By Alan Sculley
Houston Community Newspapers

ImageBoston's musical mastermind Tom Scholz figures he might have some sort of artistic defect when it comes to his feelings about his music.

"Some bands don't like playing their old, or their original songs," Scholz remarked in a recent phone interview. "I mean, some of these songs I wrote over 30 years ago. But I guess there's something wrong with me because I still like them."

That's good news for Boston fans, who can plan to hear many of the group's best-known songs live this summer. In fact, fan demand played a big role in prompting this summer's nationwide trek from Boston, a band that hasn't exactly been road warriors during much of its three-decade history.

The last time the group did an extensive tour was in 2004, after the release of the fifth Boston CD, "Corporate America."

"(There) seemed to be an awful lot of interest in Boston music that I hadn't realized was there," Scholz said. "Finally I said well, if everybody else (in the band) feels like it, I'm up for it."

Sadly, one thing that will be missing for fans as they hear Boston play this summer is the voice that graced the studio versions of the band's biggest hits – Brad Delp.

The singer committed suicide in March 2007.

While some undoubtedly considered Delp and his monumental vocal range impossible to replace, Scholz has no such worries, with two new singers – newcomer Tommy DeCarlo and former Stryper guitarist/singer Michael Sweet – in the Boston lineup who can sing all the existing material. They join guitarist Scholz, guitarist Gary Pihl, bassist Kimberley Dahme and drummer Jeff Neal in the current edition of Boston.

"Obviously it's an incredible loss," Scholz said of Delp's death. "But you know, it's almost as if, and I'm not a mystical type at all, but it's almost as if he directed these two guys. We didn't just like stumble on these guys or go out looking for people. They literally showed up on our doorstep in remarkable ways."

That's not to say that Scholz doesn't miss Delp. The two, after all, had a 35-year musical partnership that pre-dated Boston's arrival on the national scene. In fact, they recorded demos for some five years before the group was signed and released its self-titled debut album in 1976.

That record, famous for hits such as "More Than A Feeling" and "Peace Of Mind," has sold more than 17 million copies, and was followed by three more albums that enjoyed platinum-plus sales "Don't Look Back," (1978) "Third Stage" (1986) and "Walk On" (1994). Only 2002's "Corporate America," failed to find a huge audience.

Scholz was well aware that Delp was struggling in his personal life, even though the singer had gotten engaged on Christmas day, just three months before he took his life. Naturally enough, Delp's death came as a shock.

"Of course it always surprises me when someone gives up or gets so low that they give up," Scholz said. "The upsetting thing is that he was one of the people who didn't get past that low point and get back into the living part of life again. Had he gotten over that, he would have had a very good and full life yet. So it's a tragic loss, not just because Brad was a great talent and a really great guy, but because it didn't have to happen, as it never does in suicides like that. If there's one message or one lesson to take away from this, it's no matter how far down you get when you think you've hit rock bottom and romantic life has left you or hopeless or in disarray or whatever it is that has you down, don't do it because as impossible as it is to think that there will be a new door opening and an upside to it, there is."

One thing that obviously helped Scholz move on was the arrival of Sweet and DeCarlo.

While Sweet is a seasoned professional from his years of fronting the Christian rock band Stryper, DeCarlo comes into Boston without ever being in another band or having sung professionally.

But he was a huge fan of Boston and was posting his renditions of the band's songs on his Myspace page. A performance of the song "Don't Look Back," eventually found its way to Scholz, who for a time was convinced it was Delp singing.

After learning the real singer was DeCarlo, Scholz invited him to sing at a tribute concert for Delp.

"He (DeCarlo) walked on the stage like he had done it a hundred times before and sang incredibly well," Scholz said.

In addition to being introduced to DeCarlo and Sweet, fans can expect an elaborate visual experience on Boston's tour.

"We're presenting a Boston show as seen from inside the Boston spaceship," Scholz said. "We've put a lot of thought into it and you're sitting the audience basically looking out through the windshield of the Boston spaceship and the band's in there with you. It is literally a wild ride."