By: Russell Hall
Beginning with Boston's mega-selling 1976 self-titled debut, the pioneering guitarist has always insisted on creative autonomy, hunkering down in his basement studio, often for years, to craft the songs, sounds and arrangements that meet his exacting standards. Seemingly interminable gaps between albums have been common, but the musical riches on each Boston release have always been worth the wait.
Life, Love & Hope, Boston's first album in 11 years, offers perfect proof of that fact. Rife with Scholz's majestic guitar work-distinguished by one of the most recognizable tones in rock--the album hews close to the classic style that first put Boston on the map all those years ago. Roiled by the tragic death of lead singer Brad Delp in 2007, Scholz settled on a vocalist-by-committee approach for the disc, even stepping up to the microphone to sing one song himself. And, as always, he turned exclusively to his legendary '68 Les Pauls to produce those glorious guitar sounds.
By Chad Hobbs
One of the must see tours of this summer has been the awaited return of BOSTON. The band is currently on the road to support their new album Life, Love & Hope. The tour hits Columbus on Wednesday evening at The LC Pavilion and also features special guest and local hero Scotty Bratcher as the opening act. Having now seen the band twice and eagerly anticipating a third time on Wednesday, rest assured that this is not one that classic rock fans can afford to miss.
Just like he graciously did two years ago, bassist Tracy Ferrie took some time away from the road to answer some questions of mine; shedding some light on what it is like to be part of the BOSTON machine and what Columbus fans have to look forward to.
A Revealing interview with Tom Scholz, guitarist and mastermind behind BOSTON's classic-rock brilliance.
By Andy Aledort
"I had been working on some new jumps, fooling around in the middle of the rink and trying a maneuver called a 'scratch spin,' which I find very difficult. Suddenly, Whammo!, I fell, completely obliterating my left arm."
Tom Scholz, founding father and resident genius of Boston, is no stranger to taking chances. Most of the time he confines his risk-taking to the relatively safe environment of writing and recording music and designing revolutionary pieces of guitar-related recording gear, like the Rockman. But he is now talking about ice jumping, his latest passionate endeavor.
"It happened this past Fall, and it was a nasty, nasty crash," he says with a chuckle. "The larger forearm bone shattered into several pieces right at my wrist, and they had to operate, leaving me with this horrible, Frankenstein-like cast, with giant bolts sticking out of my arm. Now I wear protective gear over the forearm when I skate, because I couldn't support my weight with my left arm if I were to fall. Another big negative is that I am forbidden to play basketball with other players. But I can still jam."
As in, jam with other musicians? "No--jam a basketball," he laughs. "Playing the guitar hurts like hell! Excruciatingly, utterly painful. But I suffered no nerve damage, and my fingers all work fine. Once I get warmed up, it always starts to feel better."
As any true Boston fan knows, Scholz rules on the keyboards as well. Has the injury hampered his piano playing? "The only time it bothers me is when I play Rachmaninoff's 'Prelude in C# Minor,'" he says slyly, "because it has a lot of 'cross-handed' stuff in it. Other than that, I'm all right.
"The most important thing to remember," Scholz continues, "is that no matter how screwed up your wrist is, it really doesn't affect your ice skating."
Tom Scholz's irreverent attitude has served him well all his life. Born in Toledo, Ohio, on March 10, 1947, Scholz began playing music at the age of eight, studying piano and organ. His interest in rock music took hold when he picked up the electric bass as a teen and, inspired by Sixties rock guitar heroes Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page ("anyone who played with the Yardbirds," he likes to say), he dove headlong into the guitar.
Ever the realist, Scholz matched his devotion to playing guitar and writing songs with equal devotion to mechanical engineering, earning a master's degree from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the early and middle Seventies, by day, Scholz was a senior product designer for Polaroid. By night, he worked endless hours on committing to tape what would soon be known as "the Boston sound."
Boston, the band's debut, is the largest-selling debut in the history of popular music, with sales exceeding 16 million in the U.S. alone. But, hampered by litigation and record company wrangling, the band has released a mere four albums during its 20-year-plus career.
Now, with the recent release of Boston's first-ever greatest hits package, a 16-track collection that contains three new recordings ("Higher Power," "Tell Me" and "The Star Spangled Banner") along with perennial Boston favorites "More Than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," "Rock & Roll Band" and scads more, Boston is hitting the arena circuit again this summer. The lineup consists of original Boston vocalist Brad Delp, guitarist Gary Pihl, vocalist/guitarist Fran Cosmo, bassist Davis Sikes and drummer Curly Smith. We sat down with Scholz as he gave us a guided tour through the intricate history of the rock and roll hamlet within which he resides.
MicroSoft Network * 1998
Former Boston Bassist
By John Stix
Guitar for the Practicing Musician
Sometime after the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and before the great collapse of last year's World Series, Boston was discovered by Tom Scholz. Here's how it happened.
"Rock 'n' Roll Band,' was written because Jim (Masdea), always the hopeless dreamer, was playing in bands in Hyannis, like it says in the song," Tom said. "He was always saying how so and so was going to come to see them. I had heard it so many times before. All these kids playing in bars thought some record guy was going to come in and discover them. You're a rock 'n' roll band and it's something special. That's what you like to think about when you're playing in a bar. I finally thought, I'm going to write a song about everybody who dreams about that. It's what I dreamed about. But that's not what happened with Boston.
"Here is the true story. I did a lot of demo work starting in about 1969.1 worked for about a year and bought a twelve track tape deck with my savings. I had to keep working full time through the whole thing to make the money to cover all the expenses. On some of the earlier demos there were other people involved. Barry Goudreau played on some of them. Epic became interested on the basis of six demo songs. Jim helped with the drum arrangements and playing the drums, Brad (Delp) did all the vocals and I did the instruments. That was it. All six of those songs eventually appeared on record.