BY KEITH LORIA - Hour Correspondent
The Hour Headlines - September 4, 2008
Some know him from his years playing with childhood friend Steve Miller as part of the Steve Miller Band, but to most Boz Scaggs fans, he is know for his incredible voice and guitar stylings that have produced four decades worth of blues and rock hits.
Although he and Miller had played in a band together when they were teens in the '60s, Scaggs left for Europe and started playing in some bands overseas. But then Miller contacted him about returning to the states to take part in what would become the Steve Miller Band.
"I liked Steve's band because they were playing very authentic, pure, high-level blues music and rhythm 'n' blues kind of stuff, and I like that a lot," Scaggs says. "I'd been a musician for the whole time I'd been away but I missed being in a band."
After two albums with his friend, Scaggs was offered his own solo contract and decided to give it a go. He had some moderate success in the sixties and early seventies, but really hit it big with the release of the "Silk Degrees" album, which was No. 1 all over the world.
"I never worried about making it big, I just wanted to be able to play for a living, and I was doing that," he says. "There were ups and downs and bigger ups and bigger downs, but that's just part of being in the business and you have to be able to have a handle on it all, which I think I did."
With a nine-piece band set to play behind him, Scaggs promises that his fans will get what they are looking for when he hits the stage.
"This particular tour, I'm doing a lot of things people are used to hearing, stuff off the radio that were hit songs, but I like to mix it up," he says. "We'll be doing all hits and some blues, some rhythm 'n' blues, and it will feature the great musicians I have in my band."
Expect early hits like "Lowdown," "Jojo" and "Lido Shuffle" to be apart of the mix.
Scaggs praises his opening act, 25-year-old David Jacobs-Strain, who performs an acoustic set to open the show, calling him "someone to watch."
Strain shoots back the compliment.
"I'm really impressed with what he does in creating an arc for the show," the young musician says. "It's interesting to watch him. I'm impressed that anyone at any age can be so consistent. There's musical integrity there."
That integrity helped Scaggs continue to find success through the years. However, at the top of his game, he decided to take a break from the music world in 1981 to open a nightclub called Slims in San Francisco and only performed live on New Year's Eve at his club.
"I really just wanted to take a little time off and take care of my family," Scaggs says. "I had two young children at the time that I wanted to spend more time with, and the time just sort of took its own course."
He also claims that he wasn't as passionate about music as he had been and didn't want to force anything.
Scaggs came back in 1988 but it wasn't until 1994 that he recorded another hit album, which was followed by four more successes over the next seven years. Then in 2003, Scaggs decided to try something a little different and released a jazz album, which debuted at No. 1 on the jazz charts.
"I was inspired by Paul Nagel, a pianist who was working in my studio and encouraged me to do this," he says. "We scored some songs together and made an album that was released five years ago, and I did this same thing with him again, exploring more progressive arrangements."
Trying new things doesn't pertain to just his musical life. When he's not performing, the 64-year-old Scaggs and his wife grow their own wine in Napa, and it's something he talks about as passionately as his music.
"We released our first wine last year and it's something that we really enjoy," Scaggs says. "It started as a small hobby but it has a way of becoming seductive and now it's a business."
But don't worry Scaggs fans, he's not leaving the music scene again anytime soon.
"I enjoy playing and I don't think that I am going to stop unless they make me," he says. "I know I may be out of the mainstream a little now, but I am exploring the music that I love."
Boz Scaggs will be at The Klein, 910 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7. Tickets are $32-$82.