Tommy DeCarlo launches rock and roll career from the tool corral

By Patrick Henderson
San Diego Reader

Tommy DeCarlo is not a believer in transferable skills.

At least, he doesn't think the skills he learned working at a Home Depot in Charlotte, North Carolina, have carried over to his current gig -- lead singer of Boston.

"Honestly, I don't think anything at Home Depot helped prepare me for this," DeCarlo, 50, tells the Reader.

Boston will be playing at Humphreys Monday and Tuesday, July 27 and 28. This is the eighth year in the group for DeCarlo, who first performed with Boston in 2007, after the band's lead singer, Bradley Delp, committed suicide.

At the time, this life-long Boston buff had never performed in a band and had only sang in public to a few pals at karaoke bars.

However, after DeCarlo posted a Delp-inspired tribute on MySpace, Boston's bandleader Tom Scholz invited him to sing onstage at a tribute concert for the lead singer.

A short while later, DeCarlo was asked to rehearse with Boston and become their lead singer.

It was a dream come true for DeCarlo, who, as a young man, met his hero Delp after a Boston show. It's something he keeps in mind when he performs classics such as "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind."

"I don't think anyone knows [Delp's] voice better than me," DeCarlo says. "I want the fans to be happy. It's important for me to pull off the vocals as close to the record as possible."

DeCarlo may have known Boston's music, but he wasn't prepared for the rigors of touring.

"It takes a lot of prep work -- I had no idea," he admits. "No one took me aside and said, ‘This is how you should prepare.' But we rehearsed a month and by the time that was done, we were in top form.

"Beside learning how to take care of my voice, the hardest part was learning how to have a good time onstage. I wanted to do things right."

Although the Boston gig has let DeCarlo live out his teenage dreams of rock stardom, he admits the job is slightly different than he imagined.

"People think being in a rock band is sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but when we get into town, the thing we look to do is take a nap," DeCarlo says.