More than 10 years in the making, BOSTON's new studio album, "Life, Love & Hope" is ready for release! Finally emerging from his Hideaway Studio II, Tom Scholz says, "These are songs from the heart, each of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, perform and record, always up to the demands of BOSTON's harshest critic, me. They have all been meticulously recorded to analogue tape on the same machines and equipment used for BOSTON's hits for the past 35 years."
Available on December 3 on Frontiers Records, this album includes lead vocals from Brad Delp, Tommy DeCarlo, Kimberley Dahme, David Victor, and Tom Scholz, and features tracks with the classic BOSTON sound, as well as the latest in the evolution of Scholz' musical artistry. "I intentionally stayed close to the early BOSTON style on some of the songs, even using the same amps and instruments; on others I let my imagination run wild," says Tom.
All the tracks have the characteristic BOSTON trademark guitars, harmonies, and immaculately-crafted sound. Tom worked very hard to fulfill the expectations of BOSTON fans new and old, and has created a diverse yet cohesive album that truly has something for everyone.
Tom's beloved Les Paul, "Mighty Mouse" was featured in Lisa Johnson's "108 Rock Star Guitars," a book that begins with Jeff Beck's and ends with Tom Scholz and Les Paul's unique instruments. This beautiful, artfully-shot coffee-table book provides incredible photographs with stories and insights into some of the personalities of the proud guitar owners. Check it out at 108rockstarguitars.com!
Meanwhile, in other guitar news, Gibson released their limited edition Tom Scholz 1968 Les Paul replica earlier this year, an honor that only a chosen few guitarists have received. The model (Collector's Choice #10) was copied down to the most precise detail to look, feel, and play exactly like original guitar Tom used to record the first BOSTON album and final demos. Switching between the original and his copy, Tom said "I can't feel any difference at all, they did an amazing job." Tom plans to bring his new "original" guitar on the next BOSTON tour.
From Gibson, "In its own right, this example of a 1968 Goldtop (now with the top stripped of the original finish to expose its maple top) is an amazing instrument; a nice 'cheeky' neck, a flexible tone palate via Tom's preferred P-90 and Dimarzio Super Distortion pickup combination, and a patina that comes from a lifetime of extensive live and studio use. One of two in Tom Scholz's collection, this particular '68 Les Paul Goldtop Deluxe is the first 'real' guitar Tom ever owned, acquired over 30 years ago and essential to his very unique sound and career. At Tom's request, Gibson Custom has recreated it as he used it on the first BOSTON album, after the addition of the humbucking pickup and the removal of the original gold finish. Collector's Choice #10 represents the guitar whose tone turned heads when BOSTON first exploded onto the rock scene in 1976, with their inaugural album
And of course, every curve, output measure, ding and scratch has been studied for accuracy by the Gibson Custom Shop, verified by Tom Scholz and brought to you in incredible detail." For more info, visit: Gibson.com
Here are a few photos of this latest addition to Tom's collection. As one BOSTON listener observed, "Now Tom has three guitars."
On October 6, Tom Scholz received PeTA's "Compassionate Action Award" for being a founding member of PeTA, as well as for inspiring others to extend their compassion to all living beings. The award was presented to Tom by PeTA President and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, on her second stop of "The Naked Truth" tour. After an impassioned address by Ingrid, Tom offered a few words urging people to be not just followers, but leaders in the struggle against animal cruelty.
For more info, visit peta.org
Boston Strong Benefit Concert
Finally catching our breath following the Boston Strong benefit and three weeks of preparation for our set there last Thursday night. What an incredible night! What an honor it was to play for this amazing gathering.
Four weeks ago I was immersed in the final stages of production for a new BOSTON studio album when I got word that New Kids manager Jared Paul was trying to put together a benefit concert to raise money for the One Fund, and wanted BOSTON to play. Since the Marathon bombings my wife and I had been trying to think of something special we could do to help the victims, and here was the perfect opportunity. Kim and I, along with a lot of other people, dropped what we were doing and dove into preparations for a BOSTON set for the Boston Strong concert.
It's always hard to assemble a crew when we are off the road, especially on short notice, but nearly all of our regular technical crew members went out of their way to get there for rehearsal and the show. The band members also have other lives when we're not touring, but three weeks after we got the call, the band was ready, firing on all cylinders, and the crew had our gear up and running operating at full throttle.
BOSTON has played the Garden many times, but this night had an incredible level of excitment and a deep emotional undercurrent that I hadn't felt before. We may be just another band out of Boston, but as Gary Pihl, Tracy Ferry and I began the opening chord crescendo of the national anthem, I knew this was not going to be just another night on stage. The pride of being a part of this unity, of this collective brotherhood, of being American, was overwhelming as the band launched into the Star Spangled Banner.
I've never been so honored and thrilled to be a part of something, and I know that sentiment was shared by the entire band and crew. Our deepest thanks to our very hard working staff, friends, and the concert organizers who put together this awesome event which enabled us to help those who suffered such terrible losses in this tragedy. Our hearts go out to all of them.
We're honored to be one of the performers asked to participate at the Boston Strong Concert on May 30th. Living in the Boston area has given us a unique perspective of how really strong Boston is. It's our great pleasure to be able to help the victims of the attack at the Marathon. We hope our music can be part of the healing process.
Friday night, April 19th, 2013
Tonight I'm going to bed a little prouder of the city of Boston, a little prouder to be an American. The amazing selflessness of responders at the Marathon attack, the outpouring of grief and support from an entire city - an entire country, followed by the relentless determination of thousands of professionals and citizens over the past five days that culminated in the removal of these two murderous cowards from our streets has renewed a spirit of hope after the the horrible losses that have weighed on us all.
I like to think that adversity has made me pretty tough. I woke up on Tuesday with stoic resolve to forge ahead in spite of what had just happened the day before. But when I turned on the TV 24 hours after the bombings, and saw that picture of little Martin, I broke down. I'm thankful I was alone at that moment, I still can't think about it without tears.
I wonder if others have the same feeling, that all four of those who died were not just young, but were the kind of wonderful human beings who brought joy and light to those around them. These were the targets of the maniacs. These and the dozens of horribly injured innocent people whose only crime was to help celebrate someone's personal achievement at the Boston Marathon. The lives that will be forever altered number in the thousands.
People struggle to make sense of it, but of course there is no sense to be made. Whether psychotic savagery is inspired by religious fanaticism, or some other motivation really makes little difference; the needless loss and suffering that result are utterly without logic regardless of origin. I think it's this lack of an actual reason, even a perverse one, that makes the loss even more devastating.
In the news tonight reporters spoke of relief now that the second killer has been apprehended. For me it was not relief from fear that a madman was no longer on the loose, but from the uncertainty of whether justice would prevail, and how long it might take.
For those twisted individuals who think they have delivered a message to us, I say you have failed. Without reason there is no message, and we here in Boston are not afraid.
We may not be perfect, but his is one hell of a city, one hell of of a country.
To Infinity and Beyond...
Many exciting things are moving forward as we head into spring 2013.
Tom is buried in the studio, lovingly coaxing his legacy analogue equipment to bear with him just a little longer while he wraps up the mix of his latest song, "Someday." Although he has listened to it more times than he cares to count, he is still very excited about it, saying, "This final song might be the title track for the new BOSTON studio album; it reminds me of the up tempo rockers I wrote for the debut album over 30 years ago."
With a little more tweaking, then some re-tweaking, then a tad more tweaking, Tom says the new album should be ready for release by mid year ... that would be mid year 2013. "After completing this mix I only need to redo vocals on a couple of the cuts, remix them, and sequence and master the album. After working on this project for over 10 years I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel," he says. Tom plans to start work on the long awaited BOSTON live DVD as soon as the studio album is finished.
Meanwhile, in other cool news, Gibson is honoring Tom and his original Les Paul with a limited edition Gibson Custom Collectors Choice guitar. (His is #10.) From Gibson: "If you’ve ever listened to the music of the legendary rock band BOSTON, then you’ve already heard the latest Collector’s Choice Les Paul. In its own right, this example of a 1968 Goldtop (now with the top stripped off the original finish to expose its maple top) is an amazing instrument; a nice, “cheeky” neck, a flexible tone palate via Tom’s preferred P-90 and DiMarzio Super Distortion pickup combination, and a patina that comes from a lifetime of extensive live and studio use. One of two in Tom Scholz’s collection, this particular ’68 Les Paul Goldtop Deluxe is the first 'real' guitar Tom ever owned, acquired over 30 years ago and essential to his very unique sound and career." Tom Loves the attention to detail that was apparent in duplicating his guitar. He says, "The precision with which Gibson has replicated the physical properties of my original Les Paul is astounding. This guitar feels and plays exactly like my guitar, and the resemblance to the original is uncanny. But most impressive is that it actually sounds like my guitar! I'm really humbled that such an elite shop would go to so much trouble to reproduce the guitar I play." Tom says he will donate all the proceeds from his royalties on the sales to charity.
Check gibson.com for details on purchasing your own Tom Scholz Les Paul.
March, BOSTON was presented with the Legend Award at the 5th Annual Limelight Magazine Music Awards held at the Rock Junction in Coventry, RI. The Legend Award honors bands that originated in New England that have been at it for at least 25 years. It's hard to believe that it's been thirty seven years since the debut album was first heard on the airwaves!
Thanks to Jason Kenney & Katie Botelho at Limelight for their devotion to promoting New England musicians, recognizing the heart, soul and passion that it takes to pursue their craft, and to all of the fans who support them! “When we solicited nominations for the Legend Award in early January, the overwhelming majority recommended BOSTON. We are very pleased to present this award to them this year,” stated Kenney. Gary Pihl says, "We've all grown up listening to our own legends like Chuck Berry and Eric Clapton, it's a real honor that someone is looking up to us as a musical influence." Tom was very humbled by the award, and said, " I don't really feel very legendary, but I sure do appreciate all those people who recognize the effort that has gone into BOSTON's music over the years ... thank you."
In addition to having friendly staff, great food and local and national acts performing live, the Rock Junction which hosted the awards surprised Tom and Gary with a unique piece of BOSTON history ... as they took the stage to accept the award they stood in front of the drum riser that was used on 5 BOSTON tours! The riser was so large, a new stage was constructed to accommodate it. Rumor has it that drummers performing at the club love it ... it's big! The acoustics are surprisingly good at this venue, you can actually hear the people on stage as well as the ones next to you.
Last month bandmates Gary Pihl, Tommy DeCarlo and David Victor performed at the Kidz b Kidz 5th anniversary party in Boston. Supporting Kidz b Kidz benefits those dedicated to enhancing the lives of children who are in the hospital, and those determined to find cures for them. Proceeds from the sale of Kidz b Kidz products (all made with artwork created by kids!) are donated to hospitals nationwide. For more information, visit kidzbkidz.org
All of the band members are busy with their own projects. They all had a great time playing live last summer and are looking forward to going out again next year, monster gong and all. Check back on bandboston.com for further updates.
Gary Pihl and the DECEMBER PEOPLE Food Bank shows
Thanks to everyone in the Monterey area for another sold out show! They say even more food was raised this year.
Here're a couple of pictures: The guys on stage and afterwards with a food bank volunteer. And for those of you on the east coast, they'll be at the Levoy Theater in Millville, NJ on December 7th, 2012.
To all of our friends and fans around the world we send good wishes from the BOSTON family to you each and everyone. With gratitude, we appreciate your support and comments throughout the year. They lift us up.
We want to thank all our friends and fans for giving us the opportunity to take our show on the road this summer! As Tom says, "We don't get out of the house much." It's so nice to have received the warm welcomes and great reviews from every town we visited.
Most of the shows we did were "An Evening With BOSTON", but Kansas, Night Ranger and Starship made for some terrific extended concerts. That's why the sudden passing of Mark Abrahamian from Starship was so sad for all of us. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and bandmates.
We've met some wonderful people this summer and it's been our pleasure to have been able to play BOSTON music on stage while our new and old friends and fans were singing along! We hope to see you all again.
We've done 20 shows now and each one has been a gas, gas, gas. It's
great to play places we've never been to, or that we haven't been to
recently. We've connected with friends, fans and family that we
haven't seen for a while.
As some of you may know, we play our national anthem at some shows or
special sporting events. When we saw that we had some Canadian shows
booked this year, Tom added an instrumental arrangement of
their national anthem, "O Canada". It was a real special moment when
we played it in London, Ontario and the whole audience started to sing
We've got more shows planned for the summer, from North Dakota to
Maryland, so please check our Tour page to see if we're going to be
near you. We'd love to have you singing along with us! Air guitarists
Check out this time lapse video that our video guy, Taylor Price, put together. It's the whole show from load-in, set-up, sound check, performance and load-out.
We've done four shows and I've got to say we've got the best fans in the world! Everybody was singing along and having as much fun as we were. Check out these photos from Hollywood that Bob Summers shot ... click hereWe're almost on our way ... we'll be packing up the trucks next week and some of the shows are sold out already! It's been great to hear that our friends and fans are looking forward to our summer shows as much as we are. Here's an update of how things are shaping up.
We were hoping to bring back the same band and crew that toured with us last time but, as you can imagine, it's tough to get the schedules to coincide for a dozen or so people on any given summer. Besides Tom and myself on guitars, Tommy DeCarlo will be on lead vocals, sounding better than ever - if that's possible! Curly Smith, our drummer from the '95 and '97 tours will be keeping us in time again. Hot bassist, Tracy Ferrie, will be a great addition to the low end. Tom and I performed with Tracy at the benefit for victims of the Station Night Club fire a couple of years ago. The only really new guy that has
never performed with us is David Victor, a terrific singer/guitarist. David walked into the first day of rehearsal singing great and he knew
how to play all the rhythm and lead guitar parts of all the songs! We know you're going to like him as much as we do. Just to let you know, Kimberley
Dahme is producing "Kids on Stage" in Nashville and Jeff Neal is taking some well-deserved time off to spend with his young family. We wish them well and hope to see them return to work with us in the future.
And speaking of returning, we've got almost the entire crew from the last tour. Bill Ryan is back as front of house sound engineer. Gregg Maltby will be on lights and our hard working on-stage crew is back; Buck Burbury, Eric Harris, Rick Pietila, and Alex Wray.
But you are the reason we're hitting the road this year! There's nothing better than playing a summer concert and hearing all our friends and fans singing along to BOSTON songs!
See you soon,
It's only a month away from our first show and we're really anxious to
play! Ever since we announced the dates, we've been getting song
requests from our friends and fans. It's so nice to hear how one song
or another meant a lot to someone or brings them back to a special
time in their lives. We feel the same way, so we're going to be
playing some stuff that we haven't played for quite a while. We hope
you enjoy hearing them as much as we're going to enjoy playing them!
See you soon...
Just 10 months till the end ... at least till the end of the Mayan calendar anyway. I wonder, did they mean to prophesize the end of the world, or was the December 21st planetary alignment just a convenient place to stop chiseling stone tablets on a really long calendar project? Some people think it is the same thing, so why take a chance? If I was making a bucket list, it would definitely include going out one more time to play some BOSTON shows - before time runs out!
So just to be safe, we are going to do exactly that. I don't really think the world is going to end this year, but on the off chance the Mayans were on to something, let me take a moment to thank all of you for helping make the BOSTON experience an awesome ride. One of the best things about BOSTON to me is its fans; they are some of the nicest people I've ever met, and collectively the best crowds anyone could wish to play for.
I regret that we can't play as many shows as we would like, but we will do as much as we can in North America. Check out our TOUR page for the list of shows that have been confirmed so far, and if you can, come out to enjoy another night of BOSTON's music before the next great coronal mass ejection.
For special access to tickets for BOSTON fans (where available) prior to public onsale, click here.
Building your own guitar at age 10 ...
Work hard, Play Guitar Harder
Chapter 1, The Phoenix
"That's Horrible ... definitely not ... ewww!" ... I was trying to think of a good guitar design but nothing good was coming. And I had already drawn ten!
Earlier that day I, wanting to make a guitar, had walked into a guitar shop called 'Midwest Guitar'. Once inside, I found the owner named Mike. After hearing me out, Mike handed me a large sheet of paper and said,
"Draw your design."
Draw, I did and EVENTUALLY it appeared after many erasures: 'The Phoenix' and it would be righteous. It would look as if somebody caught the back on fire and when painted red; it would scream, "FLAME!" all over it! I loved it but I could tell Mike was the kind of guy who liked to stay in the box. This was going to be a big stretch for him!
Chapter 2, Drawing Out
I returned to 'Midwest Guitar' the next day when Mike handed me a block of wood the size of the paper he'd given me the day before.
"Now," he said, "We're going to sketch out your paper design on the wood. Let's see what you dr-- ...Whoa!" he said as he stared down in amazement at what I had drawn.
"Oh boy, this might take some time," he muttered.
He was right. All the turns and curves and loop de loops (I'm kidding, of course!) of the flames would be hard to cut out!
I started drawing. I got the front down but the flames on the back were kinda' hard. It quickly became apparent to me that it was far easier to draw on paper.
"Uh, Mike I think I need so'e help."
He came over and said, "Well, I'm no good at drawing. You want me to call over the guy that's goin' to paint it?"
"Sure", I said.
He dialed him up and after a few words he hung up and said, "He'll be over in a bit."
"Cool," I said and we waited a bit, drawing out the other components of the guitar.
Chapter 3, He's no painter
The "painter" turned out to be a tattoo artist named Chris (Mike had neglected to tell me how my guitar painter really made his living). I was a little bit doubtful at first but he turned out to be dang good at drawing! He made, in pencil, every line sure and curve perfect with one uniform sweep. When he was finished he announced, "How's that?"
"Great," I muttered, a little bit jealous.
Then he picked up the neck of the soon to be guitar and started playing it!
Chapter 4, Power Tools
"This is going to be one rockin' guitar, man!"
When Chris left, we took the block of wood with Chris' flame design on it downstairs to the basement where Mike kept all of his power tools. As soon as I got a glimpse of that room, my mind told me "hardware store". Jigsaws, belt sanders, air brushes - all the tools one would need to run a woodworking factory. We brought the block of wood over to the ban saw for some "surgery".
Mike started lecturing me about safety and after a while he flipped on the on switch and showed me the different ways of cutting. I watched him for a while and then he turned off the deafeningly loud machine and asked me if I wanted to try. I said "yes" and did the exact same thing that he did. It was actually kind of fun. When we were done cutting, he flipped off the switch and we walked back up the stairs to the shop.
Chapter 5, The Fun Part
"Now," he said, "here's the fun part. You take this (he handed me a piece of sandpaper) and start rubbing it all over the wood until it's smooth, okay?"
"Okay.", I answered.
It seemed like fun at first but after five minutes, my hands felt like they had had arthritis for thirty years! I kept sanding until it was time to go home and when I started to walk out the door for home; Mike stopped me and said, "Hey, hey, hey, you've got some homework!" I sighed as he handed me the sandpaper that he intended for me to continue to use on my guitar’s body at home.
Chapter 6, Homework
I knew I had to sand it and sand some more until it was as smooth as it could be. This added up to being about a full week of "homework". When I thought it was smooth enough, I brought it into Mike; who, after rubbing his hands all over it for about thirty seconds, announced,
"That's good, but it needs to be smoother."
I almost wanted to cry. I sanded it for about three days more, and brought it in to Mike again.
"That'll work." he said casually.
That will work? I almost wanted to punch him! He should say "Amazing!" or "Whoa!" at the very least.
Chapter 7, I See Red
The next day, I went across the street to paint my guitar at Chris' tattoo shop. He had already given it a base coat of lollipop red and I was about to witness him airbrush-on the flames. I watched him slowly make out every canary yellow, fruity orange and icy white wisp perfectly as if in dance step with my lady guitar. By the time he was done, I was surprised to learn that he had spent over three hours on her, my "Phoenix". To me, it seemed like three minutes!
Chapter 8, More Than A Feeling
I entered 'Midwest Guitar Shop' the next day, knowing that it would be my last. Mike had my guitar components laid out on one of his many work benches.
"What are we going to do today, Mike", I asked as if I didn't already know.
"Well", Mike said,
"We're going to put all the pieces together so that you take home with you a solid guitar."
I approached the table and we started carefully putting on the neck as if every bolt was a child growing up into the grain of society. We then put in the pick-ups among other details and lastly; we strung it. I let out a sigh of relief as I stared down at my custom guitar that had taken shape and form.
"She's beautiful", I said.
Mike agreed. After basking in her beauty for about 30 seconds, Mike said,
"Well, watcha' waitin' for? Go play it!"
I scooped her up and ran over to one of his amps. I plugged her in and flipped the on-switch. I immediately started playing "More than a Feeling" by my favorite Rock Group BOSTON. My guitar let out the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Tom Scholz, the creative juice behind and throughout BOSTON, would nod in approval, I think. I get that feeling, more than a feeling, whenever a guitar is right for me. And this was the strongest I had ever felt it!
The holidays are here and Gary's going to be doing some benefit shows with December People. "It's all the traditional seasonal songs that everybody knows, but performed in the styles of your favorite rock bands like ZZ Top, U2, Santana, The Who and ... Boston!" The first show this year was a sell out on November 12th at the World Theater on the campus of Cal State, Monterey Bay. Proceeds and canned food was given to the Monterey and San Benito County Food Banks and the Monterey County SPCA.
The next show will be December 11th in The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Admission is free! Come early for good seats. Show starts at 7PM.
Then back to San Jose on December 17 for a show and video taping at The Sobrato Center for Non-Profits.
The photo on the right shows the 5 band members and 2 Food Bank organizers.
Kimberely, Jeff and Gary performed as "Color Three" at Soldier Field in Chicago on August 23rd, 2011. They performed their own songs at this debut gig for the band.
"The goal of the event in Illinois is to assist veterans and service members with obtaining information about benefits, employment, education, housing and legal services. This one of a kind event also advocates networking between different organizations which improves business to business relations; enhancing the quality of veteran support services, and in turn, helping thousands of veterans."
NEVER LOOKING BACK: AN INTERVIEW WITH BOSTON'S TOMMY DECARLO
By Jeb Wright
Boston vocalist Tommy DeCarlo has had a few years to get his feet back down on earth since going from a regular guy working at Home Depot to singing Boston's greatest hits on the band's 2008 tour. Fairytales do happen and dreams do come true and no one knows that more than DeCarlo, who sent a chance email to Boston offering to sing at Brad Delp's tribute concert and ended up becoming the band's lead singer.
During Boston's downtime, DeCarlo produced two singles and released them on the Internet. One song he wrote for his wife and the other he wrote about Brad Delp. In fact, it was the Delp tune that began the process of Tommy's incarnation from home repair guy to rock singer. The tune is titled "A Man He'll Always Be" and Tommy wrote the song only days after Delp's tragic suicide.
Oddly enough, several years prior DeCarlo met Delp after a Boston show in Florida. Neither man knew then the connection that would one day link them together forever.
The interview that follows is an inspiring look into the past, present and future of Tommy DeCarlo.
Jeb: You have two new songs, the first is titled "A Man He'll Always Be" and is a tribute to Brad Delp, written only days after his death. Tell me the story behind writing the song.
Tommy: I didn't have any music equipment at the time. I had a microphone and some cheap software that I would do my Boston karaoke on. My parents live down the road and were on vacation so my son, Tommy, and I went over to look after their animals. My mom has a cheap Casio keyboard. I sat down and started playing the Boston classic "A Man I'll Never Be" but I just didn’t feel right about playing it since Brad had just taken his own life and it was really sad.
To me Brad was an awesome man and I had the thought of "A Man He'll Always Be." I played around with a few chords and my son said, "Dad, that is really good. You should really record that." By that time we were done feeding the animals and I said, "Maybe another time. Let's go home. I don't really feel like dragging Grandma's keyboard home." He kept pushing and I said, "I tell you what, you go in the house and load up the keyboard and I will record it."
The original recording took me about twenty minutes and then I took the keyboard back to my parent's house as I didn't want my mom to be mad that I took it. I reference a number of Boston songs in the lyrics. I thought it was just a nice thing to do and I just did it because I was a fan. I wanted to share it with other fans and that is how my daughter got involved. She helped me upload it up to MySpace and we also uploaded some of my Boston cover songs.
Jeb: So this is how the seed was planted concerning you contacting Tom and Kim Scholz about the tribute show.
Tommy: I heard about the tribute show through the Boston website. I remember thinking how much I wished I could sing at that show. I even went so far as to say that I belonged at that show. I wanted to go just as a fan but I couldn't afford it. I was just a regular guy and I had bills to pay. I remember going home from work one day and that someone had contacted me on MySpace. Her name was Melissa and she had an email address for the band. She told me it was a great song and that I should sent it to Boston. I put it out there and sent it but I was like, "Yeah, sure. Like anyone is ever going to read this email." To make a long story short, a couple of weeks later I got an email from Tom's wife, Kim. She listened to it and thought it was great and she said that Tom wanted to speak to me about performing at the tribute show.
Jeb: Did you fall over?
Tommy: I was excited but at the same time really nervous. I knew I was good at singing in my bedroom when nobody was around but I would have to go out there and sing in front of a bunch of hardcore Boston fans. I returned the email and I got a call from the band's publicist and then I got a call from Tom. We discussed the tribute show and it all went forward from there.
Jeb: Did you let them know you were just singing in the bedroom? It would have been tough not to just let him assume you were in a professional band.
Tommy: At the time it really wasn't discussed. It came up after the tribute show. I came home after the show and Tom was calling everyone and thanking them for coming up and participating in the show. Tom said, "After seeing you sing I am going to guess that you are in a cover band down there in Charlotte." I replied to Tom, "I hope you can appreciate honesty but I have never been in a band in my life. The first time I stepped out onstage with Boston was the first time I had ever played with a live band." Tom just started laughing.
About a month later Tom got a hold of all the band members, including me, and said that he might take it out on the road. He told me to keep it under my hat and not tell anyone. I was going to work at Home Depot and on Friday afternoon people were going, "Tommy, what is going on this weekend?" I would say, "Nothing. I am just going to hang around the house." In reality I was getting on a plane and flying to Boston to rehearse with the band. This went on for four or five months. Finally, I had to go in and tell my job that I had to go.
Jeb: Tell me about the first rehearsal you had with the band.
Tommy: I was at the hotel with my wife and my kids and I was a nervous wreck. I was going to be singing songs with people that I used to see on posters and who I idolized as a kid. I got a call at the hotel and they told me that the band was getting ready to rehearse and that he would come and pick me up. I asked if my son could come and he said, "Sure."
We drove across Boston and we came up to this very average looking industrial area. The driver said, "Isn't that something? All these people are driving by and they don’t have any idea that band is right in that building over there." We got out of the car and the band was rehearsing "Don't Look Back." I only had a couple of songs to sing and they had to rehearse songs with other singers. I looked at my son and said, "Can you believe that we are going to walk through those doors and Boston will be onstage playing "Don't Look Back." There were tech people and crew guys all around. I looked up and saw the band playing the song and I was in awe.
Jeb: How fitting that the first song you walked into was "Don't Look Back."
Tommy: Wow, Jeb, you know I had never thought about that. What a good point. I met Tom's wife Kim, who is a super person. She introduced me to Tom and the rest of the band members. They did a few more songs and I sat there nervously waiting. Finally, Tom looked over and said, "Are you ready to sing 'Smokin'?" It was my first song of the day and I cracked a few notes to be honest with you. After the song was over Tom said, "Let's do it again." I was warmed up and I don't think I could have sung it better the second time around. We then sang the song "Party" and Tom came over and gave me a high five. All of the band members were pretty excited about it. There were crew members and family members there and they were giving me some nice compliments.
Michael Sweet sang "More Than A Feeling" at the tribute show and he was on his way over from Cape Cod to rehearse it and he had not arrived yet. Tom said, "Let's do 'More Than A Feeling." Tom said, "Tommy, do you know this song?" I am like, "Do I know it?" Tom told me to fill in for Michael. When Gary started playing the acoustic guitar intro to that song and I actually said, out loud, softly to myself, "I cannot believe this." This was not a karaoke song and it was not a cover band; it was the real deal.
Jeb: I have been able to interview people who meant a lot to me growing up. Sometimes someone comes along where I am in awe of the person. I get nervous and right before the interview I have to swallow hard and just go in. Did you have a moment like that?
Tommy: Leading up to the first Boston show on tour was an experience. I remember having lyrics to songs that I had sang my whole life in front of me. I had them printed up purposely because I didn't want to screw anything up. Finally, one day, it was before our first show, which was in Canada I said, "I don’t need these lyrics. I have been singing these songs my entire life. Let's go do this."
I have listened to a number of those early shows and there is a few times where I can hear nervousness in my voice. Once I got more relaxed then I was okay. I know that I ended the tour stronger than I started it. I learned that you really have to save your voice for the shows. People will actual plan a vacation around the shows. You have to make sure that your voice is in great shape because you don't want to let the fans down. I know I would be bummed if I was in the audience and the signer lost his voice.
Jeb: I have a friend who is a professional singer who told me that he doesn't even like to talk after a show because his voice is loose and talking can actually be hard on your voice.
Tommy: The band sent me to a vocal coach when I was in rehearsals and I learned that one rule is no talking. Everybody on the crew becomes friends with everyone since you are together all the time. They would see me at breakfast and say, "How are you?' Before I could answer they would say, "Don't tell me. I know you have to be silent." I just didn't want to seem stuck up but everyone knew I was just being quite so I could save my voice.
Jeb: Do you remember signing your first autograph?
Tommy: I do. I have two good memories of that. One was when we were at rehearsal. For each venue there was merchandise sales so there were a ton of 8x10s that we would all sign. We had to sign these huge stacks and I thought that was kind of cool. The other good memory was at a meet and greet after a show and someone brought a copy of the debut album. They complimented me on the show and asked me to sign it. I looked down and saw Brad Delp's signature on it. I could not believe that was happening. It took me back through the whole experience in the few seconds I looked at Brad's signature. I was really touched. It was amazing and I will never forget that.
Jeb: Did you ever feel wrong signing the early Boston albums?
Tommy: I would not say I felt wrong about it but I did feel a little uncomfortable signing something that I was not a part of. Someone on a fan site said that it wasn't right for me to do that. What was I to do? Am I going to tell someone no? If I do that then the message board will say what a jerk I was for not giving me an autograph.
Jeb: Did you ever meet anyone in the band back in the day?
Tommy: Everyone always said that Brad was the nicest guy in the music business and I got to experience that back in the '90's when I was living in Florida. I went to see the band. After the show I positioned myself where I could see the band members exciting the stage. I yelled out Brad's name and after he walked off the stage and into a backstage area he looked up at me and gave me two thumbs up. I thought that was as good as the concert.
After the show there was this long white limousine and everyone thought the band was coming out. I hung around for over an hour and the crowd thinned down and the driver told me, "Hey, this is for the concert promoters. If you want to get a glimpse at the band then you need to go back where the busses are." I was off to the busses. There were only about three of us standing back there hoping to get a glimpse of the band. All of a sudden a Cadillac pulls up and out walked Brad and Tom. They were maybe forty feet in front of me. I was really excited. Tom got into the car and Brad was coming around to his side of the car and I knew if I didn't say something now then I was going to regret it. I shouted, "Hey Brad, you guys were awesome tonight." He looked over and put his duffle bag on top of the car and walked over to me. We shook hands. I had a CD in my hand that I was going to ask him to sign but I was so jacked up that I forgot to ask him to sign it.
Looking back I really see this as an amazing moment. We both looked at each other never knowing that we would one day have such a connection. I am very thankful that I got to meet him. Now, I am so proud to be able to help keep the music that Tom and Brad created moving forward.
Jeb: You have another song out as well called "I Think I Fell in Love with You."
Tommy: I wrote that song two weeks after the summer tour. Just before the tour started, I didn't even have a keyboard. The Yamaha people heard about my story and they sent me a beautiful keyboard. I never thought I would ever be able to afford something as nice as that let alone get one as a gift. I didn't have time to play with it as the tour was getting ready to start.
When I got home from the tour I had that keyboard waiting for me and I started messing around with it. I put some chords together and I thought about how I met my wife back when we lived in Florida. The story is very simple as we both ended up at the same restaurant one night. We didn't have cell phones back then --- it was about twenty-four years ago. I remember wanting to know her name before she left. I made that the first line of the song. I am sucker for power ballads like "Amanda" so I wrote the song. I sent the track up to Gary Pihl and asked him to add a guitar track. He listened to it and said, "I think you have really got something here." When I sent him the song I liked the song but all it had was a keyboard and a scratch vocal on it. When I got it back I loved the song. Gary added an element to the song that took it from something that sounded cool to something that sounded great. My wife really likes the song and it made her feel good. It makes me feel good to write it and it makes me feel good to share it with other people.
Jeb: Do you really feel it was love at first sight?
Tommy: As corny as it sounds I have to admit that it was. Every relationship has ups and downs but we have been married for twenty-three years and I couldn't be happier. I can't tell you what it has meant to me to share the life I have had with Boston with my wife and kids.
Jeb: How did the travel change things? You were used to coming home from work every day.
Tommy: We are a very close family. When all of this happened it was kind of tough. They all knew I had a great opportunity but I was away and we could only communicate with emails. I was able to get them out to some shows though so that did help. It really didn't change things all that much because we are well grounded people. The biggest bonus is that when I am at home I get to spend a lot of time at home. One tour does not set you up for life but it has allowed us to do a lot of things that we would not have been able to do otherwise.
Jeb: How have you been able to handle people recognizing you?
Tommy: There is some notoriety I have received around town. I don't live for that but I don't shy away from it. If someone says, "Are you that guy from Charlotte who is in Boston?" then I am proud of that. It is not what you think it is, however. Most days I go around town and no one knows who I am. There are not autograph seekers waiting outside of my house.
Jeb: Your story really is a fairytale.
Tommy: It is something that we all were, as a family, able to experience together. I really have to give the credit to Tom and the band as they are as down to earth as you can imagine. Gary would bring a lunch from home at rehearsals; it is not like a wild and crazy time. I am telling you these guys are really that down to earth. I have never had to be anybody that I wasn't which was so wonderful. Not to sound corny but we are still living out that fairytale. Things are quiet and I am as anxious as the fans for the next Boston project to come out.
Jeb: I have talked to Gary and Tom and I know there is a new album being worked on.
Tommy: Tom is working on some new material. I have been fortunate enough to record a little bit on some of that material. Tom does a lot of music on his own. When he has something for me to sing then I am thrilled to get a phone call to go up there and sing. I was up there to do some vocals on one tune and the next day I went back to do a little bit more and I was amazed at how it sounded in just one day. It sounded like Boston and I was a part of it; how cool is that? I don't know how far along Tom is on the new stuff but I excited that at some point in the future there will be an album.
Jeb: You have two songs but do you have plans for an album?
Tommy: I would like to do more of my solo stuff but I will wait and see. Tom has come up with hit after hit after hit and I am lucky to even come up with a song. I just need to sit down and play the keyboard and act on the things I come up with. When you get to certain level --- and I don't consider myself to be a big deal in the music business --- but I would want anything I put out to be up to par with the two songs I have come up with. I don't want to just put something out there to put something out there. If I come up with some good ideas then I will continue to record them.
Jeb: At what point did you realize that you sounded like Brad Delp?
Tommy: I remember back when I was a teenager, I was at a party at somebody's house and some Boston music came on. I started singing and people started looking at me and getting quiet. After the song was over somebody said, "Man, you sound like that guy from Boston." I was probably fifteen years old. To be honest I never went into singing just to sound like Brad. When someone says that then I take it as a great compliment. I don't have a special technique that I do. I don't ever go, "I need to really sound like Brad on this part." When I sing Boston music I just tend to have a tone that is similar to Brad's. I can tell a difference between us. I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 I am a 5 or a 6. I wish I was exactly like him. I just sang those songs the way that I heard them growing up as a kid.
Jeb: Is there a song that Boston does not play live that you would like to take a crack at?
Tommy: I would love to sing "Used to Bad News" off of the Don’t Look Back album. There are a few of them.
Jeb: I would love to see the band play "It's Easy."
Tommy: You're right that is a really, really great song. Brad does some great things on that song. I have been a Boston fan for the better part of my life and I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day I will get to be able to go out and do it all over again.
Jeb: My last one is silly. Kim has given up on my changing because I live in the Midwest and we consider meat the only real food group. But Gary, Tom and Kim are all very health conscious vegetarians so I am wondering if they have gotten you meatless yet?
Tommy: In their presence I am. You've got to respect them for that. I have never been a smoker but if you're around someone who smokes and they know you don't smoke then it is nice of them to respect you and not smoke. It is kind of like that.
Before we end this interview I want to say to your readers that the support I have received from the fans on both the Boston songs, and my solo stuff, is wonderful. I am very thankful to each and every one of them. I feel very blessed.
The show Gary did with the December People on November 13th was SOLD OUT! A lot of food was collected for the canned food drive to benefit the Food Banks of Monterey and San Benito counties and the SPCA! Thanks to everyone who made it to the show for this worthy cause. Here's a photo from a cell phone camera in the audience.
The December People is current members of bands like; Y&T, The Tubes and The Greg Kihn Band who play traditional holiday songs but with a rock and roll attitude. Every show they play is a benefit to local charities.
Here's a photo from the October 16 Denver party with Kimberley Dahme, Denver bassist Kirwan Brown, Gary Pihl, former Boston drummer, Doug Huffman, and Ric Podmore on keys. The occasion was Jeff Greenstein's 40th Birthday Party. A great time was had by all, thanks, Jeff!
Between Rock and a Soft Place
Acoustic Rock Magazine's July 2010 issue presents a guide to the 25 greatest acoustic songs in hard rock, featuring the lightest tunes from the heaviest hitters. By Joe Bosso
"More Than a Feeling" comes in at number two, just behind "Stairway to Heaven" at number one.
"Tom Scholz's soaring leads and crunchy, multi-tracked electric guitar rhythms have more than a little to do with "More Than a Feeling" becoming one of classic rock's most enduring anthems. But it is the song's lilting, arpeggiated acoustic intro that puts fans in the mood.
Working as something of a one-man band in his basement, Scholz, one of music's first DIY dudes, played all the guitar parts on "Feeling".
A bit of trivia: Noting the similarities between "More Than a Feeling" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit", Kurt Cobain teased fans at Nirvana's 1992 Reading Festival performance with a few bars of the Boston classic."
BOSTON still alive and well in 2010
Work on another studio album is progressing at an agonizingly slow rate - like that would be news - but it is progressing. While I wouldn't want to give away too much about the album, it will contain both the very recognizable BOSTON sound plus some surprises I think everyone will appreciate - as long as you like Big Band Swing and Rap ... just kidding!
Writing, arranging and recording BOSTON music for hours day after day is frustrating, exhausting, and lonely, yet strangely enticing. My dad used to ask me, "If the song is 4 or 5 minutes long, why doesn't it take 4 or 5 minutes to record it?" The catch is, figuring out what should happen for every second of that 4 or 5 minutes for all the individual tracks on one song, and trying the hundreds of variations on each instrument or vocal takes me typically 4 or 5 months. For every measure of BOSTON music that survives the cut on an album, a week of work ends up in the trash bin.
Meanwhile, the rest of the band members are busy with their own lives and projects, and all have already contributed in some way to the new BOSTON album effort. These are understanding and patient people! Unfortunately I don't expect to have the album finished in time to prepare for a tour this summer, but we are all jonesing to play again.
Much more urgent and serious is Haiti. These poor people were living a wretchedly impoverished life before the earthquake, now it's worse than a Hollywood disaster movie come to life. Those that have survived the initial trauma now are faced with an almost impossible-to-survive situation. Even in this recession, seeing and hearing the stories from Haiti makes you realize how good we have it. Please dig a little deeper and donate as we have, through any of the numerous organizations mobilizing to help.