By Jim Sullivan
Best Classic Bands
In part one of our extensive interview with Tom Scholz, the Boston mastermind talked about what fans can expect from the band's 2017 Hyper Space tour, which has just begun. In the second half, we ask him about his influences, vocals and lyrics, and just how long he can keep doing what he's doing.
To read part one, go here.
You are noted for your harmonies, guitar and vocal. How does that work in a live setting?
Tom Scholz: There are, of course, in my Boston recordings, tons of three-part harmonies, but we don't just do three-part harmonies, we do three-part harmonies with doubled voices within the harmonies and there's usually some overlapping background or lead lines that have harmonies along with it. [Live] you really need six voices to do that. There are countless times during the set when all six mics are live and all six people are playing and singing and they do a great job.
You took your first lead vocal on "Love Got Away" on the last album, Life, Love & Hope, in 2013.
I did sing a lead. I actually have a two-and-a-half-octave range. Unfortunately, it starts at low D, which is off the neck of a guitar at the low end and doesn't go up that high on the other end, so it's of questionable use a lot of the time. But there are moments when I get to shine, for instance in "Higher Power" on the Greatest Hits album. That super low voice, that's yours truly. I get to do the low part and I'm the only one who can do it.
Let's talk lead singers for a moment. Tommy DeCarlo is the singer now.
Tommy is awesome. Tommy does for Boston on stage what Brad Delp did for Boston in the studio. Brad was the best male studio singer I've ever heard and Tommy is the best male stage singer I've ever heard. We just stumbled onto him and he works very hard at it. And he's a real good keyboard player--he plays difficult things.
By Jim Sullivan
Best Classic Bands
Tom Scholz is a boss who's hard on the boss.
Boston's Hyper Space Tour begins April 14, in Hollywood, Florida, just a little more than a month after Scholz's 70th birthday. But he didn't celebrate the momentous occasion. "I did have a birthday," Scholz says, "but I barely noticed it. We were trying to get a new special effects [system] up and running. I had a bunch of people in town and I was involved in building the key pieces to it and got a little behind on one and didn't quite get it done. So, I basically worked like a dog on my birthday and didn't get any sleep. I actually had to ask somebody whether it was Saturday or Sunday. I thought I still had one more day. I hate it when that happens."
Scholz, it sometimes seems, has always been working at a feverish pace. You probably know some of the convoluted Boston backstory: Scholz, who studied classical piano as kid in Toledo, Ohio, began writing songs in 1969 while working on a degree at MIT. He earned both a Bachelor's and Master's and went on to work at Polaroid as a senior product design engineer, all while crafting and refining songs that would become the eponymous debut Boston album.
Boston hit the airwaves in 1976 with a sound that had both a lively freshness--the soaring vocals, the harmonies, the layers, the guitar parts!--and a classic rock backbone.
But Boston the band was not part of Boston the rock scene. They arrived virtually unannounced and made one of the biggest splashes in rock history, their debut selling (to date) around 17 million copies, with "More Than a Feeling" ruling the FM and AM airwaves of 1976 and 1977. It was the best-selling debut of all time, until Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction knocked it down a notch in 1987.
Boston was not, though, as their song "Rock & Roll Band" proclaimed, "Just another band out of Boston/On the road and tryin' to make ends meet/Playin' all the bars, sleepin' in our cars/ And we practiced right on out in the street." Scholz later admitted that that song was a bit of "self-mythology."
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.
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.
By Michael Mckenna
It's not everyday that an opportunity comes along to interview a member of several legendary rock bands. I recently talked to Gary Pihl, the guitarist who has played with BOSTON for the past 30 years, who formerly played with Sammy Hagar and recorded demos for Night Ranger and the awesome list of legendary musicians he has shared the stage with, whose influences set him on the path that he follows today.