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MG: In stacking single-note guitar parts, did you work hard at matching articulations and vibratos in order to make the parts sit together absolutely perfectly?
SCHOLZ: I made sure that they were never exactly right. Since I played all of those parts, the vibrato would always match up, because it was my vibrato. But I always made sure that I wasn't right on the money, because I didn't want it to sound mechanical, like it just had a delay on it or something. The way you get the really interesting things is to put a little bit of style onto each track, as if each were to sit alone. Now, of course, I know exactly what the other track is doing, but, whenever I record one of those tracks, the other track is always shut off. That's when the really nice things happen. The only time I would ever leave it on is if I'm just fooling around and having fun.
I really don't like the idea of music being mechanical. If I get the feeling that I want to hear a wailing, two-part harmony at the top of the arrangement, I'll go for it. If there is a third harmony that could add something, I'll play with it for a while. I hate when someone says, "Oh, just stick one of those melodic, harmonized guitar parts on there," because it can start to sound like you're recording music for a commercial!
MG: Did you ever study any kind of formal arranging or composition, or is it all done by feel and ear?
SCHOLZ: It's all by ear, because I never studied music in that way at all. I think I just absorbed a lot of the classical conventions by listening to the music so much as a kid.
MG: How did you arrive at the famed Boston sound? ebony porn Was it a sound that was always in your head, or was it stumbled upon?
SCHOLZ: That sound grew out of what I did naturally-it's that simple. Left to my own devices, with no outside interference, the sound of Boston is what I come up with. I didn't become familiar with that sound until it was on tape. Once it was on tape, it was "my sound."
MG: What was the first quality electric you owned?
SCHOLZ: The '68 Les Paul Goldtop that I've used for just about every Boston track. At the time, that guitar was a reissue of a Fifties Les Paul. I had the misfortune of buying one and learning how to play on it, because it has a neck like a log! It had P90s non-humbuckers on it originally, and I replaced the P-90s with DiMarzio Super Humbuckers.
MG: What percentage of your sound comes from that guitar?
SCHOLZ: None. It's a really nice-sounding guitar, but if I had to get my sound with another guitar, I could definitely do it.
MG: What kind of amps did you use on the first album?
SCHOLZ: That was a combination of an old 100-watt Marshall head and a prototype Power Soak. I never recorded anything without that Power Soak. I built the Power Soak because of the need to bring down the gain, but without losing the saturation of the sound. I also used an Ampeg V4. For speakers, I used standard issue Marshall cabs.
MG: How would you describe your miking techniques?
SCHOLZ: I used whatever was handy. If you dare to mike a Marshall cab, you will never get the mic back in the same place and get the same exact sound twice. If you move the mic even just a few inches, the sound will be utterly different. It won't even sound like the same amplifier. Those 4x12 cabinets yield a lot of phase cancellation, plus the cabinet has unbelievable directionality. I used to have to keep those cabinets pointed anyplace except towards the audience, because one person would hear the sound 10db louder, with a totally different tone, than the person standing five feet away. The best solution was to come up with a sound and then feed it through the PA. Eventually, I stopped using Marshalls and 4x1 2 cabs altogether, because, even though I carried a dozen with me on tour, I couldn't keep two at a time in proper working order-they were too temperamental.
Eventually, I sprang for my own serious AC power supplies, so I could set the voltages exactly. Then I could get a good, repeatable sound, and much better lifespan out of the amps. When I got the Power Soak thing together, I took measurements of voltages and currents in various parts of the head, and then set the resistance of the Power Soak, which is strictly passive resistance. But it was still so cumbersome to use the Marshall stacks, and there was no way to switch sounds as effectively as I needed. Later, I designed more streamlined things that I could change tone easily with.
Back on those old recordings, there were a few times when I was able to get a rhythm sound that I liked, but, most of the time, I was going crazy with equalizers after the track had been recorded. I didn't get that under control until Walk On, when I used the Rockman system combined with Marshalls. I would switch between the two set-ups, and could not tell which one was which. There are little nuances at the beginnings and ends of notes that do sound different, but that's it. I'd have them both cooking, and I'd just pick one or the other, depending on what I was looking for. I'd switch back and forth even for a different chord within the same chorus section. That worked really well, because I finally got some direct sounds out of the Marshall that I was really happy with. I felt I finally got the process together; I didn't have to listen to the track over and over, and listen endlessly to previous tracks and all that. That used to drive me crazy.
MG: Boston is about to hit the road for the first time in a number of years. Is there a new Boston album of all new material in the works?
SCHOLZ: Yes, it is. I plan on getting a handful of basic tracks down before we get too heavily involved in the rehearsals for the upcoming tour. I was just banging out a new tune on the piano right before we started this interview. I work on new songs all the time, and my approach is that, when I have enough new material together, that's when it's time to put out an album.
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