Top L.A. music attorney Don Engel faced a no-win situation when a Boston court ordered him to testify.
By Di Mari Ricker
California Law Business
For San Francisco music attorney David Phillips of [Phillips & Erlewine], it was "an attorney's dream." For Los Angeles music attorney Don Engel of Engel & Engel, the same experience ranged from "weird" to "devastating."
What they were describing were the events of a recent trial in Boston involving the rock group of the same name. Mr. Engel, who defended the group's guitarist, Tom Scholz, found himself in a litigator's Twilight Zone: on the witness stand being questioned by the plaintiff's counsel.
The case centered on a common refrain in the music industry: royalties. Paul Ahern - who began his involvement with the group Boston as its original personal manager and went on to manage the careers of Mr. Scholz and others - sued Mr. Scholz over royalties he claimed were owed him from Boston's third album, "Third Stage," which was released by MCA Records in 1986 and sold more than three million copies. Ahern v. Scholz, 91-10586-H.
From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports
Los Angeles Times
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Tom Scholz, leader of the rock group Boston, did not breach a contract with CBS Records when the group failed to deliver a record album, a federal jury has ruled.
Ending a seven-year court battle, the U.S. District Court jury also ruled Tuesday that CBS Records did not engage in a conspiracy against Scholz when it tried to stop other record companies from signing him.
CBS Records sued the entire band in 1983, charging it with failing to deliver the requisite number of albums under a 1976 contract. Charges against other band members were dismissed.
The band's first two albums, released in the 1970s, "Boston" and "Don't Look Back," went platinum.
CBS expected a third album by 1981. Despite promises by Scholz to CBS executives and rock magazines that the third album was imminent, no record was made. CBS suspended Scholz's royalties in 1983, then sued.
Lawyers for both sides said the jury apparently believed Scholz's argument that the delay in producing the third album was rooted in the creative process.
"I feel great," said Scholz, the group's founder. The jury "somehow picked up that I didn't care about the money."
By Steve Morse
When it comes to rock 'n' roll philanthropy, there may be no greater believer than Tom Scholz of the band Boston. His group headlines an AIDS benefit tonight at Boston Garden -- the second part of the "AID & Comfort" series which began last night with a performance by Joan Rivers. Scholz has already given $1.5 million to help various social programs in the last two years, from supporting hospices to fighting for animal rights.
"I had a manager whose father died of AIDS," Scholz said recently from his home in Boston's western suburbs. "Right now, AIDS is the most obvious tragedy that needs our attention."
Scholz is upset that most other rock bands have avoided the AIDS issue. ''There are a lot of people who don't have the guts to get involved with it," he said. "It will probably stir up some adverse reaction in some circles of the public, but I can only guess why. Whatever it is, it's a poor excuse."
By Steve Morse
Boston is coming home. After setting attendance marks around the country --including a record 82,000 fans at the Texxas Jam in June --the band tonight begins an unprecedented nine shows at the Worcester Centrum. That is five more nights than any group has ever booked during a single stretch there. And it is only one shy of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's record 10 shows at the Meadowlands in New Jersey two years ago.
"The Centrum dates are without a doubt the high point of the tour --and I think I could say with relative accuracy the high point of the careers of all six musicians," states Boston's lead guitarist and producer, Tom Scholz.
Was Boston Garden ever considered?
"No," Scholz says during a recent phone interview. "Have you ever been to any of those 98-degree games they played there last year? Imagine what it could be like this time of year."
In terms of rock history, last night was an eagerly awaited occasion, when Boston, performing in Philadelphia for the first time in nine years, opened a three-night stand at the Spectrum. Musically, it was pretty ho-hum, as Boston ran through a medley of early hits before playing Third Stage, their latest album, in its entirety.
Visually, it was far from exciting. The spotlight kept seeking out Scholz, who stood listlessly hunched over his guitar. But he did give a few displays of feedback sorcery. The use of props, like a monstrous antique pipe organ that loomed above the stage during "The Launch," was uninspired.