New York Times interviews Boz Scaggs

New York Times - Boz Scaggs Interview

Boz Scaggs Ends Hiatus

[By Stephen Holden - Published: June 1, 1988]

In late 1980, when Boz Scaggs decided to take a brief sabbatical from the music business, nobody, least of all Mr. Scaggs, expected that the planned yearlong vacation would extend into an eight-year silence.

''I had two young sons to raise and some personal matters to settle,'' the craggy-voiced 43-year-old soul singer from San Francisco said in a recent telephone interview. ''I had been working continuously for 10 years. When I stopped, I suddenly became very much involved in raising my sons and in my daily life in the city. I did a lot of reading and traveling, and four years ago I opened a Tex-Mex restaurant, the Blue Light Cafe. Next month I'm opening a jazz and blues club called Flim's in the South Market area. I must say that during my time off I've enjoyed life immensely.''

Now the engines of Mr. Scaggs' musical career are revving up again. He has just released a strong new album, ''Other Roads'' (Columbia), that was recorded in fits and starts over two and a half years. While Mr. Scaggs has maintained a solid stylistic base in plushly produced pop-soul, his three collaborations with the New York poet and songwriter Jim Carroll contain edgy streetwise lyrics whose topics range from fickle fashions in hipness (''What's No. 1?'') to the allure of Asian prostitutes (''Crimes of Passion'').

''One of the hallmarks of this album is its collaborative aspect,'' Mr. Scaggs said. ''I had never written lyrics with anyone before, and Jim represents a style of writing I had never tried. His poetry comes from the streets of New York and carries a heavy dose of truth. It has violent, desperate overtones along with a certain defiance.''

If the songs on ''Other Roads'' venture into darker urban corners than those on earlier Scaggs albums, it has its warmly romantic moments. Those who cherish songs like ''We're All Alone,'' from his most successful album, ''Silk Degrees,'' will be gratified by ''Heart of Mine'' and ''The Night of van Gogh,'' the latter a soaring metaphysical love song inspired by the famous van Gogh painting ''Starry Night.''


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