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School of Rock: 10 Supersmart Musicians

As students return to classrooms, TIME looks at an honor roll of rock stars who really made the grade

TOM SCHOLZ

Boston guitarist Tom Scholz performs live at Oakland Stadium on May 6, 1979

BEST KNOWN AS: founding member of the classic-rock group Boston; he played almost every instrument and wrote a great majority of their hits

THE INTEL: A standout student in high school, Scholz attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned both a B.S. and and M.S. in mechanical engineering. While employed as a product designer at Polaroid, he built an in-home recording studio in which he famously made a demo that would become Boston s first album  a record-breaking debut that sold a staggering 17 million copies.

BRAINIAC RATING, ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 11: 9

EXTRA CREDIT: Scholz has 34 patents to his name, including the Rockman, a now discontinued headphone amp that was favored by many touring musicians.


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Boston concert a 'Long Time' coming

It's time to dust off long-neglected air guitar skills and relive the glory of rock-and-roll at its finest.

Boston, a representative of the heyday of American classic rock, is in the midst of its first nationwide tour since 2008. The band plays at Treasure Island Resort & Casino on Sept. 1.

Gary Pihl, Boston's longtime guitarist and backup vocalist, never expected to still be touring in 2012, but he has few complaints about taking the stage.

 Watching the faces in the crowd smiling and singing along actually gets me choked up, Pihl said.  Being away from home for such a long stretch is hard, but the feeling of performing is truly incredible."

You play guitar and sing backup vocals on this tour. What equipment do you use? Are you loyal to any particular brand?
I ve been playing Steinberger for almost 20 years. It stays in tune, sounds good, and is a really rugged instrument. It gives that unique Boston sound.

What do you think you d be doing as a career if you weren t a musician?
I ve enjoyed numerous things over the years and I ve been lucky enough to have been able to tie them together. Working with Tom (Scholz) on the technical aspects of Boston s audio equipment and designing amps over the last 20-plus years has been great. Photography is another interest of mine that I ve been able to incorporate into our music.

What current popular music do you enjoy listening to?
I listen to everything. I m a button-pusher in the car so I m constantly flipping between country, rock, hip hop, jazz, classical, you name it. If I don t know the artist I ll ask my kids. Sometimes they know the answer, sometimes they don t.

On your most recent tours, what have you noticed about the fan demographic compared to 30 years ago? Are they the same loyal, albeit older, fans or are you drawing a younger crowd who may not have even been alive 30 years ago?
Both. It s great to see fans out there who are about my age and have followed our music through the years. Now, thanks to our songs being on video games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, we see kids as young as 10 or 11 years old singing along and enjoying the music.

What s your favorite song to perform live?
I d have to say  Walk On. It s a long song but very technically challenging. Everyone gets to do their thing and show off a bit. The live version is a bit different than the studio version in that it s longer.

What are your plans for when you retire?
Retire? My wife says that I ll never retire. I actually imagine that I ll still be working with music. I have a band on the side called December People. We play holiday songs in the styles of other rock bands and all of our shows benefit local food banks.

Sarah Shonyo is a Rochester freelance writer.

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Boston Brings Memories to Solomons

By Mike Wilson

Thursday night, August 16, the Calvert Museum hosted the legendary classic rock band Boston with the local favorite  Sam Grow the opening at their PNC Waterside Pavilion.

New talents live up to high standards of 'Boston'

By Jeff Miers
News pop music critic

Perhaps the band is the epitome of what we call "classic rock." Or, more likely, Boston was simply a concept birthed in the mind of a visionary artist, one that just happened to catch on in a major way in the latter '70s, and we all accepted the pinning of the "classic rock" tag on a sound that was conceived without such pretensions.

Boston brings hits, familiarity to Bethlehem

By Dustin Schoof | The Express-Times

Boston is among the many classic rock bands who seem content on touring the festival circuit and playing their hits. The near-capacity crowd who showed up tonight to Musikfest didn't seem to mind -- or care.

The concert had all the trimmings of a Boston best-of collection; dropping the staples such as "Boston," "Rock & Roll Band" and "Smokin" all within the first 20 minutes. There were twin guitar solos, vocal harmonies and the occasional ballad. (the acoustically oriented "Amanda" in particular elicited many "aw's," which could be heard from those within earshot.)

That is not to diminish or take away from the musical talents of the group's members. Founding guitarist Tom Scholz proved he can still work a fretboard with the best of them, as he laid into the audience with several ripping solos throughout the night. Perched behind his kit, drummer Curly Smith steered the rhythm section with locomotive force.

Scholz pulled double duty throughout the night, switching between guitar and keyboard -- many times during the same song; including a sizzling finger workout on "Smokin," and later on the intro to the show's closing number, "Foreplay/Long Time."

However, the absence of original singer-guitarist Brad Delp (who died in 2007), coupled with Scholz being Boston's only remaining original member, made the performance come off more like a well-oiled tribute band doing their best Boston impression. To their credit, each song was played with precision without any audible botched licks or dead notes. Cuts such as "Feelin' Satisfied," "Peace of Mind," and "Surrender to Me" sounded just like they do on vinyl; as if they were being pumped out of a turntable cranked to 11, only without the pops and crackle.

Current frontman Tommy DeCarlo showed that he could handle Delp's lauded high notes with ease and did his best to keep the crowed engaged (which didn't appear to be a problem); particularly on the group's massive hit single "More Than a Feeling." The song ended with Scholz burning up his six-string a flurry of hammer-ons and bended notes as the rest of the band chugged along with him.

Though it was far from a poor or lifeless performance, there was a sense of complacency that permeated the show. The music was tight but it was tough to shake the feeling that Boston, now in its 36th year of existence, and several lineup changes later, was simply going through the motions.

At least it didn't rain.

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Boston singer and guitarist David Victor discusses band's legacy ahead of Musikfest stop

Boston singer and guitarist David Victor's enthusiasm for the band and their music is palpable, along with the reverence he has for those early years.

"I grew up with Boston's music and my sister Peggy brought home the Boston album, we played it all the time. Every song was or became a hit," says Victor, whose passion for the band ultimately landed him in the lead vocals spot at the age of 48.

"You don't expect your break when you're nearly 50, but that's how it happened for me," Victor says.

Formed in 1976, Boston will touch down Sunday on the Stands Steel Stage during Bethlehem's Musikfest celebration.

Part of a 40-city tour which began in June, the Musikfest stop is the first for Victor. "Every city we go to is a first for me," says Victor, a native of California. The band performed at Musikfest in 2008.


Victor was brought into the Boston fold about two years ago, thanks to posting his work, playing and singing classic Boston songs on YouTube. "Getting that call was pretty unbelievable," Victor says.

Hits the band maintains on its play list include "Don't Look Back," "Amanda," "Smokin'," "Rock and Roll Band," and "Foreplay/Longtime."

"I'd have to say 'Foreplay/Longtime' is probably my favorite Boston song. It's as fresh and relevant today as it was when (guitarist) Tom (Scholz) wrote it," Victor says.

Victor credits Scholz's meticulous attention to detail  both in the studio and out of it - for the music's staying power.

While founder Scholtz is the only original member of the band, Victor says the rest of the group continues in Boston's spirit. "It all comes together," he says.


Victor says technology, always a hallmark for Boston, continues to be part of the show. "We have this great multimedia show on screens with relevant clips running behind us, so it's a pretty amazing show," Victor says.

Victor says the band is working on new material, but declined to say if or when a new recording was coming. "We are working, and it's looking like we'll be heading back into a studio this fall, but other than that, I can't say much more," Victor says.

For now, Boston's hits  along with the trademark spaceship logo  remain on center stage for fans of their classically-infused brand of rock 'n' roll.

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