Boz Scaggs & Michael McDonald: Smoothest Of The Smooth
For fans of '70s classic rock, it was the equivalent of three comic book heroes coming together in one Super Smooth Team when Boz Scaggs, ex-Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, and Steely Dan's Donald Fagen announced last year that they would do a short tour as "The Dukes of September." The generous show combined each performer's individual hits, choice R&B/soul covers, and surprise collaborations.
Boz Scaggs photo by Joyce Goldstein
Scaggs' own musical journey has taken him from teenage years in Dallas--where he met and later joined the group of school friend Steve Miller--to a surprisingly varied solo career that peaked commercially with the release of Silk Degrees in 1976. That record spawned the hits "Lowdown," "Lido Shuffle," and "What Can I Say."
He later scored with the Urban Cowboy soundtrack ballad "Look What You've Done to Me," "Jojo," "Breakdown Dead Ahead," and MOR hit "Heart of Mine."
More recent decades have seen Scaggs continue to tour and release records (including two collections of well-received standards), all while running his own Napa Valley winery with wife Dominique and co-owning the San Francisco nightclub Slim's. A son, Austin, is a scribe for Rolling Stone.
He played the Stafford Centre earlier this year, and returns with fellow Duke Michael McDonald for this go round. Rocks Off spoke with the man born William Royce Scaggs about his tourmate, his Houston blues hero, and how this year's California weather is affecting his crops.
Boz Scaggs: It's the same. We're using the same band for both of us. We take turns opening and closing shows, then we do a third set together.
RO: Last time we spoke, you said the Dukes would be filming a DVD. Did that happen?
BS: No, it was supposed to happen last June, but circumstances prohibited it.
RO: Is there a favorite song of Michael's that you would like to tackle, and then is there one of yours that you'd ever like to take a shot at?
BS: We actually kicked around that idea a bit because we had not done each other's songs. But Michael's songs are so distinctive. He's got such a unique approach and unusual voice, he really owns his material. There are very few covers of Michael McDonald songs out there!
But on the last tour, we sometimes did "Takin' It To the Streets" together. It's an interesting question, though.