A while back, I was hanging out with Nofux* when we decided it was time to put on a little music. “What do you want to listen to?” she asked, reaching for her phone. “Boz Scaggs,” I replied, without even thinking of it.
Wait…what? Boz Scaggs? Like, the early 70’s guy who has since been relegated to Spotify’s “Yacht Rock Playslist #17?”
Yep. That Guy.
Now, let’s just take a moment here to give Boz his honest props. Born William Royce Scaggs in 1944, Boz was a founding member of The Steve Miller Band before launching his solo career in 1968. But it wasn’t until 1976 that Boz found commercial success with his album “Silk Degrees,” which spawned the hits “It’s Over,” “Lido Shuffle,” “Lowdown” and “We’re All Alone.” Yeah, that’s right. You know at least three of those, and you’re singing one of them right now.
But…I mean, come on. Boz Scaggs? Wasn’t he really just the poor man’s Michael McDonald, or perhaps a less derpier version of Rupert Holmes? Actually, he was the real deal. I have profound respect for any musician who actually writes his own songs, and can sing and play
instruments, even if said musician is clad in a Miami Vice-era pastel jacket and Mom Jeans. I know, this all sounds a tad judgmental, and this among many other things makes me a Bad Human Being, but the point is I couldn’t figure out exactly what gave me the sudden and crazy hankering for The Big Boz Man.
So, I rolled with it, and just kept rolling. I found myself downloading his album “Silk Degrees,” followed by “Middleman” and the aptly-named “Hits.” I sang “Breakdown Dead Ahead” in my car with more emotion than “The Star Spangled Banner,” and even watched an interview with him on YouTube recorded in 2006. Perhaps that’s just what you do when you’re really into a certain band, but then one day, I came this close to posting a Boz Scaggs lyric as my Facebook status update:
Danger, there’s a breakdown dead ahead
Maybe you’re in way above your head
I may burn, might upset you
But you know I’d never let you down
DELETE. This is the sort of behavior that lands you in Group, as in a Group that starts each session with “My name is John T. and I nearly went emo AF on Facebook with a 1970’s lyric.”
It was time to take a little self-inventory. So, I flipped on The Wayback Machine.
Fall, 1983. I had just started my sophomore year at USC. I was beginning to find my place in the bizarre world of Los Angeles, and had this amazing group of open-minded (read: stoner) friends; brothers in arms, really. We were fueled by a passion for creativity, and if the world was indeed our oyster, we were freaking harvesting those morsels with Neptune’s net in Tomales Bay . It was all very young, very this moment right now, very I-haven’t-had-my-throat-stepped-on-by-life-eighty-five-times-yet.
And then there was Robin. Robin was a Geek Girl with wide, green eyes and a penchant for sexual adventure that rivaled Indiana Jones (if the franchise had titles like Indiana Jones and The Fountain of Infinite Lube). She didn’t just open doors, she blew them off their hinges, and yes, I used that verb on purpose. I would come back to my apartment from my favorite film class, and she would put side one of “Silk Degrees” on the record player, and she wouldn’t change position until…
There’s a magic to music: A beautiful magic that teleports us instantly to a place and time when we hear a song; A dark magic that stirs up heartache and loss and memories we hoped we’d forgotten. Strangest of all, music has an ability to remind us of who we were and what we believed. Boz Scaggs provided the soundtrack to one of the most hopeful times of my life, and thirty years later, he decided to come back with his Angels Flight polyester suit and black silk scarf to remind me that life can still be that way; the fire burns, the passion is still alive, the oysters are still there if you just throw the net JT, throw the freaking net. Maybe you’re in way above your head, the man said. But you know I’d never let you down.
Getting Your Life Reaffirmed By Boz Scaggs Pairs With: The 2013 Scaggs Vineyard Mt. Veeder Montage. Boz Scaggs owns a winery in Napa? GET OUT! I know, right? I honestly had no idea until the winery I work for was featured in the same article as his winery. Apparently, Boz and his wife moved to the Mt. Veeder region in 1996, and a friend with some leftover Syrah clippings suggested he plant them on the hillside. After a while, more Rhone varietals were planted, and by 2000, they had produced their first, fully organic Rhone-style blend.
Unfortunately, the 2013 vintage (which was released in November of 2016), is going to be the last vintage from Scaggs Vineyard, as they’ve decided to focus solely on grape growing. The wine is available exclusively from the vineyard through their website, and comes only in six packs. Get yours by clicking here.