By Ed Condran
Asbury Park Press
It isn't easy for a band to move forward after its vocalist dies. But Boston, which lost singer Brad Delp in 2007, has forged ahead.
After Delp's shocking suicide, guitarist-songwriter Tom Scholz has found the resolve to keep the long-running, but slow-moving, band alive.
Scholz is perhaps the most meticulous tunesmith in rock. The brainy electronics geek pays attention to every detail and works on each nuance while making a song. As a result, Boston released just three albums after 1978's "Don't Look Back" up until Delp took his life.
Boston continued to play out after Delp's death, but few expected Scholz to craft another album under the Boston moniker after his friend passed. But the toothy former design engineer made "Life, Love & Hope," which dropped in December.
"I'm sure most people thought that when Brad died, Boston died as well," Scholz said while calling from his suburban Boston home. "But Brad and I were working on a new Boston album. Brad sung on songs that he knew were earmarked for a Boston album. So I possessed those tracks, and I believe that he would have approved it if I used his vocals for the new songs. After knowing him for so many years, I'm certain that's how he would feel. I love how it turned out."
There are some very good moments on "Life, Love & Hope." It's no surprise that Scholz' guitar work is front and center, and at times, he is masterful. Delp's vocals are effective on the three songs for which his vocals are utilized, and David Victor, who is the lead vocalist on the catchy single "Heaven and Earth," has a huge set of pipes like Delp. The same can be said for vocalist Tommy DeCarlo, who sings six new songs.
When Boston performs Sunday, June 29, at the PNC Bank Arts Center, the group will showcase the new material and render favorites from its salad days, which is nearly 40 years.
The group returns to Jersey for a show in Atlantic City July 11.
"I can't wait to tour," Scholz said. "Making the albums is tedious for me. It's a lot of work. But hitting the road is when I have the most fun. I would rather be playing out in front of thousands as opposed to be playing in front of four walls."
Scholz will be flanked by DeCarlo, who will sing; guitarist-vocalist Gary Pihl; vocalist-guitarist David Victor, who typically belts out "Amanda"; guitarist-vocalist Kimberly Dahme; bassist Tracy Ferrie; and drummer Jeff Neal.
"It's a great group of musicians," Scholz said. "Brad isn't here. I wish he was, but I'm having a great time moving forward with this crew."
Will it be another decade before Boston releases another album?
"I can't predict the future," Scholz said. "All I know is that I'm very happy with the present. I love how this album sounds. I'm in a really good place right now. It's been a great career so far."
7 p.m. Sunday, June 29
PNC Bank Arts Center, Exit 116 Garden State Parkway, Holmdel
$25.50, $36.50, $63.50, $81.50 and $150.50
732-203-2500 or www.artscenter.com
9 p.m. July 11 at Caesars Atlantic City, 2100 Pacific Ave.; $65; www.caesarsac.com