Jewish Young Adults are generally avid supporters of JYA musicians, like Regina Spektor, Yael Naim, or Mirah, but in addition to keeping up with new artists, JYAs share a nostalgic place in their hearts for certain throwback bands as well; a typical example is The Steve Miller Band.
JYA’s continuous support for Steve Miller probably stems from the fact that most JYAs have spent part of their formative years in some kind of Jewish-education environment, like summer camp, youth group, or Sunday School. It is in these programs that longstanding “camp songs” are passed down from counselor to camper. One of these songs, “The Joker”, has become so embedded in the minds of JYAs that any Jew from age 18 to 40 can finish the line “You’re the cutest thing that I ever did see…”
JYA’s affection for The Steve Miller Band is so strong that some JYAs are even willing to endure their parents’ company at a Steve Miller Band concert, forced to listen to stories of “That time Aunt Maureen tried smoking pot at a Grateful Dead concert in Long Island in ’73 and now is on her fourth failed marriage because she tried the pot and went crazy for a few years practically living on a commune [read: had a roommate] and it destroyed her ability to form commitments, and that is why you should never smoke marijuana joints.”
It is important to note that the JYA’s love for The Steve Miller Band, while strong, is extremely limited in scope. The band has been steadily releasing new records from 1968 to 1993, and went through a noticeable shift from blues to pop-rock, yet the only real knowledge that JYAs have of the band is their Greatest Hits 1974-1978 album. Any JYA will quickly recognize the blue cover with the picture of the horse from across a crowded room, and knows that the best songs are tracks 2,3, and 8.
Ultimately Steve Miller and his ensemble of ageing minstrels (none of whom are Jewish), will continue to have Jewish fans as long as their songs are played at summer camps across Northern America. Unlike other obvious choices for JYA fondness like the Beastie Boys, Steve Miller also serves as a cross-generational uniting force between JYAs and their parents, and will undoubtedly continue to be this link as JYAs take over the administrative positions that allow them the opportunities to indoctrinate Jewish youth.
“… really love your peaches want to shake your tree”