Boston brings a different era to St. Augustine

Text and photos by John Davisson

Boston is on the road, and they played the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.

It was like entering a time machine as they rolled out hit after hit from the late '70s and early '80s. Back then, Boston's songs were in heavy rotation on the radio, and you could not help but know the songs if you listened to rock stations. Boston's debut album sold 17 million copies (only Guns and Roses has sold more copies of a debut album). The second album sold 7 million  a sophomore slump to be sure, but who can complain about 7 million? The next three albums only sold 7 million total.

Tom Scholz, the Boston mastermind, is the only member remaining from the original line-up, but the sound was unmistakable. Tom singlehandedly changed the sound of rock music. An electronics whiz with a master's degree from MIT, he created effects boxes (like the Rockman he developed later and marketed) that enabled him to create an arena-rock sound in the studio. Without stacks of Marshall amplifiers, he had a sound with a full, clean sustain that became a hallmark of the band's sound.

Boston still has what it takes to rock

Tommy Mann Jr. The Orange Leader

KINDER, La.  Make no doubt about it, Boston is not just another  rock and roll band.

The rock band Boston performed this past Friday night at Coushatta Casino and Resort in Kinder, La., in front of several thousand loyal rock fans and the group delivered a stellar concert performing hit after hit during a spectacular 90-minute showcase.

Boston brings its unique brand of rock 'n' roll to Kinder

Gary Pihl knows he has one of the coolest jobs in America.

Since 1985, Pihl (pronounced Peel) has played guitar for Boston, a band noted for its driving guitar sound that many have tried to imitate, usually with little success.

Boston will perform at 8 p.m. today (July 6) at Coushatta Casino Resort as part of its first tour in four years.

"I can tell you exactly when I heard that sound for the first time," Pihl said in a telephone interview. "I was driving near my home in the San Francisco area. I got to a stop sign and I heard "More Than a Feeling" coming out of the car ahead of me."

"More Than a Feeling" was not Boston's biggest hit, topping at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976, but the song introduced the Boston sound pioneered by group founder Tom Scholz to music fans. It was the first track on Boston's self-titled 1976 debut album that sold more than 17 million copies.

Pihl, who was 26 in 1976, already was a successful musician in the San Francisco area. He joined singer Sammy Hagar's band in 1977, just in time for the band to be hired as the opening act for the final few shows of Boston's tour that year. Hagar and his band were hired as the opening act for all of Boston's 1978 tour.

"You can say I have been with Boston on every tour they ever had," Pihl said. "I was just on the opening act for the first two tours."

When Hagar disbanded his group in 1985 to join Van Halen, Pihl wasn't out of work long. Scholz was finishing Boston's third album, "Third Stage," and called in Pihl to help.

"It was supposed to be for one song," Pihl said. "I ended up packing up the wife and kids and moving to the Boston area."

Pihl became a key figure in a band that does not put out albums nearly as often as many groups -- there have been just six albums, one of them a compilation -- and does not tour endlessly either.

"What was nice about that is that I was able to be home with my wife and kids," Pihl said.

The fact that Boston does not follow the usual pattern of a rock group has been driven by Scholz, who is not your typical musician. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and owns Scholz Research and Development. He is the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier.

"I think Tom owns about 29 patents," said Pihl, who doubles as vice president of Scholz Research and Development. "I think it is safe to say that we are the only group who performs using amplifiers that we built."

Scholz is a reluctant tourer -- possibly why the group limits its live performances. Boston will play around 40 dates this summer, including tonight's show at Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder.

The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the years and is touring with a new lineup this summer.

"We have been fortunate," Pihl said. "We have been able to work with great people."

Tommy DeCarlo, who joined the band in 2008 in the wake of the death of original lead singer Brad Delp, is the lead vocalist. Scholz and Pihl will be on guitars with Scholz also playing keyboards.

"When you see those lists of the 100 greatest guitarists, Tom is always on it," Pihl said. "The unusual thing is that if you see a list of the 100 greatest keyboard players, Tom also is on that list. Not too many people can make that kind of list on two different instruments."

Curly Smith, who toured with Boston previously, returns to the lineup for this summer's tour. Two newcomers, Tracy Ferrie on bass, and guitarist David Victor, round out the touring act.

"All six of us can sing," Pihl said. "That really makes it nice."

The set list of the Kinder show will include many of the group's standards mixed "with some new songs and a couple of songs we haven't played in a while," Pihl said.

What older songs?

"Oh, I can't tell you that," Pihl said. "You'll have to come to the show to find out."

One thing you won't hear at a Boston show is any recorded music or sound effects.

"One of the things Tom insists on is that everything is performed live," Pihl said. "We find a way to create the sound on stage."

Source: The Town Talk

BOSTON: Touring gives the band 'peace of mind'

NY Rock Music Examiner
By Suzanne Rothberg

Get ready BOSTON fans! The band is gearing up for their U.S. summer tour which includes their one and only New York City area appearance at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, on July 22! The iconic classic rock band from the town of the same name has been a mainstay on classic rock radio with the tunes, 'More than a Feeling,' 'Peace of Mind' 'Rock And Roll Band, 'Smokin', 'Foreplay', 'Something About You' 'Amanda' and more. It seems you cannot go anywhere without hearing at least one song by BOSTON.

The lineup for White Plains is in this order: Tom Scholz lead and rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, Gary Pihl, rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, Tommy DeCarlo, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, David Victor, guitar vocals, Tracy Ferrie bass guitar, Curly Smith, drums, percussion, harmonica, backing vocals. Their famous logo is the BOSTON spaceship.

NY Rock Music Examiner spoke with singer-guitarist David Victor about their upcoming tour and what keeps the band going. He's the newest member of the band from California.

Boston still delivers more than a feeling at tour opening concert in Hollywood

By Howard Cohen

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Calling a live album  live is often a misnomer in popular music. Almost all of the popular live albums  Frampton Comes Alive!, Eagles Live, Garth Brooks Double Live  were heavily doctored in the studio with overdubs, re-recorded instrumental parts and re-sung vocals to sound painstakingly close to the recorded versions.

Three songs into Boston s opening date of its 2012 tour at Hard Rock Live near Hollywood Thursday night, just after a flawless recreation of the 1978 classic rock staple Feelin Satisfied, the notion of having to resort to suchdeceptive trickery seemed unnecessary for musicians and sound engineers of this caliber. Boston s front-of-house sound was crystalline, full-bodied, warm and powerful, so close to perfect, one could suggest that all Boston has to do to craft its first killer live album right now is to get on stage and simply hit the record button.

Boston mastermind Tom Scholz, the group s founder, guitarist, keyboardist and primary songwriter, laughed backstage at that suggestion after the 105-minute concert.  They d hear all my mistakes, he quipped.

If there were any faults in the opening night s performance they mostly were reflected in the concert s haphazard video presentation. The large screen behind the band only sporadically flashed images, none of them particularly interesting, save a few shots of the distinctive Boston guitar spaceship logo.

The concert s pace in the latter third also flagged a bit with a three-part Third Stage combo of My Destination/New World/To Be a Man. Ditto the surprising inclusion of the mid-tempo Used to Bad News as the penultimate encore. The more rousing Don t Be Afraid, from ebony porn the same Don t Look Back album, would have maintained the peak Boston had built by that point.

But these are minor quibbles. Boston, working as a six-piece with vets Scholz and guitarist/keyboardist Gary Pihl, now includes new co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist David Victor swapping leads with lead singer Tommy DeCarlo on Peace of Mind and Amanda. Muscular drummer Curly Smith, who has a long r

Rock man finds home in Boston

Gary Pihl is a man of opposites.

He s a guitarist and singer in Boston, part of July s Empire Rockfest concert series. But Pihl (pronounced  peel ) is hardly a stereotypical rock star. He got a steady gig because he didn t do drugs, while his work in Boston led to a steady 9-to-5 company job. Oh, and he s been married only once  to his highschool sweetheart.

On the phone from a Florida hotel room, Pihl doesn t sound road-weary, jaded or cocky. In fact, he sounds pretty average  and very content. And there s a reason. For starters, Boston is hardly ever on the road. The band s July 27 performance Empire Rockfest is the first date of a rare tour.

 (Founder) Tom Scholz likes to tour when we have a record out  which is why we haven t toured that often, says Pihl.  On average it s about once every four years.

 The band is not prolific, but we like to think it s quality above quantity, he says, laughing.  I personally love touring, he says, adding that he s so used to the songs that he can play without thinking; it gives him a chance to enjoy his time onstage.  It transcends the music for me.

Pihl grew up in Chicago before moving to the San Francisco area, where he was in several high school bands.

A fellow guitarist hooked him up with lessons from a guitarist in a band called The Warlocks. His name was Jerry Garcia, and his band was soon renamed The Grateful Dead. By 1977, Pihl and his bandmates at the time were acquaintances with singer Sammy Hagar and had played a few gigs with him.  He says,  Hey, Pihl, are you into drugs? I says,  No. He says,  Why don t you come down and jam with us? We lost our other guitarist.  Pihl and Hagar were touring with Boston between 1977 and 1979. When Hagar left to join Van Halen, Pihl walked into a job with Boston. He says he d been quizzing Boston founder Tom Scholz about various technical questions, such as how he produced certain guitar tones.  We immediately hit it off on that tech level.

When Scholz created Scholz Research and Development Inc. to build his own line of music gear, Pihl ended up with an offstage job. He appeared at trade shows and elsewhere, demonstrating the equipment and answering questions.

He and his wife met at age 16 and dated until their marriage 10 years later. They have two sons, ages 27 and 30. Pihl said his technical job s routine was good for his family.

 It was kind of a grounding element for them: no matter how big a rock star you are, you still have a day job and go to work.  I thought it was nice that the kids saw this, that it s not just sex, drugs and rock and roll. But the rock and roll thing still works for him.

Pihl says the band is used to seeing several generations of fans in the crowd, but there s a classic-rock revival happening, thanks in part to older tunes being used in video games.

 All of a sudden we re seeing teenagers on their own, not just being dragged there by their parents.  They like the music because they found it themselves. Who would have thought that would have happened? Pihl says the fans enthusiasm makes it easy to play the same songs night after night.  If I had to play the same songs, no matter what songs they are, every day in my livingroom, then yeah, that would be boring.  All you ve got to do is look down in the audience and see people smiling and singing along with us, he says.  There s nothing like that.

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