MUSIC MYTHS & LEGENDS BY MARTIN VENGADESAN
The Star Online eCentral - Malaysia Entertainment
REMEMBER those kids in school who used to score great marks effortlessly? Well, for some reason (and I think you ll soon see why) Tom Scholz has always reminded me of them.
A towering man, Scholz was a basketball prodigy who fiddled around with electronics as a hobby, when his main task in life was to obtain brilliant results as a post-graduate engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As part of a university project the Ohio native decided to record a home-made album that would utilise his skills both as a multi-instrumentalist and an innovative recording engineer. With a quartet of Bostonians (Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, Fran Sheehan and Jim Masdea), Scholz set about making a record in his cellar.
Still, it was hard for his band-mates to portray Scholz as the villain of the piece while the man actively pursued a variety of noble causes. Aside from anti-drug and pro-vegetarian campaigns, Scholz actually set up a foundation supporting animal rights and helping to fight homelessness, domestic violence and child abuse.
Indeed, Scholz was arguably the classic anti-rock star, with little appetite for a life of debauchery on the road, although his long-time marriage did come to an end after more than two decades.
As for the band itself, a record of just five studio albums (1994 s Walk On and 2003 s politically-orientated Corporate America complete the picture) in 30 years is hardly likely to inspire a devoted audience but that is exactly whom Boston plays to whenever Scholz and Delp take the band out on the road. While it s fascinating to think just what sort of music Scholz might have made had he been a prolific workaholic like Frank Zappa or David Bowie, you have to respect the gentle genius who became a rock star on his own terms.