St Petersburg Times - Boz Scaggs Interview

[Author: Christopher Blank - Jun 25, 1999]

Copyright Times Publishing Co. Jun 25, 1999

At his home in California's Napa Valley, Boz Scaggs contemplates the fruits of his labor.

No, not the two-year-old vineyard slowly coming of age on his property. Scaggs is thinking about his career, which has never been as fruitful as his fans might have hoped.

Most people remember Scaggs from his vintage years during the 1970s when he released several popular and influential albums. He was a home-grown musician with roots in Oklahoma and Texas, influenced by rhythm and blues greats such as B.B. King.

Scaggs became well-regarded for his crafty songwriting and vocal style. He remains modest about his guitar playing. As a young musician in a Dallas prep school, he left most of the juicy riffs to classmate and eventual band mate Steve Miller.

In 1976, Scaggs made the biggest album of his career. Silk Degrees produced two hit songs, Lido Shuffle and Lowdown. In the next four years, he cranked out two more well-received albums.

But it was during his most popular years that he began to lose his enthusiasm for the music. The pressure of the studio and the rigors of touring took their toll.

"I decided to take six months off, and it turned into 10 years," Scaggs said. "It was like always having final exams, having to write the songs and the lyrics and hoping the album would be successful. I've never been a person like Bruce Springsteen, who could just whip off a bunch of songs and have every one be a hit."

In 1988, Scaggs resurfaced with Other Roads. His most recent album was the 1997 release Come on Home.

Throughout a career of stops and starts, getting back to basics has been a perennial technique for Scaggs. Spending time away from songwriting allows him to get back to it with a fresh eye.

"When I was going non-stop, I sort of lost touch with the part of me that enjoyed making music," he said. "I don't think I would love it if I didn't get a chance to get away from it for a while."

Floridians will have a chance to hear Scaggs at his freshest. His new tour is making its start in Florida, at the behest of Scaggs himself, who said he regretted never appearing in Florida in the prime of his career.

In concert he plans to dish up some of his oldies, mixed with plenty of material he has never played publicly, including tunes from an album to be released next spring.

"It'll be really fresh," Scaggs said. "Some might say, 'wet behind the ears.' "

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