Caleb Miller - King Calaway
He may be the youngest member of the band, but don't mistake lead guitarist Caleb Miller for a rookie. An instrumentalist since the age of 4, Caleb began playing bar gigs while still in elementary school, building a strong reputation around his hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio. By 13 years old, he was working as a session guitarist, balancing his schoolwork with a string of recording sessions. He could play everything: country, metal, rock, blues, and more. He puts that diversity to good use in King Calaway, a band whose wide-ranging sound mirrors his own background. Soft-spoken in person, he's a dynamic presence onstage, bouncing between concise hooks and bursts of virtuosic solos. "He plays beautiful melodies on guitar," says Jordan Harvey. "He uses it like a voice.
5 MINUTES WITH CALEB
PRS: How did you start playing music/guitar? How old were you?
CM: I started playing music when I was about 4-years old. While I was growing up, my dad played bass in a rock band and I was obsessed with watching him on stage. I would always go to his concerts and I’d try to get on stage every chance I could get! Although I loved seeing my dad do his thing on the bass, I was always drawn to the lead guitar. I asked my dad to teach me what he knew on the guitar and by the time I was 6, dad was out of things to teach me! I started taking lessons immediately and my love only grew from there.
PRS: What was it about that guitar that first pulled you in? Who were some of your biggest musical influences?
CM: When I started becoming heavily interested in music, I was always drawn to the lead guitar players. There was just something about their stage presence and their role in the band that made me want to be in that position. My musical influences have always been very broad. From Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, to guys like Carlos Santana, Slash, and Mark Tremonti. I’ve always love melodic guitar players who use their playing to lend a very vocal aspect to their music.
PRS: How has your playing evolved over the years?
CM: When I began playing guitar, I just wanted to play whatever my guitar idols played. I was practically an Ace Frehley impersonator by the age of 10! As I grew as a musician and a person, I tried to find my personal sound and identity as a guitarist. Although I still draw from many amazing guitarists who are influences of mine, I’d like to think that the way I play is unique and distinguishable.
PRS: You started playing sessions when you were thirteen, correct? Who are some of the musicians you have played with?
CM: I began playing in studios with incredible musicians at a very early age. The artists who I worked with were regional and local acts to my home in Ohio, ranging from country to metal, and everything in-between. Being in the studio environment taught me many things that playing live never did. When you’re in a studio, you’re very exposed and the need to be near perfect is crucial. Being under this pressure at such a young age made me really pay attention to the details in my playing and constantly force myself to grow stylistically.
PRS: What is it that attracted you to PRS Guitars? How do your guitars help you to achieve King Calaway's dynamic sound?
CM: I first heard of PRS Guitars through a friend of mine, Seth Morrison (Skillet). At that point, I was playing guitars and never found one that fit how I played. When Seth recommended PRS to me, I bought an SE Custom 22 and it immediately became my favorite guitar. As I continued to buy additional PRS guitars, I noticed that I could achieve nearly any sound that I wanted with a single guitar. The guitars were always stable and required little to no maintenance despite the many shows played on them. When I brought my love for PRS into King Calaway, I feel like it shaped the KC sound even more. The vintage and warm tones that I was able to achieve from my PRS guitars perfectly fit the sound we were wanting to achieve. From vintage to modern country and pop tones, these guitars can do anything I need from them.
PRS: King Calaway has been working with Robert Deaton and Ross Copperman. Describe what it has been like to work with these music industry veterans.
CM: Working with Robert and Ross is a dream every time we’re in a room together. Being in a studio setting with these two brings out the creativity and inherent ability in my playing. Robert and Ross are two of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever worked with and I constantly try to learn as much as possible from the both of them.
PRS: When you aren’t writing music or touring, what do you like to do during your free time?
CM: I get this question often, but with the little free time I have, I only play music! If it's not working on future music for the band, I’m practicing my chops on the guitar and constantly trying to expand my musical knowledge. Music has been my only hobby from a very young age and it has developed from simply being a hobby into a lifestyle.
In the video below, King Calaway is introduced by Garth Brooks at a Minneapolis stadium show.
KING CALAWAY // GARTH BROOKS INTRO
^ Video credit: CeCe Dawson