It isn’t easy for a band to move forward after their vocalist dies. In the case of Boston, who lost singer Brad Delp in 2007, it hasn’t been easy moving forward period.
Guitarist-songwriter Tom Scholz is perhaps the most meticulous tunesmith in rock. The brainy electronics geek pays attention to every detail and works on each nuance while making a song. As a result, Boston released just three albums after 1978’s “Don’t Look Back” up until Delp took his life.
Few expected Scholz to craft another album under the Boston moniker after his friend passed but the toothy former design engineer made “Life, Love & Hope,” which dropped in December.
“I’m sure most people thought that when Brad died, Boston died as well,” Scholz said while calling from his suburban Boston home. “But Brad and I were working on a new Boston album. Brad sung on songs that he knew were earmarked for a Boston album. So I possessed those tracks and I believe that he would have approved it if I used his vocals for the new songs. After knowing him for so many years, I’m certain that’s how he would feel. I love how it turned out.”
There are some very good moments on “Life Love & Hope.” It’s no surprise that Scholz guitar work is front and center and at times, he is masterful. Delp’s vocals are effective on the three songs his vocals are utilized for and David Victor, who is the lead vocalist on the catchy single ‘Heaven and Earth, has a huge set of pipes like Delp. The same can be said for vocalist Tommy DeCarlo, who sings six new songs.
“I needed another singer to finish this off and I was fortunate to find David,” Scholz said. “He was great. I couldn’t have done this (‘Heaven and Earth’) without him. Also, Tommy is a fantastic singer, who made a major contribution.”
When Boston performs Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, the group will showcase the new material and render favorites from its salad days, which is nearly 40-years ago.
“I can’t wait to tour,” Scholz said. “Making the albums is tedious for me. It’s a lot of work. But hitting the road is when I have the most fun. I would rather be playing out in front of thousands as opposed to be playing in front of four walls.”
Scholz will be flanked by DeCarlo, who will sing, guitarist-vocalist Gary Pihl, vocalist-guitarist David Victor, who typically belts out “Amanda,” guitarist-vocalist Kimberly Dahme, bassist Tracy Ferrie and drummer Jeff Neal.
“It’s a great group of musicians,” Scholz said. “Brad isn’t here. I wish he was but I’m having a great time moving forward with this crew.”
Will it be another decade before Boston releases another album? “I can’t predict the future,” Scholz said. “All I know is that I’m very happy with the present. I love how this album sounds. I’m in a really good place right now. It’s been a great career so far.”
Scholz left a cushy corporate gig to take a chance on a career in music.
“I was compelled to do it,” Scholz said. “I remember when I started out making music and I was told that the kind of music we made wouldn’t work. I was told it was all about disco back then and guitar rock wouldn’t sell.”
Well, fortunately Scholz believed in his material. The band’s eponymous album was a monster out of the gate. The disc, which was released in August 1976, became one of the biggest selling albums of all time. The album, which has sold more than 17 million copies, went to the top of the rock charts, courtesy of such hits as the anthemic “More Than a Feeling,” the hook-laden “Peace of Mind,” and the feel good “Foreplay/Long Time.”
“Those songs still stand up,” Scholz said. “I love to play them. I had a great time on that first tour with the band. I have so many great memories from that period, particularly of Brad back then. It’s such a shame he’s not with us now but I’m carrying on for him with this new album and with the older songs.”
Who would have ever guessed in 1976 that Boston would be around nearly four decades later and Polaroid factories are defunct?
“It’s funny,” Scholz said. “Life is unpredictable.”