Boston gets Sweet new start with Stryper singer
Thursday, July 31, 2008
By Christopher John Treacy
Boston Herald

In the wake of last year’s suicide of Brad Delp, beloved singer and co-founder of the band Boston, things looked bleak for the storied group, whose 1976 self-titled album remains rock’s best-selling debut ever with more than 17 million copies sold.

Last Aug. 19, musicians, fans and well-wishers gathered at the Bank of America Pavilion for what was understood to be Boston’s last performance, organized in Delp’s honor. Among them was Michael Sweet, longtime fan and leader of the Grammy-nominated Christian metal outfit, Stryper.

Now Boston, - including founder Tom Scholz, 61, is back on the road this summer, packing venues across the country including a hometown show at Mansfield’s Comcast Center on Sunday. Vocal duties are being split between Sweet and fellow newbie Tommy DeCarlo, a die-hard fan and Home Depot credit manager who hit the jackpot with his audition.

We caught up with Sweet recently, and got the lowdown on the tour.

Herald: How did this tour come about?

Sweet: The rehearsals and ensuing show last August came off so well, afterwards Tom asked me if I would consider singing with the band were they ever to tour again. But I was floored at how quickly it came together. Boston’s known for long breaks between projects, so when I got the call six months later I couldn’t believe it.

Why the sudden change of heart?

All I can say is that a lot of healing took place at that tribute concert last year. Tom was deeply saddened by losing Brad, but you could tell he also experienced a great deal of joy getting together with other people and celebrating the music left behind.

Does being part of Boston compromise your faith at all? Are you channeling your inner bad boy?

I haven’t felt that yet, no. Believe it or not, Boston isn’t your typical rock scene with groupies, girls and drugs backstage. We’ve got a vegetarian chef, and lifestyle-wise it’s as normal and boring as it gets.

Is it daunting, walking into a situation like this with an established audience that’s bound to be opinionated about a new member?

It does feel odd, but not in a negative way. I’ve been a fan from the beginning, but my roots are so different - Stryper comes from the flashy ’80s borderline metal scene, big hair and all that. I perform differently than Boston does. I run around onstage and put a lot of energy into the showmanship, sometimes I worry that it’s too much. But I’m truly blessed with this opportunity, and the fan reactions to my stage presence has been overwhelmingly positive, so I must be doing something right.

Boston, with Styx, at the Comcast Center, Mansfield, Sunday, 7 p.m. Tickets: $25-$60; 617-931-2000.

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