“I haven’t played with the Steve Miller Band for 30 years and haven’t spoken to Steve in well over a decade,” says Lake Hodges guitarist Greg Douglass, best known for cowriting and playing on the Miller Band hit “Jungle Love.” When Miller performed a July 9 concert at Pechanga, Douglass says, “I was strictly there as just another middle-aged guy taking his wife on a date.”
After the first encore, “My wife Jeri wondered aloud why they hadn’t played ‘Jungle Love.’ Just as I was beginning to take that personally, Steve started talking about how the song came to be recorded. He then announced that the writer of tune was in the audience and asked me to stand up! I stood and waved, the spotlight hit me, and Steve said, ‘Well, get on up here and play your song!’ I ran up onstage and, two minutes after being just another guy in the crowd, I was playing ‘Jungle Love’ with the band for the first time in 30 years. The audience went nuts...my wife was in total shock.”
Backstage after the show, “I told Steve, ‘Christ, I come to the show trying to enjoy a quiet night off, and you make me work!’ Slave-driving bastard!”
So, how did “Jungle Love” come to be recorded? “Steve’s Book of Dreams album was pretty much a done deal. On the last day of recording, Lonnie Turner, Steve’s bass player and cowriter of the tune, gave Steve a demo of the song we had done at rehearsal. Steve loved the tune and asked if I was available. Calls were made, I was at the studio in 30 minutes, and one half hour after that, the song was in the can.” The 1977 single charted at number 22, later appearing on Miller’s Greatest Hits 1974–1978 LP, one of the top 40 best-selling albums, with over 13 million copies sold.
Greg Douglass appears at the Belly Up on Friday, August 6, and Monday, August 9.