By Dean Johnson
"It will be a theatrical triumph of the first order if we get all this junk to go in and out and up and down at all the right times for all the right songs,'' Tom Scholz said with a grin.
The man behind the megaplatinum band Boston was in Manchester, N.H.'s Verizon Wireless Center on Thursday night for the first full band rehearsal in front of the stage set Boston will use for its North American tour. The road trip began here Friday night, hits the Tweeter Center on Friday and runs at least through August.
"I do feel that (corporate America) is very much to blame for making us a terrorist target,'' said the still-lanky Scholz, now in his mid-50s. "I'm on this big kick about all that and came up with this idea for a set.''
By Chuck Miller
"It often is a merit of an ideal to be unattainable. Its being so keeps forever before us something more to be done, and saves us from the ennui of a monotonous perfection." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
The summer of 1976 is winding down, and the radio stations have just added a new song to their playlist. The intro fades in, with chord progressions that sound like the James Gang's "Tend My Garden." The bridge to the refrain echoes the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie," and the lead guitarist threw in a few licks of the Tornadoes' "Telstar" in a guitar solo. And the lead singer is hitting high notes usually reserved for Frankie Valli, for Robert Plant, for Annie Haslam.
This previously unknown group, whose members alternated between bar bands and intricate studio demo tapes, have just released "More Than A Feeling," the first single from their debut album. More than twenty years later, that debut album - Boston - is one of the biggest selling LP's of all time, with over 17 million copies purchased. That first single, "More Than A Feeling," is still a classic rock staple, as are many of their other songs - "Peace of Mind," "Don't Look Back," "Amanda," "Rock and Roll Band" - the list goes on.
By Gary Graff
"Let's face it; there are always changes in rock and roll since the last Boston album," Tom Scholz says. "I mean, there's been a new president for every album."
Scholz isn't kidding. In 19 years, his band has put out just four albums; Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton were the White House occupants. Madonna has put out more than twice as many albums in half that time.
Climates - musical and political - may have changed, but Boston hasn't. The sound on Walk On, which came out last June and was Boston's first album in seven years, is of a stylistic piece with the album's three predecessors. The production is dynamic and Teflon-clean. The guitar assault comes courtesy of Led Zeppelin, the melodic sensibility from the Beatles.
And there's a stadium-size drama - Boston plays the Waterfront Entertainment Centre on Friday - and bombast drawn from the music Scholz learned as a child.
In other words, the world of alternative and modern rock has made no impact whatsoever in the self-constructed home studio where Scholz crafts Boston hits such as "More Than a Feeling," "Long Time" and "Don't Look Back."
By Steve Morse
At: the House of Blues, Monday night
Usually when the band Boston performs, it's a high-pressure gig in a packed-to-the-gills arena. Remember, this was the band that made its New York debut by playing three nights at Madison Square Garden in the late '70s. No other band has done that before or since. And Boston still holds the record for most Worcester Centrum shows in one engagement -- a whopping nine nights back in the late '80s.
So it was a treat to see the reconstituted Boston -- still with eternally boyish, sonic-guitar whiz Tom Scholz -- scaling down to the play the House of Blues last night. They had never played a club in town before (their local debut was Boston Garden), but they delivered the goods musically and played for a good cause. Before the two-hour benefit show was done, Scholz handed checks of $5,000 to Globe Santa and another $5,000 to Operation Christmas in Fall River.
The famously lush, vocal-heavy Boston sound was administered with note- perfect flair, almost as if you were listening to the records. Scholz is a notorious perfectionist (to the point of asking the House of Blues to rewire its sound for the occasion), but his fussiness paid dividends. The sound quality was downright spectacular -- and not too decibel-heavy, either, unlike the recent, ear-blasting Black Crowes show at the Paradise.
Band Founder Tom Scholz Puts Troubles Behind Him
By Steve Morse
Boston is trying to salvage a lost year. Not the city, but the band. The band experienced a year from hell, fighting with its record label, fighting a former manager in court, scrapping a summer tour and watching in horror as a new album sold only 1 million copies. That's a dream figure for most bands, but was only 25 percent of what any of Boston's three previous discs had sold.
"One million sales is not a total embarrassment," says Boston producer/ guitarist Tom Scholz. "And it got extremely good reactions from the people who actually managed to find out there was an album released. It was a very well-kept secret."
Scholz has reason to fume -- he lost his battles with MCA Records, which did little to promote the album; and lost his court case with former manager Paul Ahern, who won a half-million dollars for alleged breach of contract. But Scholz is determined to be optimistic, so he's booked two shows at the House of Blues on Monday (a Globe Santa benefit) and Tuesday. They're Boston's first local shows since selling out the Worcester Centrum for a record nine nights in 1988.