Rock band Boston to play White Plains with 'lucky' singer


As lead singer of Boston, Tommy DeCarlo is on a North American tour that includes a July 22 stop at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. But it wasn't long ago that he was just a lifelong fan, working at a Home Depot in Charlotte, N.C.

"I'll say to myself, 'How the heck did this happen?'" said DeCarlo, 47.

Growing up in Utica, DeCarlo was a teenager when he first heard Boston's "More Than a Feeling." He was mesmerized. Today, he acknowledges that "as corny as this sounds, it's been more than a feeling ever since."

But not all those feelings were happy. In 2007, DeCarlo was among the Boston fans who were devastated by the news that Brad Delp, the band's original lead singer, had committed suicide. In response, DeCarlo decided to record his own songs as a tribute to the late singer.

DeCarlo's daughter, Talia, was so moved by what she heard that she helped him post the tracks on Myspace. That's when the clips started to go viral, and an enthusiastic fan passed along an email address of someone supposedly affiliated with the band.

DeCarlo expected nothing when he emailed a link of his performances to that address. What he got in return, however, was a reply from Boston's founder and lead guitarist, Tom Scholz, who marveled at how much the Home Depot credit manager sounded like Delp.

On Aug. 18, 2007, Scholz flew DeCarlo and his family to Boston (the city), and invited him to the band's rehearsal for a Delp tribute show scheduled for the following night. DeCarlo says he suspected, even in that moment, that something more might be on the line: "I just knew that if I'd just performed well at the tribute show, I knew [Scholz] would want to have me back."

The next night, DeCarlo took the stage to perform two of Boston's hits -- "Smokin'" and "Party" -- marking the first time he'd ever sung with the band in front of an audience. After the show, while DeCarlo waited for the car that would take him back to his hotel -- and, he assumed, back to his normal life -- he thanked Scholz for the opportunity.

"I said, 'I appreciate your having me on, and everything,'" DeCarlo recalled. "And he said, with a big smile on his face, 'We'll be in touch.'"

DeCarlo was stunned: One of his dreams had come true.

"I never went back [to Home Depot]," he said with a laugh. "Tom Scholz pays a little better than Home Depot, fortunately enough."

DeCarlo said he "didn't know anything about touring" at the start of Boston's 56-show road trip in 2008, and he was tough on himself when it came to his earliest concert performances.

"Quite honestly, I wasn't particularly fond of my first eight to 10 shows," he said. "I mean, the fans liked it; Tom liked it; but I knew in my heart, he didn't get my best, because I was a nervous wreck, singing in front of sold-out stadiums ... It took eight to 10 shows for me to actually calm down and start having fun and enjoying it."

After that tour ended, DeCarlo waited four years for the other members of Boston to agree to hit the road again, but during the interim, he says, he worked on improving his rock star vocals -- and his rock star look.

Before the 2008 tour, "I really wasn't working my vocals the way that you should, in terms of getting ready for a big tour," he said. "So, a lot of [the preparation since 2008] was a lot of vocal work, and building up my vocal muscle, as well as getting myself in better shape. I was just an average guy; I wasn't a real workout nut, but once I saw some pictures of me from the 2008 tour, I said, 'You know somethin'? I don't think I like the way I look. I need to drop a few pounds, grow the hair out a little bit more, and just kind of embrace the role a little bit more.'"

This time around, DeCarlo says, his nerves are gone, and he's having a lot more fun.

"Rehearsals have been great," he added. "The band sounds amazing. And I think I will always consider myself an extension of the fans, because I just kind of latched onto these guys so late in the game in my life. I'm 47, now, so as odd as it sounds, I always look at them as the band, and I'm just lucky enough to go up and sing with them ... If you can't go out and have a great time touring with your favorite rock and roll band, I'm afraid you just can't have a good time."

In addition, he says, the fans that had been supportive in 2008 are even more enthusiastic in 2012.

"I think they're just dying for this music," DeCarlo said. "And as a fan, I'm the same way ... I have never experienced being in one room -- whether it be a sold-out venue or whatever it may be -- with so many people who are so happy at one time. I think that's got to be the most amazing thing to me: With all the craziness in this world that's going on today, you can put 15,000 to 20,000 people in one room and everybody's on the same page."

Even after five years of knowing the band personally, DeCarlo's reverence toward his bandmates remains consistent, as he refers to Boston as "they," rather than "we." Part of this likely stems from the fact that he's been just a face in the crowd at their shows for decades, but it may also have to do with the very reason he has this opportunity.

"If there's one thing missing from this entire experience that I've had thus far," he said, "I truly wish in my heart that Brad Delp could have been a part of it."


Who: Boston

When: 7:30 p.m., Sunday, July 22

Info: Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave., White Plains; 914-995-4050;; $47.50-$109.50


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Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012

By ROBERT DiGIACOMO Atlantic City Insiders

Five years after being  discovered by the veteran rock group Boston, lead singer Tommy DeCarlo still has to pinch himself.

 I still am pretty overwhelmed by it all, especially when I m out in front of a sold-out venue, says the 47-year-old DeCarlo, who performs with Boston on Saturday, July 21, at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City.

The married father of two was working as a credit manager at a Home Depot in Charlotte, N.C., when Boston founder and main guiding force Tom Scholz tapped him to replace the late Brad Delp, who died of a reported suicide in 2007.

DeCarlo s faithful covers of  Don t Look Back and other Boston tracks on his MySpace page caught the attention of Scholz, who added him to the lineup, despite DeCarlo having little professional experience.

 It s been totally overwhelming, DeCarlo says.  At the same time, I couldn t think of a better thing I d be doing at this point in my life than touring with a legendary rock band like Boston.

Boston is somewhat of a rarity among its peers, in that the group has only released four albums since its mega-popular 1976 self-titled debut, which sold 17 million copies and yielded three of its biggest songs:  More Than a Feeling,  Long Time and  Peace of Mind.

The group, whose only original remaining member is Scholz, is in the process of recording its sixth album.

Ahead of Boston s A.C. appearance, DeCarlo talks about how he went from being a Boston fan to its frontman, and why he feels a special duty to stay true to its original sound.

Q: So listening to the radio as a kid really paid dividends for you?

A: Growing up, I never had any vocal lessons or training of any kind. When I first started to sing, Brad Delp was one of my earliest influences. I loved the music so much, it was easy to sing along. Being a young teenager, I probably spent days and days and days at the time just singing the music.

I didn t go out to try to sing like Brad Delp. How it came out, it came out. Fortunately, years later Tom Scholz was in a position to hear my singing. I m happy he liked it  it made things a lot easier.

Q: Have you tried to re-interpret the songs, or do you stick by the album versions?

A: For me, the approach is to stay as close as I can to the album, because that is what the fans remember most. Boston is not a band that tours very often, nor has it come out with any live albums.

In rehearsals, we ll pull out the original tracks and listen to them to make sure we can come as close to the original arrangements as possible.

Q: How difficult is it to nail those high notes night after night?

A: When (Brad) recorded a lot of the stuff, he was a young guy. If I had to go back in my 20s, I could probably hit the notes a lot easier. When you re pushing 50, it does get to be a challenge. Fortunately, I have a pretty decent voice, so I can get there.

Q: Why do you think Bo ebony porn ston s music endures?

A: We can be rehearsing for days or weeks at a time. The rehearsals are long and you get tired. But there s something about the music that just brings you to life. No matter how many days you ve been rehearsing, no matter how tired you are that day, the minute a Boston song starts up, there s something about it. You come alive.

Q: Has it been difficult to reconcile family life with the  rock  n roll lifestyle?

A: A lot of people are surprised that this is a very healthy band. Tom is a vegetarian, and has been for many, many years. It s all about being in good health and being able to stay physically fit to perform for people who sometimes come from two or three states away to see a show.

I lucked out with a wonderful wife and great kids  I couldn t ask for anything more. One of the most exciting things is they get to share in this as well. They come out to shows. Because my son and I saw Boston twice together  we sat in the nosebleed seats  it s really cool for them to see how things work from the inside. I love that I can share all of that with my family.