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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND : ROCKTALK : Miller Band to Play Arts Plaza on Blues Tour : Sunday's show will include hits and some classic blues. The Thousand Oaks stage will also be hopping with a local rock night later this month.


The Steve Miller Band, which first played this area in the late '60s at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, will play for a shorter-haired, generally more subdued, indifferent-to-"The Simpsons" crowd Sunday night at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks.

Known for such hits as "The Joker," "Livin' In The U.S.A.," "Fly Like An Eagle" and "Take The Money And Run," Miller will no doubt play those biggies, but this tour is called "The Joker Plays The Blues," so expect songs by the classic blues men as well at the 8 p.m. show.

The blues were always Miller's first musical love, and in fact, the band he formed in San Francisco originally was called the Steve Miller Blues Band. It was only after Miller took a turn toward the pop that he made his zillions. Yet his bluesy guitar is all over John Lee Hooker's landmark 1971 album, "Endless Boogie."

Thus far, the Conejo Valley venue has not exactly been rock 'n' roll central, playing host to John Denver, Julio Iglesias and Air Supply. Steve Miller is no Henry Rollins (he's much quieter), but perhaps more important rock shows will be scheduled.


As for local rockers to play the Thousand Oaks venue, you can count them on one finger of one hand--that would be majority DOG's sold-out show last January.

Finally, another local rock night has been scheduled for Nov. 22.

"Louder Than Hell" is what it says on their T-shirts, and the Fearless Vampire Killers ain't lying. How loud are they? Well, they can knock pictures off the walls at Roman Polanski's house in Europe.

Besides making livers quiver, the band hopes to sell some CDs--they've unloaded 500 since April--thus destroying parental peace and quiet. Also on the bill are Zabitha and Funktion. The venue is at 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Call them at 449-2787.


At one time or another, members of the Buds have been in the Doobie Brothers, the Spencer Davis Group, the Leaves, Chicago and more. Now the group is playing Friday and Saturday nights at the Hungry Hunter in Thousand Oaks.

Chet McCracken is the drummer, Buddy Sklar plays bass, Chris Pinnick guitar. The Buds played this venue for more than a year, left for a while, and now they're back. The Hungry Hunter is at 487 N. Moorpark Road. Call them at 497-3925.


Don't care about high school football? Lost without shocking murder trials of Heisman Trophy-winning USC tailbacks? Well, if I had a faster car, a richer girlfriend or both, here's where I'd be rockin' this weekend:

* TONIGHT: Randy Rich & the Ravens (The Whale's Tail, Oxnard), Simple Phunkshun (Bombay, Ventura).

* FRIDAY: majority DOG (Pelican's Retreat, Calabasas), The Buds (Hungry Hunter, Thousand Oaks), Finnhead (Harbor Lights, Oxnard), Raging Arb & the Redheads (Bombay).

* SATURDAY: The Buds (Hungry Hunter), Raging Arb & the Redheads (Bombay).

* SUNDAY: Conscious Souls (Joe-Joe's Brewing Company, Simi Valley).

* MONDAY: Urban Dread (Pelican's Retreat), Jackie Lomax (Cafe Voltaire, Ventura).

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