Posted in music on April 17, 2013

by Bill Pearis


I wish it weren't true, but as much as it pains me to write these words, Scott passed away on April 15, 2013. He was a wonderful, loyal friend as well as a brilliant musician, and I will miss him for the rest of my life.

Scott had been planning to start recording a new Game Theory album, Supercalifragile, this summer, and was looking forward to getting back into the studio and reuniting with some of his former collaborators.

If listening to Scott's own music is too painful for you right now, as it is for me, I can tell you that he absolutely loved David Bowie's new album, The Next Day. He found Bowie's late-career resurgence to be hugely inspirational. I'm sure that if there had been a 2013 chapter of Music: What Happened?, one of the songs from that album would have been right at the top. - []

This is a big bummer. I have a deep affection Scott Miller's '80s band, Game Theory, who mixed '60s influences with powerpop and new wave. Their albums The Big Shot Chronicles and Lolita Nation still get pulled out fairly often on my stereo. His post-GT band, The Loud Family, were pretty great too.

In addition to his contribution as a musician, Scott was a huge music nerd/enthusiast and his best-of-year lists (1966 - 1999) on Loud Family's website were a giant source of discovery for me, personally. He turned that and other writing on the site into a fantastic book, Music: What Happened?, which is highly recommended. Scott was 53. Rest in peace.

If you're unfamiliar with Game Theory, their many out-of-print albums were made available to download for free here via Loud Family. (You should really grab Lolita Nation.) The videos for Game Theory singles "Erica's Word" and "The Real Sheila" are below.


Game Theory - "Erica's Word"

Game Theory - "The Real Sheila"



Comments (26)

way too soon. a super melodist of the highest order.

Posted by elbeam | April 17, 2013 9:45 PM

This is truly terrible. What an amazingly gifted pop songwriter he was. I'm glad I got to see the Loud Family. RIP Scott

Posted by Pete Galub | April 17, 2013 9:53 PM

Oh what sad news!

Such a magnificent musician and lyricist. I woke up just the other morning with "ride my intentions like Slim on the bomb" in my head.


Posted by Dinah Sanders | April 17, 2013 10:03 PM

His music with Game Theory was so catchy. I've had some of his songs stuck in my head for the last 10 years and they won't ever leave. A truly great writer.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 6:41 AM

Yes, as Dinah said Scott Miller was magnificent. Genius. I stole my ex's cd of Lolita Nation yesterday, hours before I heard the news.

Posted by Celeste Cleary | April 18, 2013 8:52 AM

I've only just now discovered this guy. I'm amazed and excited to dive into this catalogue.

Posted by ruins | April 18, 2013 8:58 AM

this is terrible - saw Game Theory at Maxwell's, especially brilliant during Lolita Nation tour. Talented man.

Posted by anonymous | April 18, 2013 9:03 AM

loved Game Theory, never heard Loud Family. can anyone recommend a record to start with for Loud Family?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 2:00 PM

2:00, the 1st one-"Plants and Birds..."-picks up where GT left off.

Posted by anonymous | April 18, 2013 2:16 PM

"plants and birds..." is a good starting place. I'd recommend that or "interbabe concern," which I think is their best, though a little long.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 2:47 PM

i enthusiastically second Bill's recommendation of his "Music: What Happened?" lists and book. It's available from Amazon and elsewhere. The guy developed an idiosyncratic manner of writing about pop music that is refreshing and rewarding.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 2:49 PM

More than half of Game Theory is unlistenable (whiny vocals, corny lyrics, horrible period production)... though the other half is worthy of being anthologized (if you can stand the vocals). Hard to say GT are anywhere close to High Llams for weirdo pop genius but stlll...

Curious to find out what happened, secret illness or ???

Posted by Joe Meek Shall Inherit Nothing | April 18, 2013 3:30 PM

Dear 3:30,
Let me be the first to say, "Eat shit, you fucking cunt!"

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 3:46 PM

Like every failed obscure power pop dork is some misunderstood genius. He had his niche and succeeded within its jive confines... Spare your outrage for the dead in West, Texas, not Scott Miller or the fucking DBs.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 4:10 PM

Music: What Happened? is a great book indeed. He writes beautifully about the fan experience. What a loss.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 4:57 PM

A nice guy as minor celebrities go.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 6:56 PM

Discovered Game Theory off a compilation in the 80s - really enjoyed the quirky yet accessible sound.....yeah the vocals were an acquired taste (see liner notes on greatest hits - Scott makes self-deprecating comments about it) - but clearly loads of talent there. Sorry to see him go....
RIP Scott

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2013 6:58 PM

Really sad. I loved his writing about pop history too.

Posted by Scott Lemieux | April 18, 2013 10:11 PM

Pointed accounts
from a friend of the family.
Erica, Sheila, Donnette, Shelley, Gil & Gui
I feel your loss.
Eight lives to Rigel Five
is the saddest of all possible words.
Tinker to Evers to Chance
is a double play
on words.

Posted by Andy Valenty | April 22, 2013 1:38 PM

To honor Scott, please donate to this educational fund set up for his children: Peace to all.

Posted by Celeste | April 22, 2013 9:50 PM

april is the cruelest month

Posted by greg antoniono | April 27, 2013 7:43 PM

Very shocked to hear about this and would like to give my deepest sympathy to his wife and two children.My husband (Michael Irwin) was the drummer (at the time ) on Blaze of Glory, and they were like family to us and spent countless hours at our home studio practicing and recording and having photo shoots.We promoted that music with agents, posters, etc, and went on countless tours. These four people including Scott were Nancy Becker and Fred Juhos and Michael Irwin.Please contact me with any plan to celebrate his life.

Posted by Mary Moran-Irwin | May 10, 2013 1:14 PM

Mary, keep checking with or (even more timely) the following facebook group, for such plans:

Posted by Neil | June 9, 2013 6:30 PM

Unbelievable. I was still hoping for a comeback. Loved him since the moment I first heard "Nine Lives to Rigel Five." I don't know why the line "let's get out the Twister game and get down on all fours" has always stuck with me.

Posted by Mark | June 10, 2013 12:21 PM

I'm still in shock. I don't stop by the Loud Family site for a few months, and this awful news shows up. Scott has been one of my favorite artists since that day in 1985 when the Music Director of our college radio station, who was later a founding member of Mercury Rev, said something like "you like R.E.M., listen to this" and handed me Real Nighttime. Been amazed by Scott's amazing talents with the language and super catchy hooks ever since. He had an overactive mind of his own, and we're privileged he shared it with us. Miss him already.

Posted by David Koenig | September 14, 2013 9:57 PM

This was such a great album... so many stupid record companies, profits above the art. I miss Game Theory, they should've been huge. the payback is that the big record companies will be GONE in a few years... who needs a record contract? record it, promote it, release it yourself... there are enough indies that will do distribution deals without getting their fingers into the production/direction of the band.

Posted by Sondy | September 26, 2014 7:48 AM

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