WW '13: Pihl shares his story of music with WHS

By Ben Porter, Chris Connell and Connie Yoon
Wayland Student Press Network

Be honest. We all dream of rocking the stage in a sold out stadium. Unfortunately, most of us never perform in a venue more prestigious than the shower. Reaching the status of "famous rockstar" is a one-in-a-million chance, yet Gary Pihl has reached this legendary status as a member of the band Boston.

"My parents thought, 'he's not that good, he should do something else'," Pihl said.

Skeptical parents turned out to be a blessing for the young rocker. After being dragged to the local college, Pihl found he enjoyed the learning experience. Motivated to learn how to fix broken equipment, Pihl began taking eletronic classes. Pihl continued to sharpen his musical skills by practicing whenever possible and taking music classes. However, these classes focussed largely on classical music and were aimed at future music teachers, rather than future performers. College also offered Pihl the opportunity to perform at local clubs and bars.

Even though as a teenager in the 1960's, where musicians were synonymous to drug users, Pihl did not use drugs.

"I've played in bands with people who used drugs, and I can say for sure that they didn't play any better when they were on drugs," Pihl said.

In fact, both of Pihl's big breaks came as a result of his preparation and proper choices. First, in 1977, Pihl was asked by Sammy Hagar "why don't you come down and jam with us, because the guy who used to play with us just died by shooting cocaine in the bathroom of a gas station?"

Two days later, Pihl was touring for the first time with his new band.

"When I was in Sammy's band we got to open up to the band Boston on the first tour," Pihl said. "Thats how we got to know the guys of Boston." He now had a connection to one of the biggest band in the country.

This connection was crucial, but it was Pihl's electronic capabilities that paved the way to success.

"In Boston, the leader Tom Scholz started his own electronics company, in which he made electronic products for guitars. It was a great fit for me to join the band cause I knew about electronics and what was going on there," Pihl reflected.

"In 1985, Tom was looking for another guitar player and remembered me from those days," Pihl said. The rest is history. Pihl joined the band responsible for the best selling debut-album in history in 1986 and has been touring ever since, most recently in September.

To other aspiring rockers, Pihls message is clear.

"Study all kinds of things, anything you might like, find out more about that because you never know if it'll help you along the way," Pihl told WHS students.

After all, it was Pihl's choices that separated him from the rest, allowing him to rock millions while leaving his competitors singing in the shower.

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