Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Boz Scaggs Interview
[By Gene Stout - July 24, 1995]
When '70s superstar Boz Scaggs decided to take a break from his career back in 1980, it was like jumping off a fast-moving train.
"You roll to a stop, and you look up and see this massive, high-powered thing rolling off in the distance and realize it was your career," Scaggs said in a phone interview from Los Angeles.
"But you look around, and there's a whole world of things going on that are part of you too. I really feel fortunate that I was able to take time away and raise my sons and do some other things."
Scaggs' commercial peak came in 1976 with the release of Silk Degrees," which yielded such hit singles as "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle." His silky, sensual voice was the focal point of his songs, sometimes overshadowing fine instrumental work. He was dubbed the "sultan of smooth."
Though his subsequent album, "Middle Man," wasn't quite the smash "Silk Degrees" had been, Scaggs' career continued to grow. But business pressures began to rob him of his passion for music. And two young sons from a former marriage needed his care.
What had been intended to be a six-month hiatus in 1980 turned into more than a decade-long break from touring. Except for occasional appearances in San rancisco, where he owns a club called Slim's, and a semiannual tour of Japan. Scaggs had effectively retired from the business of recording and touring.
"I made me realise that I wasn't as involved in my music as I wanted to be." Scaggs said. "When I started out I had a head full of music, as most musicians do.
"It's something that's pretty irresistible to you. It's something you have to do. You're driven by it. And there wasn't really a lot of music going on in my head in 1980. I didn't realize until a few years later, when it started coming back, that so much had been missing."
Scaggs' first official San Francisco show in 14 years was last year at Slim's, shortly after the release of his current album, "Some Change." Scaggs played new songs and dusted off some old hits for the sold-out show, which featured an eight-piece band led by guitarist Kevin Dukes.
This summer Scaggs has been doing an eight-city U.S. tour.
Launching his current tour was only "as far away as my booking agent."
"They have a good feel for what you mean in cities around the country and around the world," Scaggs said. "It's a matter of my re-establishing myself. If I want to continue to do performances. I'll have to show my face around and be more consistent out there."
Scaggs describes the summer trek as a test run for future tours.
"I'll see what the audiences are like and how it goes for me..I feel real comfortable with the musical part of it. We'll just have to see about the rest," he said.