Welcome to thirdstage.ca, the source for everything Boston since 1999!
The Boston musician locked himself in his basement and came up with one of the most stunning albums -- and guitar tones -- of the past 45 years.
BOSTON ARE OFTEN maligned as "corporate rock," an ironic categorization for a band whose debut album was conceived largely by one guy working alone in his wood-paneled basement after getting off work as a product design engineer for Polaroid. That guy, guitarist and songwriter Tom Scholz, not only managed to come up with Boston's self-titled, multi-Platinum-selling 1976 debut album -- he also revolutionized rock-guitar tone using little more than a goldtop 1968 Les Paul with a "neck like a log" that he recorded at extremely low volume due to his less-than-adequate studio environs.
Scholz has identified that tone -- characterized by a sweetly distorted and heavily sustaining guitar sound -- as the combination of his Les Paul running into an old 100-watt Marshall head and a prototype power soak that he built "because of the need to bring down the gain, but without losing the saturation of the sound."
It wasn't just the sound of Scholz's guitar that was unique, however -- it was also the notes he played on it. The solos he constructed for Boston (and co-guitarist Barry Goudreau must be recognized here as well) are towering marvels that dip, soar and mount to explosive climaxes. Spiked with unusual harmony lines, bends and note choices, and just the right amount of flash, they can be listened to as mini compositions in and of themselves.
Despite the corporate rock tag, Scholz's influence on critic-approved artists is now widely recognized. (Consider Kurt Cobain, who put more than a little of "More Than a Feeling" into Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit.") Scholz also changed guitar tone with his development of the Rockman, the pocket-sized headphone amp simulator used by, among others, Def Leppard on their bajillion-selling 1987 album, Hysteria.
After more than 40 years, Scholz' tone and touch remain as unique and awe-inspiring as ever. "That sound grew out of what I did naturally," he has explained. "It's that simple. Left to my own devices, with no outside interference, the sound of Boston is what I come up with."
TOP TRACK: "HITCH A RIDE"
The following was posted on BOSTON's official Facebook page:
BOSTON has always tried to be a positive force in a very messed up world, and it has been gratifying to see the number of fans who have responded to that commitment.
If you care about global warming, Latino kids torn from their parents by the US government, racial inequality and injustice, corruption, the breakdown of human decency, moronic federal Covid response, or if you just miss the America you once knew, then you need to vote NOW! Don’t wait until Nov 3rd; don’t trust your ballot to our sabotaged postal service. Find a drop box that is not a trick decoy box, or go in person (wearing your PPE) to an early voting site in your state, and vote or hand deliver your ballot to a trustworthy official.
Numerous web sites will give you information for your state to help you successfully cast your ballot in spite of Republican efforts to suppress your right to vote. There are several states in which this has already become a shocking problem, and this is not an election where we can afford to have votes thrown in a trash can by people who want to stay in power by any means. Time is almost up. Find a way to make your vote count, it has never been more important.
The following was posted to Boston's Facebook page:
The dual standard for treatment of people according to race by law enforcement has gone on far too long in the US. Most of us know that racial discrimination has existed in our country for hundreds of years, but if it weren’t for cell phone videos and the determined actions of peaceful protestors, most of us would still be unaware of the daily struggle many people live with just to avoid police persecution because of the color of their skin. The mounting abundance of video evidence coupled with a lack of governmental will to hold bad cops responsible for abuse of power, prejudice, and just plain malicious actions, has become overwhelming. My hat is off to everyone who has taken to the streets to make their voices heard.
In no way does this imply that I believe burning down businesses is justified, or that all police are bad. While I understand, and have experienced, the outrage over the reprehensible activities of some bad apples in law enforcement, it is entirely unfair (and ironically discriminatory) to claim “all cops are bad” based on the actions of some. I don’t know the ratio of good cops to malicious ones, but I suspect it is like every other walk of life: there are good people and bad people - some of each become the police you call when you need help fast.
The protestors who have exercised their constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble have done so during an unprecedented pandemic that has killed over 100,000 and is increasing out of control in many states. All of these people have put their health at risk to get your attention.
The deployment of heavily-armed militarized forces by Trump and his henchman William Barr who illegally assaulted peaceful protestors in DC is a deliberate challenge to everything America once stood for. If you haven’t been paying attention, and you think your democracy will always be here, you better wake up. If what’s left of the US is lucky enough to have an election in November, I’d advise you to vote and hope that the election results will be upheld, because right now one man has a choke-hold on the DOJ, FBI, US Military, US Supreme Court, and, through the collective cowardice of the Republican Party, the US Senate. So who is going to stop him when armed troops come to your street like they did in DC?
The following was posted to BOSTON's Facebook page January 19, 2020:
Being inducted into the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame is a huge thrill for me as an engineer/musician. This brings back many memories of the struggle to invent, design, and build the first fully-functional ROCKMAN prototype which led up to the incredible experience of debuting it at the ’82 summer NAMM show in Atlanta.
In 1982 there was no way to practice high-power rock guitar quietly. Even though I had already designed the Power Soak attenuator, it was still too loud to plug your Les Paul into a Marshall stack in the middle of the night, unless you lived alone and a long way from your nearest neighbor. Besides, it just wasn’t the same listening to your power chords at living room volume. What I needed was a way to get that maxed-out overdrive sound in headphones – and not that turned-down amp-in-your-bedroom sound, but huge, total immersion stereo sound that you get on stage with everything on 10. (There was no 11 yet!) And it had to be portable enough to travel without a truck!
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has revealed the latest entrants into the TECnology Hall of Fame (TECHOF), and Tom Scholz' Scholz Research & Development Rockman is one of them.
From the NAMM press release:
1982 Scholz Research & Development Rockman (Tom Scholz)
Long before the term “project studio” was coined, Tom Scholz (founder of the band Boston) built a basement studio to record his own music, including his band’s debut album. An engineer with a master’s degree from MIT, he created much of his own gear, including what was to become the Scholz Rockman, a pocket-sized box that offered compression, distortion, stereo chorus and delay effects for guitar — effectively becoming a complete studio or pedalboard in a miniature package.
Scholz founded Scholz Research & Development to manufacture and market his inventions, including the Power Soak amplifier attenuator, which allowed the recording of amps at lower volumes, along with the popular Rockman, X100, Soloist, Guitar Ace, and Bass Ace. With the Rockman’s headphone amp output, the unit could smoothly function as a direct box, providing players with a great sound that was consistent and simple to achieve — laying down the foundation for a revolution in the way guitarists make music, both live and in the studio.