By M.B. Tuccio
In the past 40 years, pop culture, media and music have surely changed a lot. Yet, some things transcend these changes. Consider the music of Boston.
Centered on guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer Tom Scholz, the band is a staple of classic rock radio playlists.
Boston's best-known works include hits such as "More Than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind" and "Amanda." Though there was no real Amanda who inspired the tune, many couples picked the name for their daughters.
Band members know it's true because of all the Amandas who come up after concerts and say that's just what their parents told them.
Boston will appear in concert at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Friday, July 20.
Scholz will be performing along with Gary Pihl on lead guitar; Tommy DeCarlo on vocals, percussion and keyboards; David Victor on vocals and guitar; Tracy Ferrie on bass guitar; and Curly Smith on drums.
The band is distinguished for its ability to perform live with no pre-recorded materials. While Boston's music has grown in complexity over the years, the artists that now find themselves touring with Scholz -- through hard work and dedication -- manage to maintain the band's classic sound.
Scholz spoke about the music of Boston in a recent interview:
Q: What was the structure of the original Boston?
A: The original act signed to Epic Records had two "members." One, Brad Delp, sang nearly all the studio vocals and wrote a few of the songs. The other, myself, wrote and arranged most of the songs, played most of the instruments on the studio recordings, produced and engineered most of the recordings, and designed and built the studios used to make these recordings, as well as the strange equipment that made it possible to make the unique sound heard on the recordings.
Q: What do you do to keep things exciting after so many years?
A: Of course, to keep from getting bored, I can't seem to help adding to, and complicating, the live arrangements of some of the old songs to the point that they are as challenging as the new ones to play on stage.
Q: Can you give me an example of an old song that you have revamped?
A: "Foreplay," for instance, is about twice as long and involved live as it is on the original short first album recorded version.
Q: How do the musicians you work with these days take to the complexity of the music?
A: While this might be annoying to less-motivated musicians, the exceptional musicians who perform with Boston always rise to the challenge and take great pride in the fact that they not only can recreate Boston's recorded music to the point that it is indistinguishable from the record, but can surprise the audience with musical moments they never expected.
Q: Can you describe what it feels like to tour for such huge audiences?
A: It takes dedication and an incredible amount of work to prepare for a Boston tour, but the individuals who play live in Boston bring it on stage knowing that they are part of an elite group. The band and crew on a Boston tour feel they are involved in something special in the music world. There is a great camaraderie, and the good vibe you see backstage is projected out to the audience at show time.
The enthusiasm is contagious, and for a brief moment in time the audience, band and crew become linked by a celebration that means something different in each individual memory, but that somehow brings everyone together through their love for music.
Q: I hear you have a new album coming out ...
A: There is in fact a new studio Boston album almost completed. Interestingly, I think I have circled back around after getting into writing more and more complex music over the years, and now am getting back into writing simpler rock 'n' roll like my original '70s recordings. I'm very excited about the new album.
MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods, 39 Norwich Westerly Road, Mashantucket, Friday, July 20, 8 p.m. $65-$45. www.foxwoods.com
By M.B. Tuccio