Boz Scaggs Interview - San Bernardino Sun - Sept. 23, 2010
Boz and his buddies get together to form The Dukes of September Michelle J. Mills, Staff Writer Posted: 09/23/2010 05:42:56 PM PDT
Boz Scaggs, Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald have long been staples of the music scene. Each has paid their dues in bands, and have been solo artists. The trio has recently revamped a past project as The Dukes of September, which brings its "Rhythm Revue" tour to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
"It's a remake in some ways of an idea that Donald and his wife, Libby Titus, came up with back in the early '90s in New York, where they put together a series of shows called the New York Rock and Soul Revue, which they brought in various musical friends. It was, for the most part, rhythm and blues material at various clubs and venues around the New York area," Scaggs said.
The band toured and released an album and a video and then parted ways.
Scaggs has been performing with McDonald over the past year and management suggested adding Fagen into the mix. The plan was to focus on the three men, rather than a group of eight or 10, and for the trio to be on stage together during the entire performance, singing and playing each other's songs.
Dubbed The Dukes of September, the band includes some members of Steely Dan and will offer up around 25 songs. There are about 40 tunes, whittled down from the hundreds that the men have discussed, that have been going through testing during rehearsals to determine the "keepers."
Scaggs was born in Ohio and grew up in Texas. He began his path to music by taking cello lessons until his family moved and there wasn't a teacher available. As a teen, he picked up the guitar and, after high school, he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"I didn't really attend classes," he said. "It was a chance for me to get out of Texas where I grew up and explore a bigger world. I met a lot of people and continued to play music and started a whole new phase of life and interests at that time."
Scaggs went straight into a musical career, playing and singing in various bands, including the Steve Miller Band, and on his own. He finally made his mark in 1976 with the album, "Silk Degrees," and its hits, "Lowdown," "Lido Shuffle" and "What Can I Say."
Although he still records and tours regularly and has a large cadre of fans, Scaggs has faded from the eyes of the media.
"I don't really look for ways to promote myself, I just do what I do," Scaggs said. "I take a lot of pride in the musicians I work with and the shows that I do."
Scaggs' writing process begins with snips of musical ideas, which he plunks out on guitar or piano and gradually hones.He doesn't work on music every day. Scaggs says he gets inspired - or has a deadline to meet.
Scaggs enjoys touring, but when he's not on the road, he can be found at the Napa Valley area home he shares with his wife, Dominique.
"We have a very small vineyard and we're building a barn; they're just projects and it seems like a source of endless possibilities. I like being up here. I like to cook," Scaggs said.
Interest in The Dukes of September has blossomed, so after the current tour ends in early October, there will be another short round of concerts in December. Scaggs is planning to use the time in betwen The Dukes' outings to work on two albums - one featuring American standards and the other filled with new original material. With his hectic schedule, Scaggs expects the efforts to hit the streets sometime in the fall of 2011.