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article imageCatching up with Bill Miller: Icon Entertainment founder Special

By Markos Papadatos     Apr 22, 2020 in Music
Nashville - Bill Miller, the founder of Icon Entertainment, chatted with Digital Journal about the Johnny Cash Museum and Nudie's Honky Tonk in Nashville.
Miller has been very instrumental in developing the tourism market in Music City. The Johnny Cash Museum has earned critical acclaim from fans and media publications from all over the world, including Digital Journal.
Since you knew Johnny Cash personally, tell us about the first item of Johnny's that you collected or were gifted by the "Man in Black."
"I became a fan when I was eight years old, back in 1968. I tried to get my hands on every record, magazine, poster, etc., which featured Johnny. When I met him the first time in 1973, it was at a concert in Denver Colorado. He handed me a harmonica he'd just played while he was on stage. That was the first of many gifts from him."
Larry King called your book Cash: An American Man "the best celebrity biography coffee table book ever done." What perspective are people going to find in that they haven't seen in other compositions on Cash's life?
"I think they’ll find a highly personal, non-traditional book. Rather than rehashing his life in yet another of a dozen biographies, I wanted to use Cash memorabilia to form a basis for stories and reminiscences. No rewriting history, just a glimpse into Johnny Cash that many people had never seen."
Tell us about one of the celebrities that have visited the museum and your impression of their experience.
"There are so many. From famous rappers to huge movie stars to 90-year-old songwriters who had their songs recorded by Johnny. It’s difficult to highlight just one because there are so many. One highlight was when Chris Rock sang his part in the Cash video 'God’s Gonna Cut You Down' to the cashiers when he bought his ticket."
Is there an artifact or exhibit that seems to consistently impact or cause fans to react/engage?
"People love the recording studio mixing exhibit. It allows them to craft their own version of the instrumentation in a Cash song."
Now, you have Johnny Cash's Kitchen and Saloon next door. Tell us about the offerings at that restaurant.
"The restaurant is a good, solid meat and three Southern food venue. All our recipes come from the legendary Swett family, a fixture in the Nashville food scene for six decades. Johnny and June were big fans of Swett’s; so, guests can eat exactly what they loved. We feature live music and lots of Cash photos and memorabilia as well."
What inspired you to start Nudie's Honky Tonk, whici is focused around the life of fashion designer Nudie Cohn?
"Nudie's sparkle is what caught my eye. He was the pioneer of the rhinestone cowboy look. His measuring tape literally touched almost anyone who made a mark in country music. The rich history of Nudie and his clientele resembled a roster worthy of a museum. And we built a museum around this bar."
You've had some surprise celebs jump on the Nudie's stage. Tell about some of the musicians and actors that have joined your musical line-up.
"Toby Keith and Chris Stapleton have been in several times. Chris Pratt has also been a guest plus many more. With the crowds and energy there, it’s hard to keep track."
To learn more about the Johnny Cash Museum, check out its official website.
More about bill miller, Johnny Cash Museum, Founder, Nashville
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