Musician Magazines

Boston: Feelin' Satisfied

Originally printed in Guitar World, October 2006

Guitarist Tom Scholz proudly recalls the making of Boston and Don t Look Back, two of rock s all-time greatest albums.

When Boston s self-titled first album was released in the fall of 1976, few industry insiders thought that a guitar-heavy rock record could make much of a dent in the charts, much less become the best-selling debut of all time.  Everybody thought that it was impossible, because disco ruled the airwaves at the time, recalls Boston leader Tom Scholz.  But we stumbled onto a sound that worked, and soon everybody was imitating it.

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Brad Delp: Details Emerge About His Tragic Suicide

The parked car was unattended, but to the police who arrived at Brad Delp s home on March 9, it was immediately clear that something was amiss.

A dryer vent hose connected to the car s exhaust pipe lay on the ground alongside the vehicle. Inside the garage, a note taped to the house door made the owner s intentions explicit:

 To whoever finds this I have hopefully committed suicide. Plan B was to asphyxiate myself in my car.

The police had been called to the Boston lead singer s home in Atkinson, New Hampshire, by his fianc

Young Guitar Exclusive!

Tom Scholz

Everyone forgot about Boston until they released the Third Stage album in 1986. Eight years later, the 4th Boston album (Walk On) was released this month. Boston has become a legend for releasing an album only every 8 years. So who knows, maybe the next album won t be out till the year 2002! Even if it s sooner, Boston still only has 4 albums out in 18 years. That makes them the slowest band in rock history. But any way you cut it, a true fan can take any part of this album and say, "Yep, that s Boston." But, Tom Scholz s guitar work is much more aggressive than on earlier albums, with a veteran guitarist feel. As on the Third Stage album, Tom uses his Rockman technology in the studio to get that perfect tone. This point should appeal to those young listeners hearing Boston for the 1st time.

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A Normal Life

By John Stix

Sometime after the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and before the great collapse of last year's World Series, Boston was discovered by Tom Scholz. Here's how it happened.

"Rock 'n' Roll Band,' was written because Jim (Masdea), always the hopeless dreamer, was playing in bands in Hyannis, like it says in the song," Tom said. "He was always saying how so and so was going to come to see them. I had heard it so many times before. All these kids playing in bars thought some record guy was going to come in and discover them. You're a rock 'n' roll band and it's something special. That's what you like to think about when you're playing in a bar. I finally thought, I'm going to write a song about everybody who dreams about that. It's what I dreamed about. But that's not what happened with Boston.

"Here is the true story. I did a lot of demo work starting in about 1969.1 worked for about a year and bought a twelve track tape deck with my savings. I had to keep working full time through the whole thing to make the money to cover all the expenses. On some of the earlier demos there were other people involved. Barry Goudreau played on some of them. Epic became interested on the basis of six demo songs. Jim helped with the drum arrangements and playing the drums, Brad (Delp) did all the vocals and I did the instruments. That was it. All six of those songs eventually appeared on record.

"Those demos were started in 1974 and completed in 1975. The actual demos were not cut on the vinyl. There was a big back and forth thing about whether we should use the demos themselves and do some touch up work and re-mix or should we start over. I had to actually re-record exact copies of them. The demos weren't good enough because the drum sound wasn't good enough. In some places the meter wasn't very good. We had to record between the hours of 12 midnight and 8 a.m. because I was working full time at Polaroid. Brad worked full time. Jim played in bands either up north or down south. So we would record on days where he had to play afternoon sets. He would pack up his drums and drive two hours to the studio, meet me in the middle of the night, unpack his drums, set up; we'd mike him, get our sound, he'd play the part as best he could at 4 a.m., tear everything down, pack the drums back in the car, drive back down to the Cape and try to get a few hours sleep before his next show. He had to set his drums up again that night to play on stage. I had to get back in time to go to work. And this is what we did for one year.

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The Rock Man - Maximum Guitar

A Revealing interview with Tom Scholz, guitarist and mastermind behind BOSTON's classic-rock brilliance.
By Andy Aledort

"I had been working on some new jumps, fooling around in the middle of the rink and trying a maneuver called a 'scratch spin,' which I find very difficult. Suddenly, Whammo!, I fell, completely obliterating my left arm."

Tom Scholz, founding father and resident genius of Boston, is no stranger to taking chances. Most of the time he confines his risk-taking to the relatively safe environment of writing and recording music and designing revolutionary pieces of guitar-related recording gear, like the Rockman. But he is now talking about ice jumping, his latest passionate endeavor.

"It happened this past Fall, and it was a nasty, nasty crash," he says with a chuckle. "The larger forearm bone shattered into several pieces right at my wrist, and they had to operate, leaving me with this horrible, Frankenstein-like cast, with giant bolts sticking out of my arm. Now I wear protective gear over the forearm when I skate, because I couldn't support my weight with my left arm if I were to fall. Another big negative is that I am forbidden to play basketball with other players. But I can still jam."

As in, jam with other musicians? "No--jam a basketball," he laughs. "Playing the guitar hurts like hell! Excruciatingly, utterly painful. But I suffered no nerve damage, and my fingers all work fine. Once I get warmed up, it always starts to feel better."

As any true Boston fan knows, Scholz rules on the keyboards as well. Has the injury hampered his piano playing? "The only time it bothers me is when I play Rachmaninoff's 'Prelude in C# Minor,'" he says slyly, "because it has a lot of 'cross-handed' stuff in it. Other than that, I'm all right.

"The most important thing to remember," Scholz continues, "is that no matter how screwed up your wrist is, it really doesn't affect your ice skating."

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You Bought a Guitar to Punish Your Motherboard

Resonant Frequency #29
by Mark Richardson

For 75 years the guitar has craved electricity. Tom Scholz and Brian May believed that the instrument on juice could do anything. "No Synthesizers Used. No Computers Used." said the inside sleeve of Don't Look Back, while the 70s Queen albums I own all have a variation on the stamp "No synthesizers!" These seemingly reactionary claims actually said more about faith in the power of a guitar than they did about synthesis. Scholz and May didn't just want good ol' rock'n'roll guitars-that-sound-like-guitars; they believed in the guitar as an endless tool for shaping sound. They told us these things on the album sleeves to point out that whatever the musical problem, the guitar, if treated and processed appropriately, could solve it.

Now our world has changed and we're living in front of screens with our fingers on keyboards. But there's still a place for the guitar. Since before the time of John Fahey's "Requiem For Molly" the guitar has found a ways to embed itself into experimental movements following changes in technology. The guitar in computer music symbolizes both a connection to the past and the possibilities inherent in organic unpredictability. With its strings vibrating in space the guitar gives the all-brain/no-body computer a glimpse at what happens out here in the physical world, where flesh still counts for something.

Tom Scholz And The Effects Evolution

Modern Guitars Magazine Column by John Foxworthy

Tom Scholz
Tom Scholz
I remember listening to music in my early years, basically what my parents listened to. Some songs I liked, some I didn t & we ve all been there, eh? Years later, as a musician, I noticed the differences in the way the signals were processed. I looked at music a different way & from the back end, not the end product. This would ruin music for most, enhances it for me.

Everyone must remember the old coil reverb and vibrato knobs on amps like the Sears Silvertone (classic stuff). Nowadays we process through mini nuclear plants & a long ride from our roots. From the old  Fuzz box and Cry Baby to the digital harmonizer, effects processing has evolved by leaps and bounds since electric instruments were first introduced. Tom Scholz, best known as the guitarist of Boston, helped to spearhead the advancements present in today s audio effects.

Scholz graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in Toledo, Ohio in 1965 where he went on to maintain a 4.8 GPA, out of 5.0 at MIT. Being 6 5 he was known to be a skilled basketball player rather than a killer guitarist. Tom graduated MIT with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering and went on to become Senior Product Designer for Polaroid.

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Classic sound of Boston is still Tom Scholz, still recording on tape

By Walter Carter

For Boston s most recent CD, Corporate America, Tom Scholz and his bandmates created a collection of thoroughly contemporary music, but the recording technology was decidedly un-contemporary. Scholz did not update, modernize or in any way mess with the classic sound from  More Than a Feeling (1976) or  Don t Look Back (1978), and that meant recording the new Boston just like the old Boston  on tape. Magnetic recording tape.

That s right, the electronics whiz with the Masters degree in engineering from MIT, the inventor of the Rockman over two dozen patented designs, refuses to enter the digital age. It s not because Scholz wants to be old-fashioned, though. It s because he can t work as efficiently (keeping in mind that he typically spends four years making an album) and, most important, he simply can t get the signature Boston sound using new technology.

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Eddie Kramer Never Stops

By Blair Jackson - Mix Magazine Online
October 10, 2003

Eddie Kramer
Eddie Kramer
One certainly wouldn't blame this year's TEC Hall of Fame inductee  engineer and producer Eddie Kramer  if he wanted to slow down a bit. After all, he turned 61 this past April, and he doesn't have anything to prove to anyone. He's done it all. In the '60s, he worked with The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Traffic, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, to name a few, and he was a principal engineer at Woodstock. In the '70s, he was behind the board for albums by the likes of Derek & The Dominos, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, Kiss, Mott the Hoople, NRBQ, Carly Simon and lots more Zep. He helped build Electric Lady Studios for Jimi Hendrix and then ran it for several years after Hendrix's death. In the '80s, the indefatigable Kramer was still rockin' in the studio with the likes of Anthrax, Alcatrazz, Triumph, Ace Frehley and others. The '90s brought him work with such varied acts as Brian May, John McLaughlin, Buddy Guy and many others. In the new millennium, he's still one busy dude: working on 5.1 mixes for various rock films and DVD projects; recording young groups in the studio (including a solo venture from Matchbox Twenty's Kyle Cook and the maiden effort of the Norwegian hard rock band Hangface); organizing his incredible photo archive into a lucrative business; lecturing far and wide about his experiences in the music business; and, of course, there's all that incredible Hendrix music. Kramer has been the de facto audio curator of Hendrix's legacy, and the releases  both CDs and DVDs  show no signs of drying up anytime soon.

Kramer has been a loyal friend of Mix's for a long, long time, always available to talk about music history and recording. In recent years, we've interviewed him for three  Classic Tracks articles  Hendrix's  All Along the Watchtower, Led Zeppelin's  Ramble On and, most recently, Traffic's  Dear Mr. Fantasy  and discussed his techniques for surround mixing (Mix, March 2003). With his induction this month in the TEC Hall of Fame, however, we thought this might be a good time to offer a more general overview of his glorious career. We caught up with Kramer at his Putnam County, N.Y., home in late July. More than 30 years in America have chiseled away at his South African/English accent  and also turned him into a hardcore Yankees fan. (Please don't hold that against him.)

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Guitar Player May 2003

Tom Scholz is one crazy dude. Sure, he s probably a genius, and he single-handedly changed the sound of rock with the meticulously engineered guitar sounds on his classic  70s Boston albums. He also developed the Rockman series of headphone amps and signal processors, and, man, who didn t plug into that stuff during the line s heyday in the  80s? (Scholz detested his sojourn as a manufacturer, and sold the Rockman line to Dunlop Manufacturing in 1995. Only the headphone amps are currently available.)

But when the guy makes an album such as the brand new Corporate America [Artemis] he immerses himself in the process for four years or more. And unless there s a lead vocal track to cut, he works totally alone. Is this healthy?

 When I m recording, I don t have much of a personal life, he admits.  I m thinking of music constantly, and I have an awful lot of ideas. I also have the stamina to develop most of them which is one reason it takes me forever to make a record.

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