It’s one of those great coincidences, Dean Miller’s video for his new CD titletrack 'Til You Stop Getting Up.
The song centers on a bar stool conversation between an ex-Golden Gloves champion and a forlorn looking younger man in which the champ, played in the video by Kris Kristofferson, relates a hard-learned life lesson in perseverance to the other guy (Miller) using a boxing metaphor.
Kristofferson, of course, was himself a Golden Gloves boxer in his youth—and is pictured from then on the fight poster at the start of the video, though he’s identified as the song’s character Jack Kelly.
“It was unrelated to Kris,” says Miller of the scenario. “I was sitting with my writer friend Sean Patrick McGraw and we had this concept about something 'not being over ‘til you stop getting up,' and created the story of a down-and-out boxer in a bar telling someone not to give up. I thought of Kris, who was doing a movie in Clearwater, Florida. So I found a bar there and did the video.”
But “the really cool thing,” continues Miller, is that when Kristofferson showed up, he immediately asked, “Did you write this song about the story I told you?”
“`What story?’” I responded.
It turned out that Kristofferson mistakenly thought he’d told Miller an eerily similar story from his own experience.
"It was a lesson I'd learned in the ring, when I was disabled by a hook to the liver and took a beating for three rounds,” says Kristofferson, who says he was “stunned” when he first heard “`Til You Stop Getting Up,” and that he felt honored to be asked to appear in the video.
Adds Kristofferson: “After the fight a Mexican kid approached me while I was watching another bout and said, ‘A Mexican fighter would never quit trying to win.’ It was a lesson I never forgot."
“It was a something he carried with him,” observes Miller. “He decided never to give up on anything.”
Miller is somewhat of a Kristofferson expert, having essentially grown up with the iconic singer-songwriter in the picture.
“He’s my hero, a friend of our family since I was born and before I was born,” says Miller, the son of legendary singer-songwriter Roger Miller, like Kristofferson, a Country Music Hall of Famer. Miller was also the first to have a hit with Kristofferson's signature composition “Me and Bobby McGee.”
“I don’t’ want to get real personal, but at the time my dad was sick and dying, Kris came through above and beyond everyone else. He’s one of the most beautiful people, but aside from that, he’s also a movie star, helicopter pilot Rhodes Scholar, father and family man, and when you're around him, he’s just so deep—and he has this swagger when he walks into a room. I just wish I had a little of that!”
A successful songwriter in his own right—not to mention recording artist, producer and music publisher--Miller conceived, produced and directed the video for “`Til You Stop Getting Up.” The CD—his fourth--is on his Off the Verge label, and is available for the time being solely through his website; it also is the titletrack of a four-song digital EP sold exclusively through iTunes.
“There will be three EPs released separately on iTunes, in a four-month cycle,” says Miller. “You can only get the CD—which has everything on the three EPs--through the website, until the end of the cycle, when it will all be available everywhere. It’s a new way of marketing.”
Meanwhile, the video for “`Til You Stop Getting Up” is getting play on the Great American Country cable network and on rival CMT’s website.
[The Examiner wrote the liner notes to The Essential Kris Kristofferson two-CD compilation.]
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