An exit interview with Adam Miller of Myrtle Beach area’s now defunct Ten Toes Up

For Weekly SurgeJanuary 8, 2014 

Adam Miller, drummer for Ten Toes Up. Courtesy photo.

During what was reported as a “record breaking weekend” by Dead Dog Saloon’s John Campbell, Ten Toes Up gave two packed house performances in a farewell concert weekend, which included back-to-back shows Friday and Saturday (Jan. 3-4).

“This is by far the biggest crowd we’ve ever had for a concert,” said Campbell. That’s saying something considering the venue’s annual 9-11 benefit that features a full-day of live music and gigs by nationally renowned musicians including James McMurtry and Jason Isbell.

After a decade-long run recording and touring, popular local funk/rock act Ten Toes Up recently announced its hiatus and planned farewell shows. Band members are moving forward with individual projects and say they plan to remain in the area; all except one; drummer Adam Miller left for Alabama on Monday. We caught up with Miller in between shows last weekend. Here’s what he had to say about Ten Toes Up, rock ‘n’ roll, and life in Myrtle Beach.

QUESTION | So I’m catching you in the last few minutes before the last Ten Toes Up show for what will likely be quite a while?

ANSWER | (laughs) Yeah, this is it.

Q. | So what’s that feel like?

A. | Truthfully, I’m not sure it has sunken in yet. It hasn’t hit me, and I’m hoping it doesn’t until I have to leave.

Q. | So where are you going and what will you be doing?

A. | I’m going to Alabama, because that’s where my family lives. I haven’t seen much of them in the last 10 years. I hope to take a month off and hang out with them. Then I have this cool opportunity doing rock stabilization. I have a close friend who works for this company and says he can get me in.

Q. | You’ll probably look for a band to sit in with at some point?

A. | I think I have to. It’s in my blood. I’m kind of uneasy thinking about it. But life happens, gotta roll with it.

Q. | A few nights ago you performed your last show at Wahoo’s with The Winchesters, a band you co-founded with Gary Alexander and [sound engineer/manager] Seth Funderburk?

A. | It was. It was such an unbelievably fun project we put together. Tom Smith and Tom Hanlon, Gary, Dean Black. We all hit it off so well. The project was all smiles. Seth and I had no idea whether it would take off. But they’re looking at a replacement drummer and hope to keep it going.

Q. | Looking back, it was about 10 years ago, that you and BJ Craven, Josh Gregory and Charles Freeman got together and formed what would become the final version of Ten Toes Up. What were your hopes and dreams for the project at its onset?

A. | I had been at Coastal [Carolina University]. We were all in our mid 20s, and so we had big dreams. We wanted to be on the road. We love playing live so much. We basically wanted to make a little money, see the country, and play music. I think we accomplished that to an extent; maybe we didn’t take it as far as we wanted to, but it was a successful venture for all of us. No regrets.

Q. | Disappointments?

A. | The music industry is so weird. Things happen so fast. Did we get left behind? I don’t know. That’s a hard question, Paul. I feel we did everything right [we could have]; it just didn’t work out for us.

Q. | Accomplishments?

A. | I think we brought original music to a new level in Myrtle Beach, with what we were trying to do. We made it [with original music] in a cover-heavy environment. We made a lot of friends, had a lot of people who loved our music who would sing the words back to us.

Q. | Do you ever envision yourself living in the Myrtle Beach area again? Or is it a been-there, done-that kind of thing?

A. | It was fun here, but I doubt it. I’ve done the beach thing, been here for 13 years, and I’m ready for something else.

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