Drummer Nelson Miller is dead

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

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Drummer Nelson Miller, who recorded and toured with Burning Spear for many years, died in Kingston on Sunday at age 64. His wife Carmel told the Jamaica Observer that Miller became ill at home early that morning and was taken to Andrews Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

She said cause of death is undetermined.

The Port Antonio-born musician joined Spear's band in 1978 and is best known for his association with the legendary artiste. He also toured with Prezident Brown and The Gladiators.

In a 1995 interview with American journalist Carter Van Pelt, Miller said he began playing drums in Port Antonio in the early 1970s while in high school. He cited Lloyd Knibb of The Skatalites, Carlton “Santa” Davis of the Soul Syndicate Band and Mikey “Boo” Richards of the Now Generation Band, as his biggest influences.

Miller first played on Spear's Hail HIM album in 1978. The first album he co-produced with the singer was 1985's Resistance; he and Spear had similar collaborations on other albums including People of The World, The World Should Know, and Rasta Business.

He spoke to Van Pelt about what it was like working with Burning Spear.

“A lot of the music just come like some burger thing. You just run quick and grab a burger and fries and gone. While the Burning Spear thing is like a gourmet dinner. You just have a seat and drink some wine and different, different things,” Miller said.

He left Spear's Burning Band in the late 1990s.

Nelson Miller is survived by his wife, two sons and three grandchildren.


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