DOB: March 10, 1947
Lead Guitar, Keyboard, Organ, etc
Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Tom Scholz spent a good portion of his childhood playing sports and tinkering on just about anything motorized. He had a penchant for mini-bikes, go-carts and model airplanes, and always had a "work in progress." He was constantly on a mission to invent something that worked a little better than what he already had, or simply, build something out of nothing. "I was a fixer, a builder, an inventor, ever since I can remember," Scholz said. This trait would prove to be a common thread throughout the course of his life that continues to this day. The son of an architectural designer and a landscape architect (who was valedictorian of her high school class), it was no surprise that he had such a clever and analytical mind. A top student and Varsity basketball player, he was always working out or hitting the books. "I was a complete tool back then," remembers Scholz with a laugh. Upon graduating high school, Tom packed the '55 T-bird that he had restored, headed east, and never looked back. Arriving in Cambridge at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tom put his nose to the grindstone and immersed himself in the intense curriculum, graduating 5 years later with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Free from the grueling pace of college, Tom took a job with Polaroid as a senior product design engineer. "It was great," he recalls, "I couldn't believe all of this free time I suddenly had. My work day actually ended at 5:00 PM!" Although he was working on some ground-breaking multi-media projects at the time, his real passion started when he got home from work at night. Bitten by the Rock and Roll bug from hearing the likes of The Animals, The Kinks and The Yardbirds on the radio, Tom had begun teaching himself guitar, bass and organ. Classically trained on piano as a child, Tom always had a connection with the music from the masters that filled his home when he was young, Beethoven, Rachmonov, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Ravel among them. You can hear their influences in Scholz's soulful compositions. It's music that one can feel, as opposed to just hearing. Over the course of 30 years, his music has inspired many, from getting through a tough time in life, to having the incentive to pick up a guitar, or even naming their children. It's anyone's guess as to how many more Amanda's and Hollyann's there are today due to BOSTON's third release, Third Stage.
In the basement of his apartment in Watertown, MA, he had constructed a studio (spending everything he made over the course of 6 years), and was recording a demo tape that would go down in the history books. Working with Jim Masdea, a drummer that he met when he answered an ad in the paper for a keyboardist in Barry Goudreau's band, Tom, created the tunes that would eventually land a contract with Epic. Ironically, Tom never picked up a guitar until he was 21, but when he did, he was self-taught, was a very quick study, and mastered his craft by listening to his idols, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page and Ray Davies. Todd Rundgren was the first musician that Tom heard that utilized lead guitars in harmony, and was the spark that compelled Scholz to create his trademark harmony guitar solos.
He wrote his first piece of music, "Foreplay,"in 1969, then in the early 70's, began attempting to play his songs live and in studios with guitarist Barry Goudreau and drummer Jim Masdea, both of whom became close friends. "Foreplay" was also Tom's first try at demo recording made in Masdea's old dirt floor basement. Later, attempts included Barry on guitar and Brad singing leads, made in costly commercial studios which quickly drained Scholz's budget. Failure to capture the music he imagined on tape or a live audience, he abandoned both of these avenues. Having learned the basics of tape recording technology at Polaroid, he sequestered himself in his apartment home basement and began building a crude studio. At first, working with just a home-made 4-track recorder and mixer, he gradually taught himself audio engineering and music production. Risking his savings from Polaroid, (courageously agreed to by his wife Cindy), he upgraded to a spartan 12-track studio capable of commercial production quality.
From 1973 to 1976, he recorded demos of songs written by himself and Brad Delp. He worked exclusively with Jim Masdea to arrange and record the drum tracks, then Tom would overdub every instrument, experimenting and agonizing over each note, one track at a time, until the symphony he envisioned sprang to life. Brad then followed, similarly overdubbing every lead and harmony vocal, one track at a time. Tom continued to finance this hobby by working at Polaroid, where he also admits, "I wrote some of my best music working there." After years of solid rejections and money running out, this formula finally paid off with a CBS recording contract offer for Tom and Brad in 1976. Scholz continued to work at Polaroid after the completion of the BOSTON debut album. Many drafting and engineering areas there allowed music from portable radios which secretly irritated Tom...they interfered with his mental song arrangement while doing his design work. He left Polaroid when the radios began playing, "More Than a Feeling."
Gary Pihl remarks, "I'd like to say how he's been an inspiration for me on many levels. Nobody I know puts more thought and effort into everything they tackle like Tom. Whether it's music, art, engineering, humanitarian causes or personal relationships, I've always counted on Tom to know the right thing to do. He might say that he makes mistakes just like everybody else but I've seen how hard he works to try to get it right. I think working with him has made me a more inquisitive person. 'Let's try this, how about that, what if we did this instead, let's look at this from the other point of view.' When you open yourself up to every option, the good ones seem to shine through." And shine, they do. This meticulous songwriter, producer, sound technician and inventor has nearly three dozen patents to his name. Some were from his inventions working, and some were awarded for creating the Rockman line of guitar amplifiers and effects boxes. His innovations came from the need he had to capture the sound in his head, on tape, or on stage. To develop and market the Rockman line, Tom formed Scholz Research and Development (SR and D) in the 1980's, a business that at one time employed 70 people. He still swears by the analog method of recording, in this digital-everything day and age, saying, "Wherever there's a microprocessor, there's trouble."
BOSTON's newest drummer, Jeff Neal has this to say, "His long list of accomplishments, sheer talent and record of generosity towards others over the years speaks for itself. From the beginning, it has always been about the music. BOSTON's success has been built on it's sound, not its image, and Tom is responsible for this. It is one of the most identifiable and unique sounds out there, and it has stood the test of time when so many other fads and trends have come and gone. Tom is a tone master, he has incredibly discriminating ears. It really is a thing to behold to see him at work. I ' d like to think the experience has made me better at focusing and improving my own tone and sound." He adds, "One of Tom's most admirable traits is his ability to envision the entire 'BOSTON' experience in his head and work tirelessly and relentlessly to see that vision become a reality. In stark contrast, I only need to focus on one single element during a performance, but Tom hears and sees the entire production, right down to the smallest detail. That's why at the end of the night when Brad says, "there would be no BOSTON without Tom Scholz," it is totally appropriate and deserving. If it weren't for Tom, none of this would exist... period."
Scholz still keeps busy in his studio, although now he looks at the process as purely artistic. He is bombarded with more musical ideas than he can possibly harness, but chips away at them as time allows. Tom has been a vegetarian for over 25 years, and supports many ethical organizations with a foundation that he set up in 1987 to help animal protection, world hunger and the homeless. To date, his charitable foundation has donated several million dollars to those causes. He received the Mahatma Ghandi Award in 1987 and was named Man of the Year by the National Hospice Organization in 1988. A knee injury ended 35 years of competitive basketball, so now Tom enjoys freestyle skating, "extreme croquet," and piloting his single-engine plane around the U.S in his leisure time. His marriage having ended in the late '80's, he lives with his wife Kim in a suburb of Boston.
Bio from bandboston.com
DOB: November 21, 1950
Raised in the suburbs of Chicago for the first 12 years of his life, Gary Pihl relocated to the San Francisco Bay area and has led a musical life ever since. He explains, "I was in several bands in high school. One of our guitar players told me about a guy who was really good and giving guitar lessons at the local music store. He was in a band named The Warlocks. We went to see them play at a local pizza parlor. A couple months later they changed their name to the Grateful Dead. The guitarist giving us lessons was Jerry Garcia." At 19, Gary had his recording debut with Day Blindness in 1969. He says, "After my time in Day Blindness, I was in a band called Fox with Roy Garcia and Johnny V (Vernazza), who went on to play in Elvin Bishop's band. We were really fortunate to get to be on some shows with bands we looked up to including opening at the Fillmore for Free (with Paul Rogers). We were on shows with Janis Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Eric Burdon and War and Mose Allison."
Gary spent four years in a band called Crossfire. He recalls, "Mitchell Froom was our organist. He's gone on to be a great producer (Paul McCartney, The Pretenders, Los Lobos, Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, etc.). We were opening some shows for Norman Greenbaum (Spirit in the Sky) when he was performing as a singer/songwriter on acoustic guitar. We had done our set and left the stage to Norman. He was halfway through his set when we noticed the audience was getting restless and wanted him to rock out. In the middle of one of Norman's songs, our drummer, Steve Jones, got back on stage and started playing! Norman turned around in shock. Then he looked at the rest of us on the side of the stage and waved us up. We'd seen him about a half dozen times so we sort of knew his songs. Mitchell and his brother David (our pianist) have perfect pitch and were telling me and our bassist what the chords were as we went along. The crowd seemed to dig it and we ended the show with a rocked out version of Spirit in the Sky."
Pihl's first big break in came in 1977, when he joined Sammy Hagar's band, where he toured and recorded for 8 years. Gary met Tom Scholz when Hagar was opening for BOSTON between '77 and '79. In 1985, Sammy joined Van Halen, however, Pihl didn't miss a beat. He explains, "Tom called me up when he was working on the Third Stage album, he had one more song left to be recorded and asked me if I'd come out to work with him on it. I was thrilled! It was a dream come true for me to work with one of the greatest bands of all time! I would have crawled on my hands and knees from California to get to work with BOSTON. As it turned out, I flew directly from Farm Aid (my last gig with Hagar) to Boston, so I wasn't out of work for a day. I thought, how lucky could a guy get? He told me that there would probably be some touring involved if the album did well, which it did and basically I'm still here." Tom and Gary traded studio leads on "I Think I Like It," a high-energy power tune that showcases how well these two virtuosos complement one another. The two of them, who could pass for brothers, are a natural pair on stage. In addition to lead guitar, Gary also plays electric and acoustic 12-string guitar, keyboards, as well as lends backing and harmony vocals.
Gary quickly became indispensable to Tom's BOSTON efforts. This quintessential multi-tasker has been Scholz's right-hand man for over 20 years, serving as Vice President of Scholz Research and Development, assisting in building Tom's Hideaway Studio II, and is a crucial part of the massive technical undertaking of managing the stage equipment on a BOSTON tour, including all of the back line and audio equipment. He also manages tech people, teaches band performers their parts, organizes rehearsals, integrates the "front of house" sound company system and personnel. Scholz wouldn't tour without Pihl, saying, "I'd be lost without him. Gary's the only other person on tour that has a thorough understanding of the complex audio productions systems that turn the efforts of 7 musicians and singers into the perfectly mixed stereo sound coming out the the sound system. That includes everyone, the road crew and the sound reinforcement technicians." As Kimberley Dahme puts it, "In my opinion, he is the glue that holds BOSTON together. He works with us individually for hours on end, and assists Tom solving all of the problems that come up. He cares. I am so thankful to him, he is amazing. I don't have enough good things to say about Gary." Pihl is an expert professional photo editor, and did all of the editing for the graphics that were required for Corporate America as well as the remastered Boston and Don't Look Back CD's.
"He's one of those rare people that has a gift for music and highly technical talents," states Tom. Drummer Jeff Neal adds, " Gary is the most consistent player out there, night after night, you can count on Gary to bring his 'A' game. His style is really an excellent blend of great technical ability but also wonderful feel. It ' s a standard that young players today should aspire to reach." Although the majority of his talent is innate, some was acquired. Gary explains, "My dad always told me to do whatever you want, be the best you can and go to school to learn how. I reminded him that they don't teach Rock and Roll in college but he said, 'If you love music, then find out all you can about it.' He took me to the local college and made me sign up. Of course once I got started, I loved it. No, they didn't teach Rock and Roll, but it gave me a great foundation and a better understanding of music. In one of my choral classes I was sitting next to another kid out of high school just trying to learn about music. It was Johnny Colla, who went on to play sax with Huey Lewis and the News. You never know who you'll end up sitting next to in school."
In addition to the various website and photo editing projects that Gary works on when he's not involved with BOSTON ventures, he still finds time to let his creative energy fly. He says, "I've enjoyed working with some friends on a "project band" called Alliance. It's Dave Lauser from Sammy Hagar's band, Alan Fitzgerald from Night Ranger, and Robert Berry from 3. It's a mix of all our favorite styles from Blues to Prog rock." Alliance has released three albums to date. A long-time vegetarian like Brad and Tom, Gary resides in a suburb of Boston with his wife and two sons.
Bio from bandboston.com
DOB: June 15, 1969
Official Site: jeffneal.org
After an extensive search for a new drummer for BOSTON, Tom Scholz happened to see Jeff Neal performing with his band Punchbug at a ski resort in Maine, and the rest is history. Jeff joined the group in 2002, adding his energetic, entertaining style of drumming to the '03 and '04 tours, and excellent harmony vocal chops. Gary Pihl thinks very highly of him, saying, "Jeff is great to have in the band because he is so down to earth and matter of fact. He's a great drummer and remarkable singer, but acts as if what he does is just like anybody else trying to do his job the best he can. We're fortunate to have him, and I'm glad that even after a million people have told him how great he is, he hasn't changed from being that good-natured guy, always ready to work." Tom concurs, adding, "He fits in because he's like the rest of us...he's not a rock star, he's a regular guy who can really play. He's involved in music because he loves it, not because he makes a living from it."
When not on tour with BOSTON, Jeff's "other" job is teaching U.S. History and Sociology at a local high school in his native Maine, where he lives with his wife. He's also the Varsity soccer coach, and is an avid player himself. However, music is his first passion, and he has played drums in local clubs for the past 20 years, where an audience of 175 would constitute a "huge night." How did he make the shift from playing bars to full-blown concerts? In his words, "The way I handle it, is I do as much preparation as possible, mentally and physically, just focusing on the task at hand, without thinking about the enormity of what I'm doing. You can start to kind of wig out on that. One can easily get overwhelmed if you worry about the extraneous things. I try to stay focused on playing my parts to the best of my ability, and that allows me to make the transition. The preparation is key. It is kind of an awe-inspiring thing, now to share the stage with idols of mine. From the beginning, everyone in the band was great, making me feel at ease. It's a huge plus to have people realize what you might be going through, and say the right things to pick you up. It relieves a lot of pressure, and you can focus on doing what you need to do." He adds, "The reality is that people are coming to see you whether it's 25 or 25,000, and it's important to give a good performance regardless."
Jeff is a self-taught drummer, an impressive fact, given how far he has made it. "I came from a middle class family, and the logistics of drum lessons were not an option. I had to break into my piggy bank and basically buy a drum set myself from the neighbors down the street who were having a garage sale. All the neighborhood kids were ogling over it. I had to beg my parents, and eventually they succumbed, knowing I wasn't going to give up on it. Ever since they have been wonderfully supportive, they've encouraged it all along when they realized I was serious about it, from garage bands to gigging out, they helped me acquire gear over the years," he remembers, adding, "I really have to give kudos to my mom on this, she made a lot of personal sacrifices for me. At one point, I really needed a pair of high hats, but it just wasn't possible at the time. One day I came home from a particularly bad day at school, and there was a brand new pair of Zildjian high hats sitting on the table waiting for me. She had gone into the music store, knowing nothing about drums, but determined to get those for me, even though she was financially strapped herself."
Nealie, as he is affectionately known to the band, loves the great outdoors, and spends as much time as possible biking, hiking, camping and kayaking. A new acquisition to the family, a bearded Collie pup will also be tagging along on future outings. "He'll be in the kayak before summer's out," according to Jeff. When he's not banging away on the drums, he dabbles in alto sax, an instrument that he started playing at the age of 10. "I don't consider myself proficient, but that's where I learned basic music theory." In the last year or so, he picked up the guitar, even just for sitting around a campfire and playing a few ditties. "The drums are definitely my passion. I just want to keep getting better."
Bio from bandboston.com
DOB: April 23, 1965
Tommy started playing piano when he was about 14 years old. Self-taught, one could usually find him picking out chords on an old upright when he wasn’t playing sports. He says, “I'd never learn the entire songs...rather just the most popular part of the songs...that used to drive my older brother crazy!” As far as singing goes, DeCarlo explains, “Well...I truly have to thank Brad Delp for helping me develop that gift. When I first began to listen to BOSTON as a young teenager, I absolutely loved Brad's voice and how he would sing those classic hits whenever there was a BOSTON song on the radio. It wasn't like I was trying to sing like Brad, it was just that I loved to sing along with him.”
At 22, a summer vacation in Florida turned into an 18-year stay, until the DeCarlo family relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2005. Along with his wife, and two teenagers, Tommy, lives a relatively normal life; he works as a credit manager at his local Home Depot. A dedicated family man, he says that his family is absolutely the best part of every day. He posts his BOSTON covers and other music on his myspace page, and even wrote a song in honor of Delp last summer. Hearing of a tribute being planned, a friend encouraged DeCarlo to take action. He remembers, “I sent my myspace page link to the BOSTON camp, and I also offered to sing my song at the tribute show, never thinking I’d get a reply. I did end up getting one about two weeks later thanking me for the offer, but at this point there were not going to be any additions to the line up. It was a very nice reply, and I was just thrilled that I got a response.”
Several weeks later, Tom Scholz happened to hear Tommy’s cover of “Don’t Look Back,” and was shocked. Knowing every nuance of Brad’s voice, he could not believe that this was not Brad singing, exclaiming, “I haven’t heard anyone else sing like that in 35 years.” Scholz contacted Tommy and invited him to come and sing a few songs at the tribute. DeCarlo’s reaction was, “I would have never believed this could happen in a million years. The next thing I knew I was on my way to Boston to sing with BOSTON…are you kidding me?”
Prior to that, the largest crowd that Tommy had sung in front of was several dozen people, performing karaoke in a bowling alley. DeCarlo confesses, “I must admit, most of those 30 or 40 were bowling.” His next gig was in front of over 5,000 people, although that wasn’t the most daunting part of his trip. He says, “The most scary time for me was when I walked into rehearsal and met them all for the first time. As I walked into the building where rehearsal was taking place…I could hear the sound of a kick drum off in the distance…I walked through the doors and could not believe it…there was BOSTON rehearsing ‘Don’t Look Back.’ Wow!”
DeCarlo continues, “Meeting the band members was incredible, they couldn’t have made me feel more like family. The best thing was that they allowed me to bring my son with me to rehearsal, who’s a huge BOSTON fan by the way. My son & I were in awe…but trying not to look in awe, if you know what I mean.” He adds, “It was then my turn to sing and I walked up to the mic and sang ‘Smokin.’ Then I finished and the most incredible thing happened…Tom Scholz walked right over to me and gave me a high-five…I was like, ‘No way that just happened!’”
At the Bank Of America Pavilion for a sound check the next morning, he got his first look at the size of the audience he would be singing for. Tommy laughs, “It was nothing like the bowing alley, I’ll tell you that.” Due to time constraints, DeCarlo never even got a sound check, but it simply didn’t matter, that night he stunned the crowd with his performance of Smokin’ and “Party.”
He recollects, “During the set change when BOSTON was getting ready to perform, I was back stage pacing back and forth…nervous as all get out...but the BOSTON band members past & present were more than supportive. The next thing I knew, a crew member looked at me and said, ‘You’re on,’ and that is when I met all of you for the first time…the best fans in the world! It was all of you who made me feel that everything was going to be okay, and I smiled knowing I was among friends. For the moment we were one and shared in something very special, and it was truly an honor to sing for you. Brad’s voice gave me hope & inspiration at times in my life when I needed it. I have said that I never took any singing lessons, but that’s not exactly true…it was Brad who taught me how to sing, even though he never knew it.”
Bio from bandboston.com
DOB: April 5, 1966
[Bio from tracyferrie.com]
Bassist Tracy Ferrie is a long time veteran of the road as well as an accomplished session player. Although he is most widely known as a member of the band Stryper his credits precede and stylistically exceed his experiences there. Tracy's support role approach has paved the way to his working with many notable bands and artists such as Stryper, Plumb, Sonic Flood, Rebecca St. James, Michael Sweet, Kimberly Locke (AI), Danielle Bollinger, Kristy Starling, Greg Long (Avalon), April McLean, Jeff Deyo, Guardian, and Whitecross. During his time in L A , Nashville, and Boston, his session experiences have allowed him the opportunity of working along side some of the worlds most talented and influential musicians including drummer Kenny Arnoff, pedal steel Legend John Hughley, guitarist Phil Keagy, Paul Moak, keyboardist Steve Hornbeak (Faith Hill), producer Jay Joyce and many others. Having a good balance of studio precision with a live attitude, Tracy earned the EMG 25Th Anniversary players award and a spot on the commemorative CD next to Robert Trujillo (Ozzy). In addition Ferrie has played and written for several Dove and Grammy winning artists/recordings.
Tracy grew up in N. Indiana where he was encouraged by his school band director to learn music and eventually go on to study at Berklee College of Music, Music Production and Engineering Dept. Throughout grade school Tracy played tuba, guitar, upright, percussion, and finally electric bass at the request of the director. It was the electric bass he took to Berklee and was soon in demand for session work. These calls to play both live and in the studio were what sparked his desire to pursue a career as a professional musician.
After two and a half years at Berklee, Tracy was jumped and badly beaten in a town outside of Boston. Needing hospitalization and multiple surgeries, his Boston days were over. Tracy spent the next several months in Indiana recovering and eventually heading west to Hollywood enrolling at Musicians Institute. There in L A he quickly got involved recording sessions, playing the "Sunset Strip" circuit with bands and performing in videos some of which were featured on Music Television. One of the bands, Electrik, became his first touring act across the south west.
Tracy's first break was a call from Dez Dickerson (Prince) to audition for a christian rock band Whitecross. Tracy ended up writing, playing and recording for a different band from the same label named Seraiah. After relocating to Nashville he joined Whitecross for two recordings and world tours. Following this experience Tracy has spanned the globe having played in twenty five countries, performed on domestic and international television shows. He has recording credits for various movie and TV soundtracks such as, A View from the Top, Felicity and Tarzan. One of his most memorable experiences was playing for Pope John Paul II with Rebecca St. James in 2000. For a complete list of tours, discography and producer credits visit the music page @ tracyferrie.com
Currently Tracy is working as a session player, teaching guitar/ bass and regularly playing live for various bands/artists. His versatile style is culmination of tastes and experiences ranging from blues, funk, r&b, rock, punk to light jazz, gospel and country.
If you are interested in using Tracy he puts heart and soul into every project striving for complete satisfaction, willing to do what it takes to get there.
Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
A Long Island, NY native, Beth Cohen grew up in a house filled with music. Although she played both piano and flute by the time she was 10, she soon discovered that singing was what really inspired her, and began writing her own songs as a young teen. Attending the University of Miami on full scholarship, she earned her degree in music and honed her craft as a vocalist as her influences broadened.
Performing at various venues, Beth sang rock, R & B and Latin material, and began incorporating Spanish into her music. Her talents caught the attention of Jon Secada, and soon after, she toured as one of his background vocalists. In addition to being a successful writer, she has traveled the world doing what she loves, and has worked with artists such as Julio Iglesias, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Pink, and most recently, Barry Gibb, where she was also featured as a solo vocalist on his tour.
Tom Scholz happened to see Cohen perform at a club in Miami in the late ‘90s, while he was working on some studio recordings, and was so impressed with her incredible voice that he asked her to try some vocals on some songs that he was developing. He recalls, "Lots of people have a great voice, what was amazing about her is her ability to use it." Beth sang on demo tracks for "You Gave Up on Love," and her background vocals appear on that song on 2012's Life, Love & Hope, an earlier version was released on 2002's Corporate America. Scholz says, "She's the best studio singer that I've ever worked with." An accomplished jazz pianist, Beth will lend her keyboard skills, some rhythm guitar, and of course her exceptional vocals as she joins BOSTON's lineup this year as they bring their live show across North America. Gary Pihl says, "I'd seen some YouTube videos of Beth singing all kinds of stuff, but when I heard her sing lead on our song, "Surrender," I knew right away that she was gonna be great on stage with us."
When not touring, Beth is a top vocal coach in Miami, working both with well-known artists, as well as young, hungry emerging performers. She says, "It's a wonderful way to help singers live the dream I get to live every day."
For more information, go to: beth-cohen.com
Bio from bandboston.com