Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




Boz Scaggs
Boz Scaggs' career is a study in patience and perseverance. He issued his first solo album in 1965 (simply titled Boz), and spent the later part of the decade as a hired hand with the Steve Miller Band, supplying vocals and guitar on their first two psychedelic rock albums from 1968, Children of the Future and Sailor. (Miller and Scaggs went to the same high school; Scaggs, whose real name is William, became Boz after Miller gave him the nickname "Boswell.")

His breakthrough came in 1976 with his seventh solo album, Silk Degrees. With the right combination of sophistication and soul, it sold over 5 million copies thanks to the hits "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle."

Scaggs retains a fresh sound by using a rotating cast of musicians, always keeping an ear open for new talent. You could fill a Hall of Fame with the folks who have backed Boz: Duane Allman, James Jamerson, David Foster and various members of Toto among them.

In 2013, Scaggs released a new album called Memphis, this time backed by guitar great Ray Parker Jr. and Muscle Shoals mainstay Spooner Oldham. The tracklist includes covers of "Corrina, Corrina," "Love on a Two Way Street" and "Rainy Night in Georgia," as well as two originals written by Boz. The same year, highlights of his recording career were put into perspective via another release, the double disc The Essential Boz Scaggs.
Boz Scaggs
Greg Prato (Songfacts): Would you agree that the new compilation does a good job of putting your entire career in perspective?

Boz Scaggs: Yeah. I think it's a pretty fair selection. I've been working with my management and the label about these songs. I think it's a pretty good representation of what I've been doing for all these years.

Songfacts: Are there any tunes on the collection that maybe you forgot about and perhaps rediscovered by them appearing on this?

Boz: There certainly are. I don't really, as a habit, listen too much to the back catalogue, and it was really interesting to play it back. After all this time, some of these things I haven't listened to in decades. So it's kind of funny to check in on that strange person you used to be.

Songfacts: Any specific songs?

Boz: I didn't totally forget about them. There was a song called "Might Have to Cry." There's a song I did in Muscle Shoals called "My Time," which was really an exotic kind of beautiful song I'd forgotten about. There was a song from my first Atlantic album called "Downright Women," which I actually still get requests for and I hadn't listened to in a long time that I'm thinking of pulling out of the mothballs again. There are a couple of songs off an album I did called Dig; it came out about 12 years ago and I consider it some of the best work I've ever done. One was called "Miss Riddle," and the other one was called "Thanks To You." That really kind of knocked me out, not having heard them for a while.

Songfacts: Looking back at all your albums, is there one that you think maybe didn't get the praise that it should have when it first came out, or maybe an album that holds up that people haven't really discovered yet?

Boz: I would say so. There's an album called Dig that came out September 11, 2001, the day of the big bang. All the publicity and the whole campaign went down the tubes with that horrible event, but the record remains to me the best collection of music I've ever made.

Songfacts: How would you say that you write your best songs?

Boz: I usually find some chord changes on a piano or on the guitar and I just play around with it to the point that maybe I make a rhythm track with a drum machine. Then I'll add some instruments and find a melody and find a place for my voice. Once I add my voice to it, the singing of it begins to suggest a certain mood or maybe a subject, and I'll just expand on that and add one thing and another and weigh it out and throw it away and pick it up and start over.

That's one way. That's probably the most common way that I work.

Songfacts: How proficient are you on piano?

Boz: I don't really play piano. I'm more familiar with a guitar and I tend to go over the same road time and time again on a guitar, whereas with the piano, I make mistakes and I tend to follow my mistakes and get more original ideas when I'm banging on the piano.

Songfacts: Did you have any idea while you were writing and recording Silk Degrees that it was going to be a classic and also such a big hit?

Boz: No. I think if it had been my first or second album, I would have had such thoughts, but it was my seventh or eighth album, I suppose [it was Boz's seventh solo release]. I'd had those thoughts with earlier albums and realized that it's sort of useless to think about such things. You just do what you do, and the point was just to do them.

Of course, when it did become such a big record, I was working very hard and just following the natural trend of things. I'm really grateful that it expanded my audience; it gave me the opportunity to keep on doing what I was doing. It's carried my career even today - it's very resonant in terms of what people want to hear and I still enjoy playing those songs.

Toto was an agglomeration of six of the most respected studio musicians of the '70s, and a throwback to a time when you could love a band without being able to recognize the lead singer or even know his name (it was Bobby Kimball). Before they ruled the FM airwaves with the hits "Hold the Line," "Rosanna," and "Africa," eventual Toto members David Paich (keyboardist), Jeff Porcaro (drummer), and David Hungate (bassist) all appeared on Silk Degrees, with Paich - Toto's main songwriter - co-writing two of the album's biggest hits with Scaggs: "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle." These Toto contributors (as well as guitarist Steve Lukather) would go on to appear on many future Scaggs recordings.

Songfacts: As far as working in the studio on that album, I've always found it interesting that the musicians that would later form Toto worked on that album, and they also went on to work on Michael Jackson's Thriller, which I don't think many people know about. How was it working with those musicians that went on to form Toto?

Boz: Oh, they were the greatest. It was just wonderful working with them. They were friends, they were young. They were only like 20 years old when we got together, and they had fresh ideas and a lot of energy. We ended up going on the road together for a couple of years, and I still keep in touch with some of those guys. They were just wonderful.

Songfacts: Who would you say are some of your favorite musicians that you've worked with on albums looking back?
Scott Edwards - previously with Stevie Wonder - played bass on Silk Degrees and toured with Boz in 1977. He says that overseas, the backing musicians get a lot more attention: "When we landed in whatever country in Europe it was, the reporters were running to me and Jeff [Porcaro] more than they were to Boz, because we were heroes over there. So it was kind of unreal to see the respect that they give musicians as opposed to being here in the States."

Boz: There's a guitar player named Ray Parker, Jr. who was a star in his own right [best known for the hit theme song for Ghostbusters] who I love working with.

Recently, working with Steve Jordan, drummer and producer of my last album [Memphis], was just great. He's one of my favorite musicians.

Marcus Miller is a bass player who arranged and co-wrote a number of things with me at a point, and he was great.

David Paich is my favorite all-time collaborator. He and I wrote "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" and other hits, and collaborated on this album Dig, which I had mentioned.

David Foster was a great collaborator and an amazing musical mind that I worked with on an album called Middle Man.

The guys at Muscle Shoals were fantastic to work with. Gosh, there's so many. I really have made a point of getting together with some of the best musicians around. That's my favorite part of this whole thing is getting to play with great guys.

Songfacts: Didn't James Jamerson play bass on one of your albums, too?

Boz: Yeah, he played on Slow Dancer. You don't get much better than that in the bass chair.

Songfacts: Tell me about recording the song "Lowdown."

Boz: That was the first song that I wrote with those Toto guys, with David Paich in particular. When we first met, the producer suggested we try to write a song or two together. We took off for a weekend to this getaway outside of LA where there was a piano and stayed up all night banging around ideas. We hit on "Lowdown," and then we brought it back to the band and recorded it. We were just thrilled with that one. That was the first song that we attempted, and it had a magic to it.

Songfacts: How about "Lido Shuffle?"

Boz: "Lido" was a song that I'd been banging around. And I kind of stole... well, I didn't steal anything. I just took the idea of the shuffle. There was a song that Fats Domino did called "The Fat Man" that had a kind of driving shuffle beat that I used to play on the piano, and I just started kind of singing along with it. Then I showed it to Paich and he helped me fill it out. It ended up being "Lido Shuffle."

Songfacts: And how did "Jojo" come about?

Boz: "Jojo" was a collaboration with David Foster and then one of the background singers, David Lasley, helped fill out some of the lyrics on that one. The music was Foster; he just starts playing it and I start singing along with it and wrote the words. Then Lasley filled in some words, too.

David Foster was writing some great R&B songs at the time, writing with Earth, Wind & Fire and others. He was just David Foster, he's just a genius.

Songfacts: Do you prefer writing on your own or writing with a collaborator?

Boz: I don't really enjoy collaborating all that much. I'm not very good at it. I wish I had more opportunity to do that, because it's great, particularly when I'm working with a very strong piano player, arranger, or somebody who has arrangements in mind who can fill out ideas in a way. I can come up a skeleton of a melody or some chord changes, but then when there's someone with an arranger's mind, it helps fill out the idea in a way that I cannot on my own.

Songfacts: And who would you say were the best collaborators you've worked with?

Boz: Definitely David Paich, David Foster. Marcus Miller, Steve Jordan, although we didn't co-write together. But I could show him a song and his arrangement ideas are brilliant.

Songfacts: What is your opinion on the current state of recording? Back in the '70s it was totally different, because you would go in a recording studio and also take your time, whereas now it seems like a lot of musicians can make a professional sounding recording at home with such programs as Garage Band and their own recording equipment.

Boz: I think it's great. Everybody who gets their hands on professional recording equipment, it's fabulous, it's wonderful. To me, the spirit of the music that I've always loved is a collaborative effort; it's fun to be in the room with a drummer and a bass player and other musicians. And I think that there's some magic that happens with collaboration. These home workstations are wonderful in filling out an idea, but I don't think that they are necessarily the means to the best ending. I think they're wonderful tools. But music, to me, is a collaborative thing.

December 5, 2013. Get more at bozscaggs.com.

Comments: 2

What memories, Slow Dancer started my love for Boz's great music.
-Bii from Montana

I love Lowdown.....but Jojo is a favorite of mine. Good to see Boz with a new album!
-Chucky from NY

Name
Where are you from?
Your Comment
 security code

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceAnnie Haslam of Renaissance
The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.
Sam PhillipsSam Phillips
Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind. Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.
Kristine WKristine W
Only Madonna, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson and Rihanna have more #1 Dance hits than Kristine.
Van Dyke ParksVan Dyke Parks
U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Search in Songwriter Interviews
search
Songwriter Interviews titles
Aaron Beam of Red Fang
Aaron Gillespie
Aaron Lewis
Adam Duritz of Counting Crows
Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne
Adam Young of Owl City
Al Anderson of NRBQ
Al Jourgensen of Ministry
Al Kooper
Alan Merrill of The Arrows
Alex Call (867-5309)
Allee Willis: Boogie Wonderland, Friends theme
Amanda Palmer
Amy Grant
Andy McClusky of OMD
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash
Angelo Moore of Fishbone
Ann Hampton Callaway
Anna Canoni about Woody Guthrie
Annie Haslam of Renaissance
Antigone Rising
Art Alexakis of Everclear
Asher Roth
Badi Assad
Bart Millard of MercyMe
Becca Stevens
Benny Mardones
Bill Withers
Billy Gould of Faith No More
Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Montana ("More Than A Memory" - Garth Brooks)
Billy Steinberg
Bo Bice
Bobby Liebling of Pentagram
Bobby Whitlock
Boz Scaggs
Brad Arnold from 3 Doors Down
Brad Smith of Blind Melon
Brandi Carlile
Brandon Heath
Brenda Russell
Brian "Head" Welch of Korn, Love and Death
Bronze Radio Return
Bruce Robison
Bryan Adams
Butch Vig
Buzz Osborne of the Melvins
Carol Kaye
Chad Channing (Nirvana, Before Cars)
Chad Urmston of Dispatch
Chan Kinchla of Blues Traveler
Charles Fox
Charlie Benante of Anthrax
Charlie Daniels
Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's
Chris August
Chris Fehn of Slipknot
Chris Isaak
Chris Knight
Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes
Chris Squire of Yes
Chris Tomlin
Chris Willis
Chris Wilson of The Flamin' Groovies
Christopher Cross
Chuck Billy of Testament
Cody Hanson of Hinder
Colbie Caillat
Corey Hart
Craig Goldy of Dio
Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets
Cy Curnin of The Fixx
Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay
Dan Reed
Daniel Moore ("Shambala," "My Maria")
Danko Jones
Danny Kortchmar
Dar Williams
Darren King of MUTEMATH
Darryl Worley
Dave Clark
Dave Innis of Restless Heart
Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
Dave Stewart of Eurythmics
Dave Wakeling of The English Beat
Dean Pitchford
Denny Randell
Desmond Child
Devin Townsend
Devo
Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)
Dez Fafara of DevilDriver and Coal Chamber
Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)
Dino Cazares of Fear Factory
Don Brewer of Grand Funk
Don Felder
Donald Fagen
Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)
Dr. John
Dropkick Murphys
dUg Pinnick of King's X
Duncan Phillips of Newsboys
Dwight Twilley
Eddie Carswell of NewSong
Eddie Reeves
Edwin McCain
El Sloan of Crossfade
Elvin Bishop
Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power
Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls
Eric Burdon
Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots
Francesca Battistelli
Francis Rossi of Status Quo
Gary Brooker of Procol Harum
Gary Lewis
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
Gary Numan
Gentle Giant
Georgia Middleman of Blue Sky Riders
Gilby Clarke
Glen Burtnik
Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket
Gordon Bahary
Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)
Graham Parker
Graham Russell of Air Supply
Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Gretchen Peters (Independence Day)
Guy Clark
Gym Class Heroes
Hal Ketchum
Harold Brown of War
Harry Shearer
Hayes Carll
Henry McCullough
Henry Paul of The Outlaws, Blackhawk
Holly Knight
Holly Williams
Howard Bellamy
Howard Jones
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull
Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"
Ian Astbury of The Cult
Ian Thornley of Big Wreck
Ingrid Croce
J.D. Souther
Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees
Jake Owen
James Williamson of Iggy & the Stooges
Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed
Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go`s
Janis Ian
Jann Klose
Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup
Jason Michael Carroll
Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)
Jason Reeves
Jason Roy of Building 429
Jay Graydon
Jeff Walker of Carcass
Jello Biafra
Jeph Howard of The Used
Jeremy DePoyster of The Devil Wears Prada
Jess Origliasso of The Veronicas
Jesse Valenzuela of Gin Blossoms
Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds
Jimbeau Hinson
Jimmy Jam
Jimmy Webb
JJ Burnel of The Stranglers
Jo Dee Messina
Joe Elliott of Def Leppard
Joe Ely
Joe Grushecky
Joe Jackson
Joe King Carrasco
Joe Rickard of Red
Joel Crouse
Joey + Rory
Joey Burns of Calexico
John Doe of X
John Gallagher of Raven
John Lee Hooker
John Oates
John Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls
John Waite
John Wheeler of Hayseed Dixie
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde
Jon Anderson of Yes
Jon Foreman of Switchfoot
Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Jon Tiven
Josh Kelley
Josh Shilling
Josh Thompson
Julian Lennon
Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
Kasim Sulton (Utopia, Meat Loaf)
Keith Morris of Black Flag and OFF!
Keith Reid of Procul Harum
Kelvin Swaby of The Heavy
Ken Block of Sister Hazel
Kenny Vance
Kerry Livgren of Kansas
Kim Thayil of Soundgarden
Kirk Franklin
Kristian Bush of Sugarland
Kristine W
Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust
Larry Burnett of Firefall
Larry Wiegand of Crow
Laura Bell Bundy
Lecrae
Lee Ranaldo
Leslie West of Mountain
Lindi Ortega
Lisa Loeb
Lita Ford
Little Big Town
Lori McKenna
Louie Perez of Los Lobos
Lukas Nelson
Mac Powell of Third Day
Marc Roberge of O.A.R. (Of A Revolution)
Marcy Playground
Maria Muldaur
Maria Neckam
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
Marshall Crenshaw
Martin Page
Martin Smith of Delirous?
Martyn Ware of Heaven 17
Marvin Etzioni of Lone Justice
Mary Gauthier
Mat Kearney
Matisyahu
Matt Pike of High On Fire
Matt Pryor of Get Up Kids
Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon
Matt Sorum
Matt Thiessen of Relient K
Matthew West
Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)
Mia Doi Todd
Michael Bolton
Michael Gilbert of Flotsam and Jetsam
Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root
Michael Schenker
Michael Sweet of Stryper
Mick Jones of Foreigner
Mike Campbell
Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North
Mike Love of The Beach Boys
Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies
Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater
Miles Doughty of Slightly Stoopid
Millie Jackson
Mitch Myers about Shel Silverstein
Mitts of Madball
Mountain Heart
Neil Fallon of Clutch
Neil Giraldo
Nick Van Eede from Cutting Crew
Nick Waterhouse
Nick Wheeler of The All-American Rejects
Nina Persson of The Cardigans
Nona Hendryx
Oliver Leiber
Our Lady Peace
Ozomatli
Pam Tillis
Pat Alger ("The Thunder Rolls", "Unanswered Prayers")
Paul Dean of Loverboy
Paul Evans
Paul Williams
Pegi Young
Penny Ford of Snap!
Pete Anderson
Peter Lord
Petula Clark
Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")
Philip Cody
Queensrÿche founder Geoff Tate
Radney Foster
Raghav
Ralph Casale - Session Pro
Randy Goodrum (Oh Sherrie)
Randy Houser
Randy Montana
Randy Newman
Randy Sharp (From Glen Campbell to Edgar Winter)
Randy Stonehill
Rebecca St. James
Reverend Horton Heat
Rhonda Vincent
Richard Hell
Richard Marx
Richard Patrick of Filter
Richie McDonald of Lonestar
Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)
Rick Finch
Rick Springfield
Rick Wartell of Trouble
Rik Emmett of Triumph
Robert Ellis
Roger Clyne
Rosanne Cash
Rupert Hine
Ryan Star
Sam Phillips
Sandy Chapin
Sarah Brightman
Scorpions Rudolf Schenker
Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders
Scott Jason of Thriving Ivory
Scott Stapp
Scotty Emerick (Beer For My Horses)
Serena Ryder
Seth Swirsky
Shane Volk of One Bad Son
Shaun Morgan of Seether
Shawn Smith of Brad
Shelby Lynne
Skip Ewing ("Love, Me," "The Gospel According To Luke")
Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D.
Speech of Arrested Development
Spooner Oldham
Squeeze: Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford
Stan Ridgway
Steel Magnolia
Stephen Christian of Anberlin
Steve Azar
Steve Hindalong of The Choir
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai
Sugarland
Sum 41
Sunny Sweeney
Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson
Tanita Tikaram
Taylor Dayne
Terry Cashman
Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")
Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos and Lost Dogs
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
The Dandy Warhols
The Fratellis
The Limousines
They Might Be Giants
Thomas Dolby
Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs
Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles
Tina Shafer
Tobin Esperance of Papa Roach
Toby Lightman
Todd Harrell of 3 Doors Down and 7dayBinge
Tom Gabel of Against Me!
Tom Johnston from The Doobie Brothers
Tom Keifer of Cinderella
Tommy James
Tommy Lee James ("She's My Kind Of Rain")
Toni Wine
Tonio K
Tony Hiller and Brotherhood of Man
Tony Joe White
Travis Stever of Coheed and Cambria
Trent Wagler of The Steel Wheels
Udo Dirkschneider (UDO, ex-Accept)
Van Dyke Parks
Vanessa Carlton
Ville Valo of HIM
Vince Clarke
Vinny May of Kodaline
Vonda Shepard
Wayne Hussey of The Mission
Wednesday 13
Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Black Light Burns
Will Jennings
Yael Naim
Yoko Ono
Zac Hanson
Zakk Wylde
ARCHIVES (Show)
Other Songfacts Blogs
Songwriter Interviews
Song Writing
Music Quiz
Fact or Fiction
They're Playing My Song