Piece of His Mind
Friday, March 24, 2017

The musician sounds off on fan tattoos, doing the "God voice" and the state of rock 'n' roll today.

By Jonathan Soroff
The Improper Bostonian

Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Tom Scholz, 70, founder of the rock band Boston, spent his childhood playing classical piano and tinkering with anything motorized. He came east to attend MIT, where he graduated with a bachelor's and a master's degree in mechanical engineering. He began working as an engineer at Polaroid and taught himself to play guitar, bass and organ. In a basement studio he built himself, he worked with drummer Jim Masdea and singer Brad Delp to create a demo tape that launched Boston. Released in 1976, their self-titled debut album (with hits like "More Than a Feeling") went on to sell more than 17 million copies. A Grammy nomination, a world tour and five more albums followed. Scholz is also an inventor with nearly three dozen patents to his name, and the DTS Charitable Foundation he established in 1987 to protect animals, combat world hunger and aid the homeless has donated several million dollars to those causes. He lives in a suburb of Boston with his wife, Kim.

Jonathan Soroff: Favorite Boston song of all time?

Tom Scholz: I really love "Higher Power." I get to do the God voice. And by the way, I can only sing that part in the morning. When I do it on stage, I have to fake a couple of the low notes.

Best sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll story from back in the day? Y'know, I hate to burst that bubble, but I missed that whole phase. I've sort of made it my mission to reverse that perception, with minimal success. I certainly enjoyed being on tour in the early days [laughs]. I remember flying on a 727 to the first show where I was going to be a paid musician, thinking, "Holy crap! I can have a drink on the way to work!"

Strangest place where you were going about your own business and suddenly a Boston song came on? My house. At the end of the day, I have to find a half an hour to sit down in front of the TV and vegetize so I can sleep. I was surfing through a bunch of crap on TV, and there was nothing that I even remotely wanted to see. Then I went past South Park, which I hadn't seen in two or three years, and I stopped. And I got the opening chords of a song, and I go, "Holy crap! This band is good. Wait. That's me!"

Jury rejects Tom Scholz's trademark infringement lawsuit against former Boston bandmate
Wednesday, November 02, 2016

By Mark Shanahan
Boston Globe

Barry Goudreau, onetime guitarist for Boston, did not infringe on the band's trademark by billing himself as a former member of Boston after leaving the group. That's the verdict in a lawsuit brought against Goudreau by Tom Scholz, leader and principal songwriter of Boston in US District Court. Though it didn't rule in favor of Scholz, the jury likewise rejected Goudreau's counterclaim of breach of contract.

"Despite the jury's verdict on our trademark violation claim, today's outcome was satisfactory because it reinforces a clear message for musicians and artists across the nation," Scholz said in a statement. "Trademark law exists not just to protect the rights of those who create, but to preserve the legacy and value of their art."

Scholz's lawsuit, filed in filed in US District Court in Boston in 2013, claimed Goudreau's "persistent, unauthorized, and willful misuse" of Boston-related trademarks exaggerated his role in the band and "deprives Scholz of his ability to control fully the nature and quality of all (Boston) products and services ... and harms the valuable reputation and goodwill" of the band. Boston's self-titled debut VP, released in 1976, sold more than 17 million copies.

The suit alleged that Goudreau had agreed to refer to himself as "formerly of Boston" after leaving the group, but was called "Barry Goudreau From Boston" and "Barry Goudreau of the Multi-Platinum Group Boston" in some of the promotional materials for other bands he played with, including car dealer Ernie Boch Jr.'s outfit, Ernie & the Automatics.

Still, the jury was not persuaded that Goudreau's work with other bands would cause confusion about the status or lineup of Boston in the mind of the public.

In an e-mail, David Given, one of the attorneys for Goudreau, said he's pleased with the outcome and plans to proceed with claims against Scholz.

"Barry Goudreau achieved 100% victory on the utterly baseless claims for trademark infringement brought against him by his former bandmate and friend, Tom Scholz," Given wrote. "We expect to continue to vigorously prosecute Barry's own claim for unfair and deceptive trade practices against Scholz in the coming weeks."

More Than A Band: An Interview with Boston's Gary Pihl
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The band's longtime guitarist and gearhead chats about his life before Boston as well as his decades with the classic rock staples as they celebrate 40 years with a performance at the Moda Center on July 2.

By Sarah Midkiff

Innovators of rock music, Boston are a pillar and sonic style leader of the genre. With their debut record remaining one of the best-selling debut albums in history at 17 million copies, their musical excellence is upheld as an ideal by musicians and fans alike.

"People ask us why we think Boston has been so successful over all these years. Here we are on our 40th anniversary tour: It's the songs. Somehow they just resonate with people," shares guitarist Gary Pihl, one of Boston's longest touring and recording members.

Joining the band of tastemakers in 1985 after the departure of Barry Goudreau, Pihl has been band founder Tom Scholz's right-hand man for more than 20 years. During that time, Pihl has undertaken much more than the role of lead guitarist. Assisting in the design and manufacturing of equipment, orchestrating front of house sound, and teaching band performers their parts are just some of the responsibilities he assumes off stage. Credited as "the glue that holds Boston together" by former bandmate Kimberley Dahme, the lifelong musician connected with us while on the road to talk about his start in music, the first time he ever heard Boston, and the evolution of music technology.

Boston mastermind's last-ditch demos led to rock stardom
Thursday, June 23, 2016

By Alan Sculley

Forty years ago, Tom Scholz saw his life and career path get turned upside down -- in the best way -- when he got a record deal, released his first album as the musical genius behind the band Boston and watched that album turn the group into instant superstars.

"I was an engineer working full time (at Polaroid) and I saw what my sort of career path and my life was going to shape up to be, and I was perfectly happy with it," Scholz recalled in a mid-June phone interview. "Boston was a pipe dream and I never, never expected, even after I got the record deal, which was totally unexpected, even after I got that and made the (first) record, I went back to work at Polaroid. (I didn't expect) it to succeed."

Scholz had good reason to keep his expectations in check.

For more than five years, he had been making demos of his songs, shopping them to record companies, radio stations and other music business contacts and getting nothing but rejections.

Finally, he decided to take one last run at making a new demo, and if it didn't get him a record deal, he would do the responsible thing as a husband approaching his 30th birthday by selling his studio equipment and continuing his career at Polaroid.

4 questions with Boston before sold-out show in Dayton
Saturday, May 21, 2016

By Don Thrasher
Dayton Daily News

Few rock debuts have the cultural impact of Boston's self-titled release, which was an undeniable smash upon its release in 1976. Six albums and 40 years later, the rockers remain a major concert draw. Boston's performance at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Wednesday, May 25, is sold out.

It was a month before the summer tour began when the band's founder and leader, Tom Scholz, answered a few questions.

Boston bassist has Hoosier roots
Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tracy Ferrie credits his Elkhart music teacher.

By Kayleen Reusser
The News-Sentinel

Tracy Ferrie, bass guitarist and vocalist for the rock group Boston, credits his music teacher/band director Donald Litherland, now retired from Elkhart Memorial High School, for his success in a musical career.

“Mr. Litherland inspired me to play music,” Ferrie said during a recent phone interview. “Under his direction I took music seriously and became interested in performing. He taught me the steps it takes to get in the limelight. I had to work hard and understand music properly. I was not the greatest student in school, but he pushed me in the right direction and it paid off.”

Ferrie has gone far in his musical career, including attending college in Boston and living in Hollywood, Calif., and New York City. Now he will be back in Indiana, albeit temporarily, performing with the band Boston on Tuesday at Foellinger Outdoor Theatre.

Ferrie was born in Kokomo but moved to the Elkhart area with his family while in elementary school in the early 1970s. “When I first joined the school band, I chose to play the tuba, which was generally considered the most obnoxious instrument,” he said. “From there Mr. Litherland suggested I play an upright bass for the orchestral band. As the years went on, he kept suggesting I learn to play other musical instruments like the tympani and electric bass.”

Boston's Tom Scholz relies on old-school technology to give fans 'More Than a Feeling'
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

By Chuck Yarborough

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Listen, kids: You might want to stay off Boston founder Tom Scholz's lawn, at least if you're a fan of digital music.

"I am not a fan of digital music recording or digital music playback systems,'' said Scholz, whose bona fides include a master's degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I credit the explosion of digital --?? both recording and consumer systems --?? as one of the principal causes of the destruction of the music business,'' Scholz said in a call from his home in Boston.

"How can people listen to an MP3 file and enjoy it?'' said the lead guitarist who will bring his band to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica to open the summer concert season on the west bank of the Flats on Wednesday, May 18.

"I just want to take the eardrums out of my ears,'' said Scholz, who never has never been one to mince words. "It's successful because it's cheap, it's fancy and has lots of features and is portable.

"Cheap is at the top of the list,'' said Scholz. "From the beginning, there were real technical problems with digital, but [I give] credit to the people who introduced the CD and bamboozled consumers into thinking they're getting better sound.''

Scholz, who launched his band after leaving behind a potentially lucrative (and boring) career at Polaroid, puts his money where his mouth is.

"I'm nothing but analog when I'm working on music,'' he said. "The rest of the world has embraced digital mixing consoles, but I still drag this monster analog monitor system around.''

Pier Six Pavilion hosts Boston 40th Anniversary Party
Sunday, May 08, 2016

By Jon Gallo
Baltimore Post-Examiner

Classic rock legends Boston brought its guitar-fueled parade of hard rock hits to the Inner Harbor's Pier Six Pavilion Saturday, rolling back time to a pre-millennial era when fuzzy riffs and piercing solos ruled the earth.

Fans inside the sold-out venue, as well as the throng that lined sidewalks across from the pier and the strategically moored boats in the harbor, were treated to a two-hour set that delivered the best of what the band has created in its 40-year history.

They don't skimp on the biggies, and that's just what kept the evening moving from highlight to highlight.

Few would argue the band's first three albums: Boston, Don't Look Back, and Third Stage are what most people recognize of its catalog, and Boston kept much of the night's focus there – playing 18 songs from the three releases.

Boston Kicks Off Its 40th Anniversary Tour at Hard Rock Live
Monday, May 02, 2016

By Wendy Rhodes
Broward Palm Beach Times

Next time you're at Home Depot, pay close attention to the guy with the shaggy hair in the orange apron. He's probably never been in a band before, but he just might be on his way to becoming the lead singer of one of the biggest classic rock bands in the world.

So it was with Tommy DeCarlo, whose Myspace videos landed him onstage Friday night at Hard Rock Live, singing to a sold-out crowd of 5,500 on the first night of Boston's 40th Anniversary Tour.

From the opening licks of "Rock & Roll Band," it was a night of heart-pounding rock the way it was meant to be -- raw, powerful, and with endless guitar solos delivered in the pure analog splendor that makes Boston one of the most enduring live acts on the planet.

"Hello, South Florida! Welcome to Boston!" Tom Scholz laughed, ripping into a scorching rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" from their Greatest Hits album.

Reminding fans why they can still pack arenas 40 years after Scholz recorded their 17-time platinum debut album Boston in his basement studio, the '70s sensation rocked hit after hit for two solid hours to a packed house of diehard fans and an untold number of Amandas and Hollyanns.

Boston celebrates 40 years of classic rock
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

By Howard Cohen
Miami Herald

Boston mastermind, guitarist, inventor Tom Scholz is about to blow up his studio in the city he named his classic rock group for when he remembers he has an an interview to do.

"I'm taking a break from working on a new stage effect. I was just about to blow something up before I stopped to call you," Scholz says. "It's a planned ignition so it won't blow up on stage. I'm finding out how far I can push it."

Scholz, 69, has been pushing it, believe it or not, for 40 years. His band's debut album, Boston, arrived in August 1976. The recording remains one of the best-selling debuts in history and one Boston plans to celebrate Friday with the opening of its 40th anniversary tour at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood.

Boston, with its hit singles More Than a Feeling, Peace of Mind and Long Time, became so ingrained in popular culture it wouldn't be a stretch to say if you went to junior or senior high school in late 1976, you were issued a copy of Boston along with your textbooks and hall passes. Boston's following five albums through Life, Love and Hope in 2013, sold well. But at 17 million and counting domestically, Boston has sold more than double the combined total of all the subsequent releases.

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