BOSTON's tour is just around the corner, with the first show April 30 in Tuscaloosa, AL. As many fans know, drummer Jeff Neal's day job is teaching high school. With school still being in session during the start of the tour, he won't be touring with the band right away. You would probably assume that Curly Smith would fill in the role, considering he performed at some of the shows on the last tour, but there'll be a new face behind the drum kit. That face is Nick D'Virgilio.

Photo by Holger Nassenstein (licensed under Creative Commons 3.0)

Gary Pihl revealed this in a recent interview "Our drummer, Jeff Neal, is a high school teacher up in Maine, and he is such a dedicated guy. We said, ‘Gee, we got some dates for the band starting in April and into May,’ and he said, ‘Oh gosh, I’m still in school at that time! Can you find an alternate drummer?’... There are normally six of us in the band, but our seventh person is an alternate drummer and his name is Nick D’Virgilio. He is an excellent musician and he’ll be with us in Florida, for the first month of shows. Then Jeff will take over and do the rest of the tour."

Nick is probably best known as being a long-time member of the band Spock's Beard from the early 90s until 2011. Nick will be performing with the band for the first 12 shows, ending with the May 24 show in St. Augustine, FL.

Here is Nick's announcement he posted on Facebook:

Hello all! I have some really fun news to let you all in on. I will be going out to play some shows, 12 to be exact, with the band BOSTON! How classic is that?! I am very lucky and excited to be able to do these shows. It came out of the blue and thankfully I am able to join Boston for a short time while still maintaining my amazing position at Sweetwater. These shows are coming up quick, I will be on the first 12 dates, and if you live in Florida, Alabama, North or South Carolina then I hope you get some tix and come on out to jam along with some classic music.

Welcome Nick!

Update April 30: Nick posted an update on Facebook:

Just a quick update here:

It is a bit of a bummer, but it is all for the best, that I write that I will not be going out with the band Boston for any shows. After a few rehearsals it was clear that it was not the right fit for them or me. So instead of trying to make something happen that was not happening, we came to the mutual decision that I was not the man for the job. Maybe with more time it could have worked out, but with the time crunch they were under it was the right thing to do for all concerned to step back and move on.

It is not like I don't have anything good musically going on already either. I have a great job at Sweetwater Sound with all kinds of sessions - workshops - teaching - and gear madness happening, my band Big Big Train is going to be releasing some new music soon along with a live DVD and our first ever live shows in London coming up this August, my shiny new power trio The Fringe ( Randy McStine, Jonas Reingold ) will be playing at the New Jersery Proghouse Homecoming show this October and releasing some music in the near future, and I am deep into some new solo material and other things as well.

In closing the gig with Boston was really just not meant to be. I wish for them a great tour with whomever they use behind the kit.

All the best everybody!

Here is a new 30 second TV spot promoting BOSTON's upcoming tour:

[Below is a message from Tom Scholz]

We hope everyone has survived the holidays and is looking forward to this year as much as we are. 2014 was a good year for BOSTON and we are already getting excited about plans for 2015. We want to thank all our fans for the amazing response to our tour last summer; we had an awesome time thanks to the incredible support you all gave to us. And even more important, we raised a lot of money for worthy charities that protect lives both human and non human, including the Sea Shepherds, Shriners Hospitals for Children, and numerous other animal protection and hunger relief programs.

In the oddball news department, we have just found out that BOSTON's "Life, Love & Hope" album has been released on vinyl. This had always been part of the release plan, and great expenditures of time and money went into making analogue mixes of much of the album so that serious listeners could hear the original analogue sound of the recording, instead of the now typical sound of vinyl cut from digital mixes. So why aren't we celebrating?

Unfortunately, as the world has converted to digital for virtually everything, even when it's a bad idea, the facilities available to master an album from analogue tape directly to vinyl have nearly all gone away, and those that remain are not equipped or maintained like the rooms were 20 years ago. The end result for the latest BOSTON album was an unacceptable vinyl master that had clicks, static, and drop outs during many of the quiet segues between the cuts.

BOSTON is conquering the radio airwaves as "Heaven on Earth," the lead single from Life, Love & Hope, captured the #1 spot on Mediabase's Classic Rock chart this week. Written and produced by Tom Scholz, “Heaven on Earth” features David Victor on vocals with special guest Louis St. August. Additionally, Life, Love & Hope, released in the U.S. and Canada on December 3, 2013, debuted at #2 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart, as well as #5 on Billboard's Rock charts.

Scholz said, "Working for so many years in relative isolation, I had no idea how these songs would be received. It's amazing to see a BOSTON song at #1 again! I want to thank Frontiers Records, Azoff Music Management, and my wife Kim for believing in this record and for their extraordinary efforts. l'm also grateful to the many other performers and individuals who contributed to completing this album and making its release possible. All of us in BOSTON thank our fans for being so supportive over the years."

More than a decade in the making, Life, Love & Hope, the collection of brand new tracks, recorded at Scholz's very own Hideaway Studio II, was produced, arranged, and engineered by Scholz and is BOSTON's first release since 2002's Corporate America. Brad Delp, BOSTON singer Tommy DeCarlo, David Victor, Kimberley Dahme and Scholz himself, contribute vocals on the new album. Diverse yet cohesive, the long-awaited album has something for everyone and will fulfill the expectations of existing fans, while exposing a new generation to one of rock and roll's great acts.

BOSTON's hitting the road this summer.

The band will be on their Heaven on Earth tour. Dates are still being added, but there are over 30 dates listed so far. The tour list page is being kept updated with dates, cities and ticket info.

If you haven't already, also consider following us on Facebook and Twitter to keep informed on the latest news.

Select shows have VIP packages available, where you can get great seats, preshow refreshments, exclusive merchandise, preshow refreshments, raffle for exclusive tour items, and more.

Unlike BOSTON's last tour in 2012, fans living in the western part of the US won't have to travel as far to see the band as there are some shows scheduled in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

This is a previously unreleased song written and performed by Brad Delp and Steve Baker.

Here's the description from the YouTube video, posted by Steve Baker:

Brad and I co-wrote this back in the mid 90's. As you will be able to tell from the lyric, the inspiration was the Beatles appearances on Ed Sullivan back in '64.

We originally recorded it at Winterwood Studios (my basement). It was recorded in a morning and hastily mixed to a cassette for him and me to listen to and finish at a later date (hey, we had a tee time).

Unfortunately, the original masters were lost and the cassette also went missing until 2012.

Amazingly, the cassette was in reasonable condition and through the wonders of modern technology available to me at Winding Pond Studios (my basement) I was able to finish it up and improve the sound quality.

It's still a bit rough but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway. Listen carefully, you can hear Brad humming through my piano solo.

I've been sitting on this for awhile but decided what better time than this, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' debut in America, to share this with everybody.