THOMAS DIMOPOULOS , The Saratogian 06/25/2004
It is Wednesday morning and Kimberley Dahme is in a Boston hotel room caught in an emotional whirlwind of utter exhaustion and outright exhilaration.
'You have to excuse me. We had a late night last night,' says Dahme, whose specialty these days is playing bass guitar alongside classic rockers Tom Scholz and Brad Delp in the band Boston. The group is in production rehearsals for their upcoming tour, which kicks off at the Glens Falls Civic Center July 13.
'We've been rehearsing every day,' Dahme says. 'Eight, 12, sometimes as many as 14 hours a day, but I'm just so excited about it,' she says, while clueing in Boston die-hards who enjoyed the band's show last year in Glens Falls that they may be in for some surprises. 'In rehearsals, we've been switching the show around. We want to keep the fans guessing.'
Dating back to the band's earliest days, longtime fans of Boston are used to the guessing game when it comes to their musical heroes. The band's monstrous wall of sound first blew out over radio airwaves in the summer of 1976 and just kept coming. Their self-titled debut became the best-selling pop debut in history. The multimillion selling follow-up 'Don't Look Back,' came two years later. It was the quickest back-to-back issues the group would produce in their entire career. It would be light years, in record industry terms, in between future Boston releases. Scholz began earning a reputation as being too much of a perfectionist. Scholz held fast. 'Third Stage' would eventually be released in the mid-1980s, 'Walk On' would follow a decade later and the group's fifth album 'Corporate Rock,' was issued in 2002.
'I was a huge Boston fan growing up. My brother was into Boston and introduced me to their music,' she says. 'Sometimes when I'm playing these licks I'm thinking: Oh my God, these are the songs I remember singing along with. These are the songs that I danced to when I was in the in the fifth and the sixth grade.'
Born in California, Dahme would get to live her ultimate rock 'n' roll fantasy. She says it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. While performing with a rock and blues club band, she was approached by Scholz, who was looking to recruit members in redesigning Boston for the new millennium. With Dahme's years of musical training as a vocalist under her belt as well as being capable on guitar, keyboard and flute, Scholz was suitably impressed.
'I have done country, rock and blues. I studied opera and toured Europe for a year when I was younger, so I have done many styles of music,' she says.
With a strong background in country music and a career filled with inspiration by the likes of Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, Dahme was approached by Scholz who asked the question: Do you play the bass?
She quickly scraped together a couple of hundred dollars she says, ran down to the neighborhood pawn shop and picked up one of those four-string monsters. As her audition date neared, she immersed herself in learning the instrument, even though many close to her were skeptical. 'They said 'There's no way.'Ÿ'
She got the gig. Her first official appearance with the band was on New Year's Day 2002, performing the National Anthem at the Fiesta Bowl in front of tens of thousands of people in attendance and millions more on TV. For the band that doesn't do music videos or live albums, it was also their first televised appearance as a group. In 2002 Boston's 'Corporate Rock' was issued and included the Dahme-penned tune 'With You.'
She prepared for the negative feedback she expected would be thrust upon her as a new member of the classic band, as well as being its first female performer.
'I was anticipating the worst,' she says, 'But all I got was the best. Every night I'm grateful. I always say a prayer to do my best. And every time I step on stage and the curtain goes up and there's Tom (Scholz) and Brad (Delp) and all the guys, I'm just very thankful.'
Dahme continues to write, record and sell her own songs as an independent musician, and her personal life is busy as well with two young children. Her son just celebrated his eighth birthday and her daughter, a 'surprise baby' she laughs, is 20 months old. She spends most of her time with the children home in Nashville, Tenn., although her son has experienced some of the lifestyle of the loud and famous while spending a week on the tour bus.
'He just thinks it's cool having a rock 'n' roll mom,' Dahme says.
In 2003, the band had rehearsals in Glens Falls and gave a live public performance early in the tour. This year's tour will take in an entirely different set of cities -- except for one repeat appearance --the Glens Falls Civic Center. Seemingly something of a lucky charm for the band these days, the site is also the one which will kick off the summer tour.
While living in the present, Dahme is also casting at least one eye on the future.
'We spent some time in the studio recording recently. I got to sing, and it's been very good,' she says, so there is a basic framework for some tracks for a ebony porn new album.
As for public release of new material, Dahme says she is as hopeful as any fan of the band. 'Just as everyone does, I hope Tom puts out another Boston album -- and he will.'
Fans looking to crack the Boston 'code' may want to look at who is sitting inside the White House. Dating back to their debut release during Gerald Ford's administration, the band's five albums have come one each for five different presidents. (And in case you were wondering, the current administration has already had their share).
'Personally,' Dahme says, 'I just want to keep getting better musically. And always -- I always want to be doing the music.'
Truer words have never been spoken by anyone who has ever picked up an instrument and imagined playing on stage alongside their heroes to thousands of adoring fans.
Tickets for Boston at the Glens Falls Civic Center July 13 are $26, $36, $51 and are on sale at the Civic Center Box Office, by phone at 798-0202, and at all Ticketmaster locations.