Tommy DeCarlo never saw himself as a frontman for a rock 'n' roll band, let alone for the legendary group Boston.
"It was never anything I really wanted," he said. "I pretty much shied away from that."
But the former Home Depot employee is performing lead vocals for the band's summer 2012 tour.
Known for such hits as "More Than A Feeling," "Amanda" and "Don't Look Back," Boston will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Decotah Exposition Center at Jackpot Junction in Morton. Doors open at 6 p.m.
DeCarlo's foray into the band started five years ago after the death of Brad Delp, who was Boston's lead singer. Just like most people, DeCarlo said, he thought it was the end of Boston.
"We figured that was it, the band was pretty much done," DeCarlo said.
DeCarlo had taught himself how to play the piano when he was a teenager and would sing along with any Boston song that came on the radio.
After living in Florida for 18 years, DeCarlo and his family moved to Charlotte, N.C. in 2005. He was working at a Home Depot in Charlotte as a credit manager.
"I was selling nuts and bolts," DeCarlo said.
DeCarlo had also posted covers he'd done of Boston songs and other music on his MySpace page. He then learned about a tribute being planned for Delp, so he sent a link to his MySpace page to Boston and offered to sing a song he wrote in honor of Delp. Boston was also performing at the tribute, and DeCarlo asked the band if it needed an extra singer. He did get a response a couple weeks later, but he was told there weren't going to be any additions to the lineup.
Some time later, longtime Boston member Tom Scholz heard DeCarlo's cover of "Don't Look Back" and was amazed at what he heard. In the public's eye, DeCarlo said, he became part of Boston in 2008, but in actuality, he was asked to join the previous year.
"It was kind of under wraps," DeCarlo said. When he had weekends off from Home Depot, his co-workers would assume he was just at home. "In fact, I was flying to Boston to rehearse with the band."
DeCarlo said that landing the job with Boston was unexpected.
"It was never my intention when I contacted them," DeCarlo said. "I didn't think anything beyond that, but I'm not going to complain."
When he got the invitation to join the band, his family was happy for him, DeCarlo said.
"We were all pretty excited, we were all crazy when it happened," DeCarlo said. DeCarlo said it was pretty amazing to hang up the phone with a musician he idolized a better part of his life - Scholz.
Before he became part of the longtime band, DeCarlo said he didn't see Boston live until the mid-1990s.
DeCarlo said he honestly doesn't have a favorite song of Boston's that he performs. He tried figuring that out four years ago when the band last toured but came up empty.
"It's not one, it's all of them," DeCarlo said, adding that any song by Boston is his favorite.
What's exciting for the former Home Depot employee is seeing the excitement of Boston fans and making them happy that the group is still around doing shows.
"I'm thankful to be able to help bring that to them," he said. "It's amazing to play to a sold-out venue and see people happy."
In the four years between tours, DeCarlo said he's kept busy with other musical projects. Both his kids are musicians, he added, and he still lives in North Carolina.
"The opportunity that Tom (Scholz) gave me has given me opportunities," DeCarlo said.