worked there. And he said, this is how it works and this is how it can work with music, you know. And it did. I mean, I listened to Motown, you know, I, music always comes up in my car and I u I if I bought a specific cd, I'll listen to that for a while, but I have it un shuffle all the time. And there's so much Motown music on my thing that it comes up every day. I'm listening to a Motown Town song along with brand new stuff that I've just brought <laugh> Yeah. By pop artists of today, or jazz or whatever. And I listen to it. I, in reference to all the other stuff I've just heard, like the last 10 or 12 songs of a sudden I go, this is still a hit. Right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is still a hit song. Yeah,

Fritz Coleman (31:11):

Absolutely. What drives me nuts is there's no serious XM Motown channel.

Mark Arthur Miller  (31:15):

No. They're all gone. That

Fritz Coleman (31:17):

Dr. I don't know. They have an r and b channel, channel 49. And I listen to it all the time, Soulsville or whatever it's called. Yeah. Why is it, it, I bet it has something to do with rights because the Beatles did not release their music to Sirius xm, which I listen to all the time, uh, until way late in the program, like over the last five or six years.

Mark Arthur Miller  (31:35):

Oh, speaking of the Beatles, I just heard there's a great documentary coming out in like two weeks or something.

Fritz Coleman (31:41):

I haven't heard about it.

Mark Arthur Miller  (31:43):

I'll be honest. We just found about it last night.

Fritz Coleman (31:45):

But speaking of documentaries, they had Hitsville usa they had the Funk Brothers standing in the shadows of Motown, which was fantastic to learn about that. I think there ought to be a documentary about the writers, Holland, Doja Holland, all those people. Smokey, you know, all the people that wrote those hits and how they did them and the collaboration and everything.

Mark Arthur Miller  (32:04):

Yeah. I, you know, I, I always, maybe it's just cuz of my dad, but I, I would, part of the reason I love doing the show is that, you know, if you go on YouTube and look at some of the songs my dad wrote mm-hmm. <affirmative> that were done by Stevie or some other people, and you look at the comments section, the comments section is full of oh, God's one of Stevie's best lyrics that he ever wrote. <laugh> Oh.

Louise Palanker (32:26):

You know, because he became a writer. People think that throughout his,

Mark Arthur Miller  (32:29):

He wrote exactly think that everything was written by, and that's, writers forget just my dad. There's a lot of writers who just don't, aren't known. I mean, no one knows that they don't get their

Fritz Coleman (32:40):

Props way. He, this should be your le writers next

Mark Arthur Miller  (32:42):

Document, performers and singers, you know, then, then obviously they do, but yeah,

Fritz Coleman (32:46):

You should, this should be your next documentary. Yeah. Like,

Louise Palanker (32:48):

I need to spend another eight acres

Fritz Coleman (32:50):


Louise Palanker (32:50):

Down. Right. I

Mark Arthur Miller  (32:51):


Fritz Coleman (32:52):

Exactly. I know. That was fun. Yeah. Yeah. That's a hard thing. But

Mark Arthur Miller  (32:56):


Louise Palanker (32:56):

So I wanna know, cuz you talked about how therapeutic it was to create your show. It sounds like you were, throughout your teenage adult life, you were, you were dealing with these feelings and you were processing your childhood and making it make sense by having this parallel with your dad. Like, I'm the only white kid here. He's the only white kid there. You know, like we're, we get each other. But like, how did actually creating a show, what did you learn about yourself and your relationship through the creation of that show?

Mark Arthur Miller  (33:28):

Hmm. Wow.

Fritz Coleman (33:29):

She's, why you're

Mark Arthur Miller  (33:30):

Thinking about she She's good. I

Fritz Coleman (33:31):

She's really good. Let, let me, because I've seen the most recent 

show tell you sort of answer your question for him. Pretend

Louise Palanker (33:38):

You're not here, mark.

Fritz Coleman (33:39):

No, uh, no. This is gonna be a thinly veiled compliment. But, uh, but um, in the show he, he salutes his dad, but the arc of the show is by the end of the show, he's an individual talent that has got the light shining on him now, which is a really wonderful thing. So he's not living in the shadow of his dad. He took his dad's talent, he took his dad's partnership and became his own person. Cuz he wrote a lot of these songs in soul searching, uh, his, his album from 2018. It's the same thing. So it's really a cool passage that all sons of fathers, whether they've become successful at whatever they do or not, sort of your mission as a son is to step out from under the shadow of your father and establish your own identity on the planet.

Mark Arthur Miller  (34:28):

I I don't need to speak

Fritz Coleman (34:30):

<laugh>. No, you can speak. I didn't. I didn't.

Louise Palanker (34:32):

But one of the gifts that you got from your dad, like despite some of his other shortcomings, one of the gifts that you immediately got from your dad at 16 was his approval. And there's people in their seventies still trying to achieve that, where the data's just withholding of that. That was one thing he was not.

Mark Arthur Miller  (34:49):

Well, the, and also what I don't, you know, I I will talk about as far as the transition of the show, the show in its infancy, uh, was probably about 2012, 13. And it wasn't what it is now because I was just putting seeds of the Motown stuff and seeds of the stories of my dad's into other cabaret shows. Right. So there were a mishmash of a bunch of stuff and I finally said, this mishmash doesn't work. Tell the story. You want to tell the whole story. And also I was doing, I was getting hired to do Frank Sinatra tunes and stuff like that and whatever, and I was turning every standard classic standard Sinatra thing into an r and b rhythm arrangement, <laugh>, you know. And I went, let's stick to what you really want to do. Um, so it sort of grew and finally became where I finally sat down and went, okay, forget all these stories. Write a script. You know, now what I don't, what I've changed in the show over from the first time we started doing it was the first time the show was done, I think people left the theater depressed.

Louise Palanker (35:59):


Mark Arthur Miller  (36:01):

Because there it was, there was the sad stuff that I had to work through from, from my dad. I mean he was great, but he had so many demons and it was so h hard and he was away for so long. And, and my mom was married to a terrible stepfather. Oh. So I was really mentally abused by my stepfather. So coming into, so my dad was great because he did wasn't like that at all. He had his own demons, which in affected the whole family, the gambling, the, and stuff like that. But he wasn't cruel in that sense that, that I had come from that. So leaving my mother wasn't that hard, even though my mom was great, but she just didn't have good taste in, you know, men. So all that sort of had to be pulled out to tell the story. Yeah.

Fritz Coleman (36:49):

Plus your feelings about your dad evolved over time. Of course. Different of course from when the be, when you first put the show up to this most recent thing I saw, and it is uplifting. And I thought to myself, you know, with all these jukebox musicals now the temptation is one that, that Weezy saw and loved. I'm, I think it's just a natural right now. I I really feel that if, if you got this in front of the eyes of the right person, that they, they, they could help you tweak it into something that would be nationally.

Mark Arthur Miller  (37:16):

Well we're, we're hoping, I mean, you know, I, I would love that. But you know, it, you know, I always knew that, that my dad and I ended before when he passed in 2007, I knew we, it was the best, it had been the best 20 years of our relationship. You know, so there, that was great. But that's why the show was every actor like I am and singer, whatever, we wanna do drama first. Right. So that's how the story sort of went. And then I went, wait a second, there's a lot of great stuff here and let's end this show. Talking about how I really felt and how much he was there for me. Not how much he wasn't there for me, you know, and, and, and not focus on, yes, we talk about the gambling a little bit and whatever, but it's not the focus. And Glen Casal to Glen Cass's credit, he kept pounding on me cuz this was the first time I had the show directed. He kept pounding, this is about your dad until this point, and then the show is about you.

Fritz Coleman (38:19):

Yeah. It's

Mark Arthur Miller  (38:20):

Fantastic. He says, it's gotta be about you. Yeah.

Louise Palanker (38:22):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he's right. You know, and then, you know, maybe you were holding back and thinking like, well, you know, it needs to be a, this needs to be about the songs that people are familiar with and if it's about me, it's too much. Me, me, me, look at me. But yeah, in terms of story, that's what people need to see. They need to see you, you heal

Fritz Coleman (38:41):

All. The thing about his dad really is a subconscious way of explaining his talent. Right. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is, this is why I am the way I am and here's what I am banging. He ends with big up tempo shows. Yeah. I I I love the new manifestation of the

Mark Arthur Miller  (38:55):

Show. Yeah. It's, it's been my favorite I think. But like when people do movies or plays or they come out and they, and they say, oh my God, this, we never heard of this person or this show or whatever. And you go, yeah. He's been writing it and trying to get it done for 15 years. You know, that's how long Yeah. Yeah. That's how long it took for me to get it. So a place where I go, okay. I think I can pretty much leave it alone now. Yeah. You know, I mean I'll tweak, you know, you always do, you always tweak and stuff like that. But, but I can pretty much go okay my booking Asian ael take it and put it in front of people. And I think if you book it and put it in front of people, it'll be put in front of more people. I mean, I'm confident

Fritz Coleman (39:35):

About it's, that's always the way it is. Yeah. Let's talk about the other aspects of your career. When you were in Chicago. You started a theater company.

Mark Arthur Miller  (39:41):

Yeah. Long, long, uh, long time ago now.

Fritz Coleman (39:44):

Well, if you have any memory of it, describe

Mark Arthur Miller  (39:46):

It to me. No, it was great. Um, me and a, me and six other actors, you know, I mean Chicago was booming then, you know, Steppen Wolfe was everywhere. I had taken classes there. I'd been in New York City, uh, doing some acting and got married there in 82 while I was a young broke actor. And, uh, then I did some theater in Nebraska and all over. And, and then I met some old friends in Chicago when I moved back there and they were like, let's, um, let's do this. So we did, we were one of a thousand theater companies back in Chicago and then

Fritz Coleman (40:21):

The best One Step Wolf from Gary

Mark Arthur Miller  (40:23):

Ever. And we did great work. We got, you know, I was nominated for instance, Jeff Awards and, and we did some good stuff. Um, you know, we never got a big, big name like some of the big ones. But we did, I did a lot of acting. I mean, I don't, there was probably a five year period where I was on stage for the entire five years except for maybe a month that I wasn't on stage. So it was from show to show to show to show to

Fritz Coleman (40:45):

Show. But it shows in your stage presence in your live show because of your command of the stage in your comfort up there. You can tell that all that is muscles you've exercised in other ways cuz you're really comfortable on

Mark Arthur Miller  (40:59):

Stage. Yeah. Although I, I, you know, I I do believe that. I think the more you do something, the more comfortable you are at it. And, but I, I'll be honest, I was that way when I was like five.

Louise Palanker (41:09):

Well, you put, you started putting in your 10,000 hours <laugh> when you were Yeah, that's right. You know, five years old in the living room, I'm sure you were always putting on a show.

Mark Arthur Miller  (41:17):

Always con constantly. My my mom used to talk,

Louise Palanker (41:20):

They were very well

Mark Arthur Miller  (41:21):

Received. My mom used to tell the story about me doing, uh, um, a, a musical in fourth grade. And in fourth grade all they do is they, they put all the kids in a semicircle and then the kids step out and say their line and step back in line, step out and step back and sing their part and whatever. And none of the kids remembered any of their parts. And as Gilbert and Sullivan and I played the captain and the music teacher says, you know, this show doesn't happen without your son. Because I would literally push the kids out, they were frozen, stiff nervous, and then whisper their lines or their lyrics in their ear. That's funny. And she goes, your son memorized an entire Gilbert and Sullivan show. He's in fourth grade. Wow. <laugh>. You know, so that's, so I think I sort of knew I was sort of born to do this. Yep. You know? Yeah. You know, I don't have a lot of skills and a lot of things, but I have a few things that I do.

Fritz Coleman (42:16):

So talk about your tennis talent. You were a nationally ranked tennis player at one time, correct?

Mark Arthur Miller  (42:21):

Yeah. And I'm still a coach. I coach every day. I just got off the courts before I

Fritz Coleman (42:25):

Got here. <laugh>. I know. Cause you,

Louise Palanker (42:26):

Who was the most famous person you ever played a match against?

Fritz Coleman (42:29):

Oh, good question.

Mark Arthur Miller  (42:33):

Um, I think I played Elliott Tiler once, who was top 20 in the world. Top 10 in the world. And I practiced with, I hit with Jimmy Connors. I, you know, that's what I

Louise Palanker (42:43):

Was going for.

Mark Arthur Miller  (42:44):

Yeah. Yeah. I was Jimmy, I hit with Jimmy at, uh,

Louise Palanker (42:46):

I'm like, this guy looks about the age of Jimmy Carter,

Mark Arthur Miller  (42:48):

Which I was a little younger than Jimmy. I, it was, I was at the, uh, LA tennis club and uh, he was waiting to hit with Stan Smith and they were gonna practice. And Stan was late and my buddy was late and Jimmy said, Jimmy saw me with a arm full of rackets cuz you carried all your rackets back in those days. They weren't in one bag. They were like, you had four or five rackets under your arm. And, um, he said, uh, you know, he obviously thought I was a player cuz if I wasn't, what else would, why would I have all those

Fritz Coleman (43:13):

Rackets? One racket will do it.

Mark Arthur Miller  (43:14):

One, he wouldn't gonna ask me if I had one record. Yep. And so we hit for about a half hour and uh, it was

Louise Palanker (43:20):

Great. Did he call you any names or anything?

Mark Arthur Miller  (43:22):

No, no. He was a nice, he a great hit. You know, we didn't miss, I mean, I wasn't gonna miss, I'll tell you that cuz he, I knew he wasn't going to miss.

Fritz Coleman (43:29):

Where'd he hear about this new movie with Will Smith called King Richard? Well, he, oh, he is the father of your wingham sisters. I'm, uh, I hope it's good. I'm, I'm

Mark Arthur Miller  (43:36):

Praying to you. I, yeah. I mean, you know, I don't think it's gonna be bad. I'm interested to see if it tells the story some of the stories that I know <laugh>

Louise Palanker (43:43):

To be true. But I bet, bet you know about tennis parents. Cuz I, I know about a lot about tennis parents because my parents had a condo where Nick Buller had his tennis academy. Oh God. And I, and so I watched all of this stuff happen in Florida, people shipping their kids down there. Oh yeah. And the kids would live there and, and we had friends whose kids were there. And so we'd go stop in on the kids cuz the parents are back north and you know, like, how are things going? And their only kind of like, uh, metric to measure how they were doing was who they could beat in. Uh, I just thought this is a sad and lonely way for a child to grow up.

Mark Arthur Miller  (44:19):

Yeah. I don't, you know, I, I mean obviously with my life I push kids to be well-rounded. Right. Um, and then I'm very disciplined when they're in my world for that hour or two hours that I have them. Because most of the kids I've worked with my whole life are very accomplished players. I've teach beginners and, and intermediate and adults and at every level. But I'd say 90% of the people I've worked with have all have been players who are gonna play in high school, college, or beyond.

Louise Palanker (44:48):

Okay. So do you ever talk to the parents about what's this doing to the child emotionally and, and

Mark Arthur Miller  (44:53):

Always. Okay. Constantly. So what, and that's the, the toughest part is the parents.

Louise Palanker (44:56):

And what's your message for, for any sports parents really

Mark Arthur Miller  (45:00):

Stay home

Fritz Coleman (45:02):

<laugh>. Wow. Like the stage moms please stay in the car.

Louise Palanker (45:05):

They don't know how to do that though, do they?

Mark Arthur Miller  (45:06):

Yeah. Nope. But you know what, because

Fritz Coleman (45:08):

They're, they're living their own unfulfilled dreams.

Mark Arthur Miller  (45:11):

And, and also,

Louise Palanker (45:12):


Mark Arthur Miller  (45:15):

First of all, they're not allowed on my court. Okay. They don't, they don't stay on my court when I'm teaching their kid. Even though they're, they sometimes they're knowledgeable. Um, they've had their kid, their kid is very good, accomplished. They're trying to get them to the next level, the next zone. They're already at good levels. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but, you know, how do I say this would not be too in a lot of the parents have been great. The, the only travel I find, and I, and I'll, and I find this in not just parents of tennis players, but, but people in general that I've taught is that tennis is a rich sport. So you're teaching people who have enough money to pay for tennis lessons and tournaments and equipment. It's not cheap. So you're talking about successful monetarily, successful people. Okay. Who are the parents. Right.


They're usually CEOs or, or lawyers or di I mean, they're very successful people. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and unfortunately successful people who make money know about something very well to have made that money. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're experts at their subject. Okay. But unfortunately, people who are rich think not tennis, not they know about everything. Right. So I have money, therefore I'm smart, therefore I'm smart about everything. <laugh>, why do you have a coach? Yeah. Why do you need Exactly, why do they even have a coach? Because they don't, A lot of 'em don't even play tennis. Or if you saw them play tennis, you'd go, please be quiet, <laugh>. Have you seen yourself hit the ball? You know, so Yeah. I mean, it, it gets a little annoyed. That's why most of the time they stay off my court. But I, you know, I can't tell you how many parents, I've said the same joke of like, you know, can I charge you for this? Cuz my lesson was four hours ago and you called me up after dinner and now you're keeping me on the phone talking about your son or daughter. Right. That's should be costing you something. And they're not talking or asking questions. They're giving me advice on how to coach their kids. Wow.

Fritz Coleman (47:16):

Do you do mainly kids or do you do adults as well?

Mark Arthur Miller  (47:19):

You No, I do adult. I do adults, but I'm mainly kids who were moving on or up the ladder of tournament, you know, competition. I had a, a great teacher, Barry Horowitz and, and Paul Pews. We had a a, a big junior program, a mountain gate tennis club, uh, country club for, uh, 22 years. We ran that program. It was one of the top programs in the country. Hmm. Oh. Um, and then it's faded since. And, and we're no longer doing that. Um, and you know, we're all teaching, but just privately on our own. I don't, I'm, I'm, you know, my body doesn't allow me to do it as much as I want to. So I'm almost semi-retired, hence why I need to do more shows. Um, but, uh, yeah, I mean, you know, it was a pretty, it was pretty much big part of my life and I love to coach and like I said, when I made that announcement in my living room and that I was gonna be in sports and performing, that's exactly what I did because I, I have a, a real strong love for both of them. Yeah. You know, I also played basketball in junior college and had some scholarships in that sport. So I'm a jock. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, who loves music and loves to act. So, you know, that

Fritz Coleman (48:23):

Sort of, uh, before we go, I want to ask you about the makeup of your band. I know that your keyboardist is your main collaborator.

Mark Arthur Miller  (48:30):


Fritz Coleman (48:30):

Yeah. Brilliant. So describe the guys in your band, how many you have. Are those the same people that you'll go on the road with when you go to New York? In,

Mark Arthur Miller  (48:36):

Uh, if, if, if Peter Smith is, is is a, a brilliant composer, arranger, um, musician, uh, he'll go wherever I go if he's not doing something else. Cuz he works with a lot of different people, but he was the co-writer and producer on my album, uh, Coran on my cdn, and he's always my musical director, uh, unless there's a show that I have to replace him because he's busy, otherwise I would never replace him. The musicians I have, I've used a lot of, a lot of the same guys. Frank Abraham, Jean Coy, um,

Fritz Coleman (49:09):

You showcase your great background singers

Mark Arthur Miller  (49:11):

To my Sykes and Ken Ramsey did the last show, and they have big careers on their own, so I feel lucky when I get them. Yeah. Um, and I've used different people because I can't always get exactly who I want, but then they give me recommendations on people who fit in brilliantly. If I go out of town, I just bring Peter mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because as of right now, I, the show doesn't make enough money for me to bring everyone with. Yeah. And then we hired musicians. We had a great band in New York City because Peter's from New York, so he hired a bunch of great musicians and there's great musicians everywhere. And the network of musicians that we know, no musicians everywhere. You, you know what I mean? It's sort of like a family. Yeah. No matter what state. Yeah.

Louise Palanker (49:52):

And what are you noticing about live performance coming back to life? Uh, are people comfortable showing Covid cards in different states or different, does every venue have different rules? How is it working?

Mark Arthur Miller  (50:05):

Well, I mean, you know, everybody

Fritz Coleman (50:07):

In my show, when you, your most recent show, everybody, it was, it was closed down. You had to have a mask on

Mark Arthur Miller  (50:11):

When you walked. Yeah. You had to have a mask on. And we only were allowed 120. Okay. Because it was like the first time things were opening. Yeah. So there was numbers put on things. Now it's much more open. I really, I don't know if I'd, I, it would be hard for me, me just because of how I feel about things. Yeah. It would be hard for me to accept a, a gig at a place that didn't require Covid cards,

Louise Palanker (50:38):

Car, uh, vaccine cards. Yeah. And masks. Or just vaccine cards.

Mark Arthur Miller  (50:41):

Vaccine cards at least. And then masks when you're walking. And then when you, obviously when you sit down, you can take it off because, you know, I mean, I, I understand that, you know, it's better to watch a show without the mask, but I would, you know, as of right now, I think Health for Everybody is number one. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I, I, I'm just, I feel strongly about that.

Fritz Coleman (51:01):

So I saw you at the El Port Hotel. Yeah. And then I saw you at an earlier manifestation of the show at Catalina's Barring Grove. Yeah. Is that where I saw you? Yeah. Is that the size venue you like what, what, what's a comfortable size venue for

Mark Arthur Miller  (51:14):

You? Um, I, you know, the size venue, I mean, it's really intimate, obviously at Catalina Jazz, and I've done my show there. I, I can't even count how many, I can't count on one hand how many times I've, I just got a phone call a couple weeks ago from Manny asking me to do the show there again. Um, I love the intimacy of that show. Although the sh the recent show that you saw, Fritz, it's got so much more to it. It was bigger. It was bigger. Yeah. It's a bigger show. It, it's got 60 light cues. It's got videos. It's got photographs. It, you know, so it's, it it's a much bigger show. And to be honest, I want to do the bigger show because I don't make any money doing Catalinas

Fritz Coleman (51:53):

<laugh>. Oh no. You know, plus you lose the impact. Not that this is the most important part of your show, but you lose the impact when that record with your dad's name on it. The Tamla Motown label comes up in like 30 foot letters. Yeah. It's pretty

Mark Arthur Miller  (52:07):

Powerful. And me walking down the center with that silver suit, and it's a, it's a great image. It's pretty cool. It's a great image. And, and, and, and it's funny cuz you know Donna mm-hmm. <affirmative> my beloved, she loves the show intimate. I mean, she loved the new version. She loves so many things about it, but she loves that intimacy of the, of the show. And so do I cuz the crowd's right there, and, and you, you, you feel 'em and I, I will constantly do those shows. But as far as financially getting it out there and having people, you know, bring it to a performing arts center and, and the fees that they will give you to do that, or a university or something, you know, makes it a little more feasible. Actually, if I did more of the bigger theater shows, I would then do more of the smaller shows. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> because I could afford them and not have to make, you know, so much. I, I make, I afford to pay the band or whatever. And if I do it just make a little, then it's fine if I have some bigger shows, you know? Right.

Fritz Coleman (53:01):

So, l and I were talking about the documentary about Ella Fitzgerald. Have you seen

Mark Arthur Miller  (53:04):

That? I haven't seen that yet. I just saw

Fritz Coleman (53:06):

It's really wonderful. But the whole thing, uh, for me was I'm watching this singing. There are 40 people in this band. I said, there's no way you'd be able to afford to take a group that size on the road now. No. Unless you were doing Carnegie Hall in every city. I

Louise Palanker (53:19):

Think it's why the big band era was so short. Yeah. You know, after World War ii, it was kind of almost over, wasn't

Fritz Coleman (53:26):

It? And especially when so expensive, when the players were all union players and you couldn't cheat those guys outta money. You had to pay them the union minimum.

Mark Arthur Miller  (53:33):

Well now I, we talk, uh, all my musicians friends and I talk about, when I first came out here in 1990, um, I was acting really, and I hadn't really started singing. I mean, I had sung my whole life, obviously, but I mean, going in that direction, I was going for television and, you know, so I had put the music sort of on the back burner, but I was still getting with friends saying, okay, come do this gig at this club or downtown at the upstairs at the hotel, or, you know, so I was doing a lot of casuals mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you didn't make a fortune, but you made twice as much 25 years ago doing it casual than you do now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Oh wow. They don't pay anything now because they just plug music in now. So they don't need you. They don't need a live band. So if you want the gig, you have to settle for so much less. Wow. You know,

Louise Palanker (54:25):

I would think that things might shift when downtown spaces realize that no one's leaving their home to go retail shopping. No one's leaving their home unless they're gonna go have an experience. Right. And experience is one thing that will pull people out of their homes. Like, that's why if you, if you walk to the mall near your house, you're gonna see that there's cornhole and ping pong and you know, and, and, and giant chess, you know, they, you need to bring the kids somewhere where they can do something. Yeah. Because you can do all your shopping, all your Christmas shopping, you can do online. So what's gonna pull people outta their homes? It's gotta be experiences. So maybe some of this retail space that's gonna dry up will become performance spaces.

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:05):

I hope so. I hope because you know, anybody can plug in their music at home. So if you go to a bar and it's just plugged in music up top, it has

Louise Palanker (55:13):

To be, you can do that at home. You're right. Yeah. You have to give people an experience that they can't have

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:17):

At home.

Fritz Coleman (55:18):

Well, all right. So if people wanna buy Soul Searching, which is your latest album, where do they go to find that?

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:22):

Everywhere. Apple. Okay. Amazon. It's at

Fritz Coleman (55:25):

150 different things. Lips of your, uh, show. Do you have a YouTube

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:29):

Channel? Yes, I do. Mark Arthur Miller.

Fritz Coleman (55:31):

Okay. Is that your name? Yeah, I'm just kidding. Okay. Okay,

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:34):


Fritz Coleman (55:35):

Mark Arthur Miller

Louise Palanker (55:36):

Dot com. Com

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:37):

Everybody? Yeah, you can. Alright. Fritz, there it is. Yeah. See Oh. Oh, there.

Louise Palanker (55:39):


Mark Arthur Miller  (55:40):

At that handsome guy.

Fritz Coleman (55:41):

Nice picture. Actually I love

Mark Arthur Miller  (55:42):

The black white. I was younger there.

Louise Palanker (55:44):

Nah, it's just a lighting <laugh>. Uh, so Fritz, where can people find us to give us a nice review that we could read on our show next week?

Fritz Coleman (55:50):

Well, if you enjoyed this episode of Media Path, it would help us to be more discoverable by potential new listeners. If you leave us a quick review as these nice people earlier had done on Apple Podcasts, and if you're new here and this is your first time with us, please check out our back catalog. We have I think 70 episodes now. Uh, it's all binge worthy. I'm telling you, we have guests like Anson Williams and Marion Ross on separate days, but both iconic actors from Happy Days. We have Bill Schnee. Do you know Bill? Do you know Bill Schnee? No.

Mark Arthur Miller  (56:19):


Fritz Coleman (56:20):

Sch. He is maybe the most employed record, uh, engineer. He's got 125 Golden Platinum records. He's he amazing. He's done. He's got, uh, he, he's got Streisand. He can

Louise Palanker (56:31):

Learn all about him in the

Fritz Coleman (56:32):

Book. Oh. Oh, he did Barbara Streisand. He did, uh, Ringo Stars for solo album. He recorded it at, at, at uh, apple in, uh, in, uh, in a Road

Louise Palanker (56:40):


Fritz Coleman (56:41):

Road. Yeah. Yeah. Unbelievable. Ed Baggley Jr. Who is an actor and environmental pioneer. Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, who's back on the road with the residency in Las Vegas. So there are many wonderful interests that we approach in our shows. Thank you for spending an hour with us. I Lovely.

Mark Arthur Miller  (56:55):

Can I write a, uh, brilliant review about this Yes. Show.

Fritz Coleman (56:58):

We insist if you want to get invited back right now and we would be over short took a moment. You share our thoughts with us.

Louise Palanker (57:05):

Who's m Aam? Oh, here come your closing credits. We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where we are. Media Path Podcast. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you've been enjoying. Mason told us what media he was enjoying and we enjoyed sharing that with you. You can contact us at our social media. Is that where you found us? Mason <laugh> at our social media, or email us at media path podcast We wanna thank our wonderful guest, Mark Arthur Miller. Our team includes Thank you, Dean of Friedman, Francesco Demond, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman, and we will see you along the media path.

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