The Tribune - Boz Scaggs Interview
[By: Peter Cowan - Tribune Staff Writer.]
Boz Scaggs will play the Paramount Theatre of the Arts as he feels it should be done. Which means it will be more "event" than concert and that he is excited about his debut date in Oakland this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Boz, the popular Texas singer-songwriter, and his band will be dressed in black-tie and playing in front of a 29-piece orchestra for the occasion.
"The idea to play the Paramount came about as no one's brainchild, but had been brewing for some time,"
Scaggs said in a telephone interview.
It will be the Paramount's first rock concert.
"It had been suggested to me for the prestige and obvious thrill of playing there," he said. "I liked the idea, my wife liked the idea and so we're finally getting around to doing it. The basic concept is to put on a rock show in keeping with the spirit of the Paramount. We want to present ourselves the way it might have been back then.
"I did a concert with strings in Berkeley in the autumn of '72 and the response was so fantastic I'd been planning on doing it again ever since," he said.
For this week's Paramount show titled "An Evening with Boz Scaggs" (concerts at 8 p.m. each night), Scaggs has expanded on that idea. Now included are a full orchestra with conductor Fred Mergy, three background vocalists (Carolyn Willis, Julia Tillman and Myrna Matthews) and his new rhythm section (Gene Santini on bass, Les Dudek on lead guitar, Rick Shlosser on drums, Jack Schroer on flute and saxophone, Bill Atwood on flugel horn and trumpet)and guest guitarist Chris Michie. Scaggs, of course, will be playing guitar as well.
"The show will be divided into two parts," Scaggs said.
"The first half will be updates of some of my old tunes. For the second half we'll be doing my new album "Slow Dancer" in its entirety."
Scaggs said "Slow Dancer" was done in "kind of an updated Motown thing" using ex-Motown studio musicians, arrangers and producers. H.B. Barnum arranged the record which was due to be out this week.
Riding on a string of very fine albums, "Boz Scaggs," "Moments," "Boz Scaggs and Band" and "My Time," Scaggs has built up a faithful Bay Area following. His best known songs are probably "I'll Be Long Gone," "Loan Me a Dime" and "We Were Always Sweethearts."
The' low-keyed and easy going Scaggs settled in San Francisco as a member of the succesful Steve Miller Blues Band. He and Miller attended prep school and the University of Wisconsin together, and after a sojourn in Europe where he cut a folk album entitled "Boz," Scaggs answered Miller's offer to join up again. He stayed with that group for its first two albums, then went his own way.
Scaggs has toured the Paramount twice in anticipation of his three-night stand.
"It's a chance for everyone to get a little more of a thrill out of this kind of presentation," Scaggs said.
"A little more than they're used to getting. Most kids who go to see rock concerts today don't ever have a chance to see an orchestra. "It's quite a thrill.. It will be more an event than a performance," he said.
Scaggs' Paramount date is the first one of a new spring tour. He and his band will be on the road until the middle of May.
Bill Graham is handling the promotions.