BOSTON's official site has a post by Tom Scholz addressing some of the myths circulating about BOSTON, as well as some confusion being made of former artists' solo performances using the logo and music of BOSTON.
BOSTON shows, myths, and truths by Tom Scholz
In spite of recent misleading ads claiming BOSTON appearances and even reunions of original members, BOSTON is not touring or performing this year. While we're off this summer, several of our members are involved with other projects that are worth catching if you can:
Kimberley Dahme is releasing her new CD "You Make Me Believe" this month and has many solo appearances scheduled. Gary Pihl contributed writing, performing and production help to her effort, and Jeff Neal and I also did a little playing on the album. Gary will be joining Kimberley at several of her performances ... check out her tour page: www.kdsongs.com
Michael Sweet is touring with Stryper this fall in support of Stryper's new album "Murder by Pride." The tour marks their 25th Anniversary. Gary Pihl and I hope to catch up with them to sit in at some point. www.michaelsweet.com.
Also, Gary Pihl is compiling a series of good quality video clips from live shows soon to be available here on bandboston.com, watch for it!
We are hoping to embark on another major BOSTON tour next year. Meanwhile, I am finally back working to complete the next BOSTON studio album with some help from the gang, and I think you are really going to like it!
But I'm telling you it's not BOSTON...
As many of you know, numerous dates have been announced for the band Cosmo, but have been promoted using the name, logo, or even the recorded music of BOSTON, which may have confused some as to whether BOSTON would be performing.
Fran Cosmo has explained that he was unaware that BOSTON's name, logo, or music were being used by his agent to promote Cosmo as BOSTON. While most of it has stopped, there are still some problems with unauthorized use of the name BOSTON in connection with some scheduled Cosmo performances.
Cosmo's extensive covers of older BOSTON songs recorded prior to Fran's involvement raised some eyebrows, but as long as these shows are not promoted in a misleading way using BOSTON, we see no problem with their performance of a few BOSTON songs, and wish them luck with their summer tour.
25 Year Reunion???
Unrelated, there have been extensive promotions for a band called Ernie and the Automatics fueled by the heir to the Boch car dealer fortune, Ernie Boch Jr., claiming a 25 year reunion of former original members of BOSTON.
Oddly, the two musicians referred to in the ad campaign have appeared together repeatedly over many years, so the 25 year reunion claim is a bit strange. While they did indeed play live with BOSTON about thirty years ago, the claim that they were "original members" is questionable.
There were only two performers signed to make the debut album in the original Epic Records agreements, Brad and myself. Possibly because we wrote all the music for the album, recorded the six demo songs that landed the deal, produced them in my basement, and funded all of it from my Polaroid salary.
Between the two of us, Brad and I went on to physically record nearly 90% of the actual studio tracks for the BOSTON album. On most of the songs, once the drum track was laid down, all the instruments and vocals you hear were recorded by just the two of us, painstakingly overdubbing each part to create the recorded "band" that so many have become familiar with.
The only other person who helped make those demos for the resulting album was drummer Jim Masdea. Masdea, forced out by the management Brad and I had signed with in 1975, was in fact the drummer for every demo I sent to record companies back in the 70's. The same manager who vetoed Masdea was also responsible for the back cover of the debut album, with the famous pic of five musicians, which by some coincidence, also omitted Masdea's performance credit from the initial pressing run.
These ads almost seem to imply that including two musicians from our 70's tours on an unrelated CD somehow make it a BOSTON reunion. After this much time, is it really necessary to resort to something like this to get attention?
Mother's Milk goes sour...
On the subject of misleading promotions, a few months ago Wikipedia reported some outlandish claims purportedly made by Barry Goudreau based on a fancifully twisted version of Mother's Milk as the origin of BOSTON, and cited Goudreau's website. While I apologize for dwelling on ancient history, this has gained some traction in the music press and finally warrants a response. Elements of the story have also persisted on other Wiki pages.
According to the Wikipedia post, "The way Goudreau tells it, when he was a student at Boston University, he led a band called "Mother's Milk". One day, a musician named Tom Scholz joined after answering an ad in a local weekly newspaper. Scholz was a recent MIT engineering graduate who worked at Polaroid who was primarily a keyboard player, but who rapidly developed as a guitar player after joining Goudreau's band. After years of practice in Scholz's home studio with singer Brad Delp and other local musicians, Mother's Milk evolved into what we know as Boston, and Scholz took over the leadership of the band. In 1976, after years of having their demo tapes rejected, the band got signed to Epic Records after (in Goudreau's words) Scholz "refine[d] the songs and recordings to a point where they could no longer be denied."
This would be true except for a few minor details: Mother's Milk was never led by Goudreau, he wasn't a student at BU when Mother's Milk existed, I didn't meet Goudreau in Mother's Milk, there was never a newspaper ad for a keyboard or guitar player for Mother's Milk, I didn't join Mother's Milk, Mother's Milk did not practice in my home studio, it did not evolve into the band BOSTON, it was not signed to Epic Records, and most of the songs on the eventual demo that Epic liked had never been shopped to a record label before, because most of them hadn't been written yet. Other than that, totally accurate.
The Wikipedia blurb went on to say "According to Goudreau's story, he was the founder of the band Boston— and he, Delp and Scholz were more or less equal contributors to the band's emergence."
Realistically, since Barry Goudreau wrote no music for the BOSTON albums or demos, played on only two cuts of the entire debut album, did not play at all on the six demos leading to the Epic Records contract, did not contribute financially to recording the demos, and was not even mentioned in the contracts for the original Epic Records deal, these claims would seem to be a bit of a stretch. (For more on this check the BOSTON Remaster and Greatest Hits Remaster CD booklets.) Of the many musicians who have toured with BOSTON, Goudreau's run as a member of the band was the shortest.
Wikipedia just won't go quietly...
We corrected the Wikipedia BOSTON history page, only to have it once again deleted by someone, and replaced with another bogus story involving Mother's Milk. This replacement story was nearly as inaccurate as the first one, but I have to give them credit for coming up with a new set of fairy tales.
Wikipedia claimed "More Than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," and "Rock and Roll Band" were recorded in my early demo sessions (that would have been 1971), but a simple check of the copyright records would show the songs weren't written till years later. I really enjoyed playing with Fran Sheehan in BOSTON, but Fran never played bass for Mother's Milk as Wiki claimed. Contrary to other Wiki warped factoids: Epic never insisted that the demo tapes be rerecorded with a full band for the debut album (in fact, they weren't), only that producer John Boylan be involved, and there were no "other local musicians" working with me to record the Epic demo besides Jim Masdea and Brad Delp.
I'm beginning to think you shouldn't believe what you read on Wikipedia.
Goudreau's website now has no reference to Mother's Milk, but attempts to link him with the founding of BOSTON along another twisted path... read on.
The back story to Mother's Milk...
I couldn't join Mother's Milk, of course, because I started the band. It was a last desperate attempt to get my original music heard by performing it live. Besides putting up the money for equipment and promo ads, I drew the band logo, laid out the promo ads, built a crude lighting system for the shows, and wrote all the original material performed by the band. As you might imagine, I did also lead the band. I hate to admit I was the one who thought up that God awful name after hearing the term on a TV show one night. I wish people had fixated on Middle Earth instead, which was the band I started before that, with a much less embarrassing name.
I actually met Goudreau years earlier in 1970, my last year at MIT, in a band called "Freehold" that was led by a fellow MIT student. I'm not going to debate whether Goudreau led that band or not, but it was the MIT dude that sang most of the lead vocals, provided the practice space, found the gigs around campus, named the band, and wrote most of the original material we played - make your own call.
Freehold played one very important role in the formation of BOSTON; it introduced me to drummer Jim Masdea. Jim was the first musician I ever recorded with, and he played drums on nearly every demo I ever made.
Years later, Mother's Milk would hold no such distinction. It was the last straw in a string of dismal failures that made me give up on working with groups. In addition to Brad and Barry, I had invited Jim to play drums and Frank Cremoni for bass. Brad quit early on, and was replaced by a guy who called himself "Rabbit." I think that might have actually been his whole name.
Because the sole purpose of forming Mother's Milk was to play my songs live, I had provided all the original music for Mother's Milk, and spent some serious cash getting it started. When I finally threw in the towel some time after Brad left the band, Mother's Milk mercifully ceased to exist.
Finally free from the distractions of other musicians, and the ordeal of playing local gigs, I went back to my basement studio to write and record, on my own. To get the sound and style I had been searching for, I gave up the idea of involving other players in my recording, with the exception of my old friend Jim Masdea. After purchasing some "new" used equipment, I finished several new songs, and made one last set of six demo recordings with Jim playing drums, and me, myself, and I playing everything else. Now at the end of my bank account, I knew this would be my last shot.
After completing instrument tracks for 4 of the new songs, I got back in touch with Brad and invited him to sing on my new tapes, hoping he would forgive me for the Mother's Milk disaster. He laid in all the vocals the same way I recorded the instrument tracks, laboriously overdubbing them one part at a time. These four songs resulted in three major labels contacting me, and led to a management contract. The final two songs, one of which was "More Than a Feeling," resulted in Brad and I being signed to Epic Records.
The real point here is that Mother's Milk, regardless of who was responsible for it, really had nothing to do with the music later released by BOSTON. The songs played by Mother's Milk were songs I wrote at home, and brought to the practice for the others to learn. The six demo tunes later sent to the labels were never recorded by, or pitched as a "band." Brad and I were not viewed as just founders of a band, but as the actual act, and as such, only he and I were named on the contract offered in 1976. The two of us eventually went on to write all the songs for the first two BOSTON albums.
I think people want to believe that things grow or morph into something grander as a natural sort of progression. But sometimes something really cool happens because there is a completely new start, divorced from what was tried before. Such is the case with BOSTON, created in a basement with a beat up tape machine by a couple of unknowns experimenting with their songs.
Because Barry was not involved in making the demos that landed the Epic deal, and played such a minor role in the debut BOSTON album, referring to Mother's Milk as somehow being the forerunner of BOSTON would enhance his image. He did play in Mother's Milk after all, and that would provide him a more plausible connection to the origin of BOSTON. Epic publicity latched on to the Mother's Milk angle, and I did my best to ignore it over the years until it faded into oblivion, only to now be exhumed like the dreaded mummy. Possibly Barry believed that it would bolster his claim of having somehow been a founder of BOSTON, now that Brad is gone.
Disbanding Mother's Milk allowed me the freedom to finally create the sound and many of the songs that would eventually be called BOSTON, including "More than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," "Rock and Roll Band," and "Something About You" (titled "It Isn't Easy" on the demo), without the typical art-by-commitee influence. Jim Masdea and especially Brad contributed greatly, but there was no band, and I actually always worked individually with Brad, or Jim.
To avoid having the recordings sound rigid due to the lack of a live band, I closed my eyes each time I played a part and imagined a sea of fans in a live concert, a habit that stuck with me on stage after it actually became a reality. The illusion that the demos were recorded by a band was so convincing that Brad thought they were, until years later.
Somewhere along the way, some self appointed music biz marketing expert decided to promote BOSTON as if it were a "normal" group, and as Cameron Crowe pointed out in his Rolling Stone piece a couple of years later, there was a conscious effort to downplay my importance in making the recordings of what was now perceived as a band.
Fast forward to today...
Currently on Barry Goudreau's website, a much different account of the origin of BOSTON appears, in which the fantasies of the Mother's Milk story on the old Wiki page we keep correcting are absent, but new theories conveniently link him as a force behind BOSTON in a more subtle way.
Barry's website now claims that "we" were signed to Epic Records in 1975, (but he wasn't)...That "we" were looking to record demos (but only I had written music, booked studio sessions or paid for them)....That "we" put together a demo tape (but I don't remember anyone else figuring out arrangements, sweating over a mixing console, writing songs, signing checks, running off copies, sending letters, making long distance calls, addressing dozens of mailing envelopes, or digging up record label information). Barry and I did drive to New York once though.
Speaking further of these demos, his bio still insists that I continued "to refine the songs and recordings to a point where they could no longer be denied," which is still untrue. As explained above, I didn't buff and polish some old demos made with outside musicians. Isolated in a basement, I wrote new songs and made new recordings, with only Brad and Jim's help, to come up with the music that convinced Epic Records.
Barry also mentions that "since Tom had a real job, he began to finance it" [recording demos]; he doesn't mention that I continued to pay for all of it.
There are other inaccuracies, but it is true that the demos I made back when I included Barry's playing were all unanimously rejected. This only changed after I decided to record the instruments myself - not that Barry wasn't a good guitar player, I just found it impossible to get the feeling, style, or emotion I was striving for without doing it myself.
Why I don't like to look back...
Concerned about egos, back in 1976 I naively suggested to Brad that we pay Barry Goudreau a share of the record royalties equal to ours, not just for the two cuts he played on, but for every song on the album. After performing with BOSTON a scant three years, Barry left to pursue a career separate from mine, but he kept his share of royalties for all the songs he was not involved in recording, and has continued to collect it for the last thirty years. Accepting money for someone else's work is one thing, taking credit is quite another.