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lt was at this point that the business slice of the industry took over, creating the excitement that the band needed to find themselves when tour time came. It's one thing for a band to put themselves on tape for someone to listen to in their own homes; it's quite another to hit the stage night after night faced with the ever-present spectre of The Flop, having to perform your numbers flawlessly. Even though the band had been, in Tom's words, ". . . friends for years . . .", living with one another day in and day out on a long tour builds an internal personality structure that's easy to disrupt. Translation: a brand new band like Boston was more likely to fall apart internally than it was instrumentally.
"The tour gave us a lot Of confidence... the audiences were extremely receptive, and that was a nice surprise..."
So, with or without an outstanding personage, Boston hit the road, appearing with the likes of Black Sabbath, Jeff Beck, and Robin Trower, among many others. It's always been a truism in music that a band a) makes its name by a lot of little tours and b) sells albums by doing big tours. Boston has ignored both these rules, but with the sound reasoning faculties of the M.I.T. graduate (complete with slide rule) he is, Tom Scholz points out the illogic of the current system, as he sees it. "The whole approach to this thing has been completely backward to that (constant touring prior to signing). The whole idea was to put down what we could do and get it to the most people possible. That involved making a recording, number #1, and number #2, finding somebody that could push it, and that was Ahern and secondly, Epic . . . that was the whole approach, basically. I don't know why it worked, exactly (Brad injects a hearty `Stumbling Successes' here) . . . it always seemed backwards to me to try and make a name for yourself by playing to people. When you play to people, they usually don't hear the sound at its best, unless it's a real good hall, and they only hear it once and they might not be listening, an' they're probably there to hear somebody else. Not that many people walk out thinkin' how good you were, whereas with records, if it gets out to the stations, hundreds of thousands of people get exposed to it.
Ah, yes, the record. In a year of records with staying power on the charts far beyond belief (Peter Frampton, Beorge Benson, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Starship, etc.) boston's album attained a rate of sale that blew out the competition. Examined critically, and from an engineering standpoint, the album lacked some refinement and polish. The remarkable thing about the album, of course, is the fact that it was recorded almost exclusively in Engineer Scholz's basement. Only the mixing and some vocal overduos were done elsewhere. Homemade recordings rarely make it beyond an A&R man's 'Out' file; the fact that this one went out virtually unchanged and exploded on the market is nothing short of miraculous, and gives some hint as to the recording prowess of Tom Scholz. Yet was he really satisfied with it?
"No, I'd change about 70% of the mixes . . . put on one song that was different. I wasn't, y'know, overly annoyed ,with the album, but I was far from being elated by it. I thought it had to be compromised on account of time, an' we got kicked out of our regular studio (Tom's basement), and stuck in a real studio which put us on a money budget. . ."
It's an interesting method of recording in this day and age of closed circuit playback, 24, 32, 48, 64! track recordings, and so forth; the relaxation of recording at one's own pace in familiar surroundings is a luxury only the top (read that as $$$) bands can afford. This, I believe becomes important when a band reaches the road. Think of it like this: there are two separate and distinct halves to a band--the band that records, and the band that tours. lt is in the studio that the various band members learn about each ebony porn other, discover when someone's liable to change key and tempo and why, in short, become an integral part of their little enclosed machine. In the days of old, when bands were generally in the studio together, the magic flowed. Too often today, a band member comes to a session only to find out that he's just going to play his part to an already recorded backtrack. There's no flow, just tape hiss. When a band like this gets on the road, it takes a while to sort out who's doing what, when, where, and why; two weeks of strict rehearsals right before a tour isn't a valid substitute.
For Boston, Tom Scholz's basement became both a studio and college, wherein the guys learned what they were putting on tape while working it out together in the studio. This cohesiveness would prove a valuable asset when the tour arrived. They were ready, mentally with each other, and more than ready musically. The early date shakiness was due, of course, to a collective wariness of playing a bunch of basement tapes to thousands of fans/consumers/music lovers, all of a sudden.
When things happen as quickly as they have with Boston, it becomes difficult to keep hold of some self-reference point. Toffler refers to this as a form of 'future shock" wherein a person's environment can and will be both suddenly and consistently yanked out from under him; sanity, Toffler believes, belongs to those who will be able to cope with sudden and drastic change. Boston is perhaps a good test tube for those theories; in the space of some fifteen months overall, Tom Scholz, Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, Fran Sheehan and Sib Hashian have gone from not being able to scrape up beer money among themselves after a practice to a double-platinum album, national and international fame, and a blurred ride through time. Maintaining one's own personal center of self is necessary in rock if one is to survive.
Survival doesn't seem to be a concern for this band though; as with everything else, Boston's success has been taken in stride. The final word here rests with Brad: "Everything's changed so much in the last five months, and it's just so ridiculous, that I know I haven't changed in the last five months, so what's the sense of thinking anyone else in the band has? The only difference is that a lot more people know us, an' that's nice."
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