By Lara Skinner
Journal Tribune

STANDISH -- Family and friends are missing Jeff Neal this summer. Ever the stalwart history educator for Bonny Eagle High School, Neal is on the road accumulating knowledge about the nation's past by traveling to approximately 48 American cities. He is always on the lookout for interesting information to add to his curriculum, and will keep a journal of his vacation travels.

All of this is available to Jeff because he's touring as the drummer for the 70s rock band Boston.

At least once a day, Ann-Marie Neal, who is married to Jeff, will talk to him on the phone and the conversation stays the same, in one way.

"He always gets a call to me, ‘You're never going to guess who I met,'" Ann-Marie said.

Being a bit star-struck might not seem like a good way to gather history, but Jeff said he planned to do what he could in between sets and flights. How many historical tidbits he will get a chance to collect is hard to say. Boston started the tour on May 11, in Manchester N.H., and will stay on the road until at least August 24, with a final tour date in Canada.

"This is a great opportunity to kind of get some of these (historical items) to use in the classroom," he said.

The designer for Boston's eponymous 1976 record is baffled that it became iconic--but for rockers of the era, the art ingeniously complemented the music.

By Steven Hellermar
The Atlantic

Boston's hit song "More Than a Feeling" has long been a frequent presence on movie soundtracks and at wedding receptions. Just as instantly recognizable, though, is the cover of the eponymous first album on which the song appears. Designed by Paula Scher and illustrated by Roger Huyssen for Epic Records, the cover has a loyal following equalling the iconic art for The Beatles' Revolver (designed by Klaus Voorman) and Cream's Disraeli Gears (Martin Sharp). Album covers often carry emotive and symbolic weight--but what is it about guitar-shaped space ships fleeing an exploding planet earth on Boston that makes the image so special?

Scher, who once designed covers and worked as an art director for major artists such as The Rolling Stones and Maynard Ferguson, admits she's "mystified" by the continued interest in this album package. "The Boston cover was designed in 1976 and is now 39 years old," she says. "It was, and still is, in my opinion, a mediocre piece of work."

Yet the album has endured: The guitar-ship has been repeated on subsequent records and as backdrops on concert stages.

Album images don't always turn out as planned--their popularity is often a matter of timing. Take the cover for Boston: Tom Scholz, the band's guitarist and songwriter, wanted a guitar on the cover, which in Scher's artistic lexicon was a cliché. She and Epic Records product manager Jim Charney compromised with a guitar-shaped space ship. "The first space ship cover idea we showed Scholz had a Boston invasion of the planet, but Scholz said that space ships should be saving the planet, not attacking. So we came up with the Earth-blowing-up idea," she said.

By Scott Mervis
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The second Boston album, "Don't Look Back," followed two years behind the breakout 1976 debut.

Since then, things have been a little less on schedule. The band, led by legendary guitarist and tinkerer Tom Scholz, adopted more of an eight-year cycle, and the recent album, last year's "Life, Love & Hope," arrived after an 11-year gap.

This one was more painstaking than most, following the suicide of original singer Brad Delp in March 2007, which obviously threw the band's future into doubt. It regrouped the following spring, though, hitting the road with shared vocals by Michael Sweet of Stryper and newcomer Tommy DeCarlo, a Home Depot employee discovered via YouTube. The latter, a vocal ringer for Delp, has developed well beyond Mr. Scholz's expectations, and he has taken the reins of the veteran group on recent tours.

It's vocal by committee on "Life, Love & Hope" with Delp's earlier recording, and Mr. DeCarlo, Kimberley Dahme, David Victor and even Mr. Scholz, for the first time, contributing. What stands out, however, more than any vocal disparity is a sound that time-warps back to the '70s with the same ramped-up guitar sound and processed effects.

Boston now returns with a slightly tweaked lineup, according to Mr. Scholz, who talked with us recently.

By Brian Aberback
northjersey.com

WHO: Boston and Cheap Trick.

WHAT: Rock.

IN TOWN: 7 p.m. Sunday, PNC Bank Arts Center, Garden State Parkway, exit 116, Holmdel; 732-203-2500 or livenation.com. $25.50 to $81.50.

ALSO PERFORMING: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, N.Y.; 516-221-1000 or livenation.com. $37.50 to $82.50.

MORE INFO: bandboston.com.

Boston vocalist Tommy DeCarlo has sung the band's hits for the past seven years. Now, fans have the chance to hear the energetic singer perform new material. "I love singing the classics, but to sing on something new is very special," DeCarlo said by phone. "It's an amazing experience being part of a Boston record."

Boston's first album with DeCarlo, "Life, Love & Hope," was issued in December. The band performs on Sunday in Holmdel and Tuesday at Jones Beach.

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The band Boston spoke to people's souls during the 1970s with smash hits like "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind." But two weeks after lead singer Brad Delp's suicide at his New Hampshire home, bad feelings abound. Current members of the band, including the chief songwriter and founder, Tom Scholz, were not informed about or invited to Delp's funeral, which was attended by early band members who opposed Scholz in a 1980s legal battle.

Last week, Delp's ex-wife Micki was quoted on a radio station saying Delp was distressed about the conflicts in his professional life and became despondent after a longtime friend, Fran Cosmo, was cut from Boston's summer concert lineup. The story spread online, where fans trying to figure out the reason for Delp's suicide took up the cudgels.

Scholz, who called Delp his "closest friend and collaborator in music for over 35 years," said he was crushed by Delp's suicide and his exclusion from the funeral. Now he feels he is being unfairly blamed for Delp's death.

"It went from devastating on the initial phone call to an absolute nightmare," Scholz told The Associated Press on Friday in a tearful telephone interview, his first since Delp's death on March 9. (An interview conducted by e-mail was published earlier in Rolling Stone.)

"We had been told it would only be his immediate family (at the funeral), and of course it wasn't," he said.

Viera Voice

Seven years into his rock and roll fantasy as lead singer of multiplatinum-selling supergroup Boston, Tommy DeCarlo still finds performing the band's biggest hits before thousands of fans a bit surreal.

"I'm incredibly comfortable right until I have to walk out on stage," said DeCarlo, who performs with Boston at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne. "I think that part of it is always going to be there."

A former credit manager at a Charlotte, N.C. Home Depot who had never been in a band before, DeCarlo was plucked from obscurity to become Boston's frontman in 2008. At the urging of a friend, DeCarlo sent Boston's management some recordings of him singing Boston tunes to a karaoke soundtrack on his MySpace page as a tribute to lead singer Brad Delp, who committed suicide in 2007. Boston founder Tom Scholz heard the recordings and flew DeCarlo and his family to Boston for an audition. DeCarlo made his first-ever stage appearance before 4,000 fans at a Delp tribute concert, and the band made him its lead singer soon afterward.

"I would have never believed this could happen in a million years," said DeCarlo, a Utica, N.Y. native, married father of two, and Boston fan since his teens.

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.

By Gary Graff
Morning Sun

Tom Scholz is ambitious.

It's just that he values quality over quantity. To the extreme.

That's why Boston, the band he founded -- guess where? -- has released just six albums during its history and is prone to lengthy waits. There were eight-year waits between the group's three previous albums, and the new "Life, Love & Hope" surfaced in December after a whopping 11 years, debuting at No. 37 on the Billboard 200.

And, Scholz acknowledges with a laugh, "I probably would have kept going on this one, but it was getting a little long. All of these songs, they're basically done when I don't think I can express myself any better with the music for whatever I was trying to say. That might be because I'm so burnt on it that I don't think I can do any better or because I think it would be really dangerous to try to change it any more -- that I just might make it worse or lose something.

By Michael Hamad
CTNOW

Six albums in nearly 40 years: it's not what you'd call prolific. But just listen to those albums -- the layered guitar lines on "Piece of Mind," the Brad Delp's vocals on "Hitch a Ride," or pick your favorite spot -- and you might agree the countless hours guitarist/engineer/songwriter Tom Scholz spent on these tracks was worth it. For the past four decades, Scholz, an MIT-trained engineer who left a good position at Polaroid when the first Boston album, produced in his homemade, basement studio, started taking off, has been behind it all, tinkering, adjusting levels, mixing, composing, and inventing new gadgets and sounds when he couldn't get what he was after.

It's no surprise, then, that on stage, Scholz is similarly concerned with the way the band sounds. CTNow spoke to the musician from a tour stop in Texas about Boston's current Heaven on Earth Tour, which arrives at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on Saturday, June 28. (Boston's only other New England appearance is July 3 in Gilford, New Hampshire.) [This interview has been condensed and edited for space and clarity.]

By Christopher Joles
Maine Music News

Do you remember carrying home new vinyl from the record store? Vinyl. All shiny and wrapped in plastic, the art work was not only striking but important. Liner notes were memorized, and often the only photo of the band you were likely to see was the one included in the album cover's design. Remember that new vinyl smell? If this is bringing back memories, you probably had a certain spaceship on at least two album covers in your collection. Not just any spaceship – BOSTON's spaceship.

So which BOSTON riff and lyric that we all know and love just starting circling your brain? Is it "More Than a Feeling," "Don't Look Back," or maybe even "Smokin?" Feels good, doesn't it? Just imagine how good it's going to feel when you see BOSTON live at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Maine on July 2nd. Got your tickets yet?

When Maine Music News heard that BOSTON was scheduled to perform as part of the summer concert line up we were immediately looking forward to the show.

That may be an understatement, actually. We have to admit however that we haven't been following BOSTON very closely over the last few years. When we checked out their recent list of album releases and appearances, we were thrilled to see that Boston has been very busy indeed. Their latest album, Life, Love & Hope, was released in 2013.

When we had the opportunity to chat with BOSTON drummer, Jeff Neal, a Maine native, we jumped at the chance. Here is what he had to say about playing with one of the greatest American rock and roll bands.