By: Russell Hall
Boston's Tom Scholz has always followed a simple premise: if something works, don't change it. Since releasing Boston's classic debut album in 1976, the veteran guitarist has sometimes frustrated fans with his legendary perfectionism, but the long stretches between albums have always been worth the wait. Boston's latest LP--Life, Hope and Love--is no exception. Roiled in 2007 by the tragic death of vocalist Brad Delp, Scholz elected not to replace the singer, but instead took a "vocalist by committee" approach for the new disc. Just as important, Scholz's trademark guitar sound--rife with beautiful tone and soaring sustain--remains a thing of wonder.
"I have only two [electric guitars] and they're both old Les Paul gold tops," Scholz said, in 2002. "Somebody told me that these two guitars were made for only six months--during half of 1968--so there are very few in existence. The amazing thing is that I bought two of them, without knowing that the second one was also from 1968, from that six-month period. I just needed a second guitar before we went on the road, so I snatched it up."
Regarding the new Boston album, Scholz says, "These are all songs from the heart, each of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, perform and record, always up to the demands of Boston's harshest critic, me. They have all been meticulously recorded to analog tape on the same machines and equipment used for Boston's hits for the past 35 years." Not surprisingly, Scholz's ten favorite albums are, without exception, guitar-based classics. Below, he shares his thoughts about several of those LPs.
1) Jeff Beck: Truth
2) Led Zeppelin: I
3) Led Zeppelin: II
4) James Gang: Rides Again
Tom Scholz: "I knew Jeff Beck's Truth album inside out. The same was true of the first two Led Zeppelin albums and Joe Walsh's James Gang's Rides Again."
5) Iron Butterfly: Heavy
"In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida is hideous, but this album was really cool. The last cut was called the 'Iron Butterfly Theme.' It was an instrumental, in a very strange time signature. That was the song that got me interested in playing guitar."
6) Kinks: Greatest Hits
7) The Yardbirds: Having a Rave Up
8) The Who: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy
9 The Who: The Who Sell Out
"My interest in pop music was really limited. If it hadn't been for The Kinks and The Yardbirds and The Who, back in the '60s, I probably never would have gotten involved in music. Those first Kinks singles were amazing. 'All Day and All of the Night' and 'You Really Got Me' were real favorites."
10) Blue Cheer: Blue Cheer
"Very few people have heard of this group. Their claim to fame was that they were the loudest band in the world."
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