By Kevin W. Smith
Arizona Daiily Star

Boston smokin' with new singers

If you're wondering how the classic rock act Boston could tour this summer without its original lead singer, fear not.

The band has added two vocalists to replace Brad Delp, who took his life in March 2007.

One is Michael Sweet, the vocalist for '80s metal act Stryper.

The other is Tommy DeCarlo, a fan the band found on MySpace who is taking a break from his job at a Home Depot to tour.

Both performed as part of a Delp tribute concert that persuaded the band to take the act on the road for the first time since 2004.

Boston hits Casino del Sol's AVA Sunday night in a co-headlining jaunt with Styx.

Formed in the mid-'70s, Boston has its share of radio standards, including "More Than a Feeling," "Rock & Roll Band," "Smokin'" and "Foreplay/Long Time."

We caught up with longtime guitarist Gary Pihl at tour rehearsals in Baton Rouge, La.

This is the first tour without Brad Delp. How is that going and what's it like?
"Of course we miss him every day, and there's not one day that doesn't go by where we say, 'Oh, Brad used to say this,' because he was a funny guy. And so, there's always reminiscence of him. So it's certainly bittersweet not to have him here. On the other hand, we almost feel like he's looking down on us."

Yeah, was there ever a moment where you guys felt like calling it quits?
"Well, I don't know how (Boston founder) Tom (Scholz) felt exactly, but I certainly felt like, 'Gosh, what are we going to do? Brad's just irreplaceable. What are we going to do?' So I certainly thought, well, maybe that was it. But so many fans called and e-mailed and wrote us letters and said, 'We loved Brad, but please don't stop the music.'"

It doesn't feel too soon?
"It's certainly been unreal for us, because I was in the act 30 years ago. I'll never get over it. It'll always be too soon. You just don't know someone 30 years and say, 'OK, that's it.' That'll never change. In essence, it didn't matter when or how."

The song "More Than a Feeling" — do you have people now come up to you and tell you they can play that song now better than you on "Guitar Hero"?
"You know, my son has 'Guitar Hero' and he is a bit of a guitar player. And he said, 'You know, Dad, I know how to play this song, but it's a completely different experience to try and play it on 'Guitar Hero.' Sometimes it helps not to know how to play the song, because it's not set up the same as a guitar. So it's not quite the same."