Boston





Tom Scholz was born in Toledo, Ohio on March 10th, 1947 and studied classical piano as a child. By the time he got to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1965 he had begun writing his own music and soon joined a band called Freehold that included guitarist Barry Goudreau, drummer Jim Masdea and later vocalist Brad Delp. Upon graduating, Scholz was hired by the Polaroid Corporation as a product design engineer and used his earnings to build a recording studio in the basement of his home. It was here that he, along with Delp, Goudreau and Masdea, began recording demo tapes which were subsequently sent out to various record companies, although none were accepted. By 1973 the quartet was calling themselves Mother's Milk, but when the rejection letters mounted up, the band dissolved. Scholz continued to work with Delp and Masdea and by 1975 the trio had put together a half dozen new demos which included a song called "More Than A Feeling". The tape eventually came to the attention of promoters Charlie McKenzie and Paul Ahern who helped get them a recording contract with Epic Records. It was around this time that drummer Jim Masdea dropped out, with some reports saying he was fired, while others claim he simply lost interest. One of the conditions set out by Epic was a live audition, for which Scholz recruited Fran Sheehan on bass, and Sib Hashian on drums. The tryout was a success and the company signed a deal to have Scholz and Delp record ten albums over the next six years. One concession Epic gave into was that Scholz be allowed to use his home studio to record the bed tracks, while Delp would add the vocals in Los Angeles. After the tracks had been mixed, they were pressed into an album under the name Boston, that was suggested by Epic's John Boylan and Warren Dewey. Released on August 25th, 1976, the LP was supported by shows that included opening for Black Sabbath, Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult. Two months after its release, Boston's self titled debut album was certified Gold and went Platinum a month after that. It was the biggest selling debut album of all time up to that point, and rose to the #3 position on Billboard's Hot 200 chart, on which it stayed for an amazing 132 weeks. The single selected for release was "More Than A Feeling", which raced up the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at #6 on December 18th. Upon hearing the song on the radio for the first time, Tom Scholz promptly gave his two week notice at Polaroid. Two more singles from the LP reached the Top 40, "Long Time" (#22) and "Piece Of Mind" (#38). At the 1977 Grammy Awards held on February 19th, Boston was nominated for Best New Artist, but somehow lost to The Starland Vocal Band.

Two years after the initial success, Tom Scholz had completed Boston's second album, entitled "Don't Look Back", which was released by Epic in August 1978. The effort sold about half the number of copies as the debut LP, with sales of seven million. The title track also became a sizeable hit, reaching #4 in early October of that year. The follow-up singles, "A Man I'll Never Be" climbed to #31 in mid-January, 1979, while "Feelin' Satisfied" stalled at #46 that April.

Despite finding enormous success, Scholz's relationship with co-manager Paul Ahern crumbled and they parted company. Scholz was hard at work preparing a third album when Ahern claimed that according to a deal signed earlier, he was entitled to a percentage of all money generated by Scholz's songs. While the dispute was being sorted out, Barry Goudreau recorded a solo album with the help of Boston members Delp and Hashian. Released in 1980, the LP contained a single release called "Dreams", which failed to chart. Conflict arose over what Epic's parent company CBS said was Boston's signature guitar sound, even though Scholz never contributed a single note to the album. Epic soon quit promoting Goudreau's album citing slow sales, and Goudreau ended up quitting Boston to form his own band called Orion in 1981.

Although he was busy recording new songs for a third Boston album, CBS filed a $60 million lawsuit against Tom Scholz, alleging breach of contract for failing to deliver the LP on time. Much of his time was being taken up when he founded his own electronics company, Scholz Research & Development, which manufactured amplifiers and other musical electronic equipment. Its most successful product, a headphone amplifier called the Rockman, was introduced in 1982. The legal action seemed counterproductive as it slowed the completion of the third LP, which took six years to record and produce. As the lawsuit progressed, CBS withheld royalty payments to Scholz in hopes of swaying him to concede. The litigation was initially decided in Scholz's favor, and he wasted no time in moving the band to MCA Records. When album number three, "Third Stage" was finally released in September, 1986, the lead single "Amanda" shot to the top of the Hot 100. Two subsequent singles "We're Ready" (#9) and "Can'tcha Say" (#20) also became hits. To promote the effort, Boston, now consisting of Scholz, Delp, Doug Huffman and David Sikes, toured heavily throughout 1987 and 1988, often playing the entire album in sequence.

CBS had filed an appeal of their original lawsuit, but it too ended in Scholz's favor in April, 1990. By that Spring, Scholz was back in his studio preparing Boston's fourth album when Brad Delp announced that he wanted to work on other projects and might not be available in the future. Delp went on to join Barry Goudreau's new band, RTZ, and Scholz eventually replaced him with vocalist Fran Cosmo, who had been a part of Goudreau's previous band Orion The Hunter. Before he left, Delp helped Scholz and Sikes to write the upcoming album's title track, "Walk On". The LP went on to reach #7 on the Billboard 200 chart and was awarded a Platinum Record despite producing just one chart single, "I Need Your Love", which stalled at #94 during a one week stay on the Hot 100 in June, 1994. Even though Orion The Hunter found moderate success with an album that charted at #57, Brad Delp reunited with Boston later that same year for another major tour which took them into 1995. By that time, drummer Doug Huffman had been replaced by Curly Smith, previously of the L.A. band Jo Jo Gunne, who had enjoyed a UK Top 10 hit with "Run Run Run" in 1972.

When the 1995 tour ended, Tom Scholz concentrated on preparing a "Greatest Hits" album, which hit store shelves on June 3rd, 1997. Curly Smith and David Sikes left the band that same year to record an album together. In 1998 Scholz began laying down tracks for a new album called "Corporate America", using the pseudonym Downer's Revenge as a spin-off of Boston. Although the LP sold modestly, it still reached #32 on the Billboard 200 chart. The title track was added to MP3.com to test its appeal to a younger audience in early 2002. The experiment worked as the tune rose to #2 on the Progressive Rock chart where it stayed for two weeks. The album itself was released that November on the indie label Artemis Records. Contributing to the songs along with Scholz were Brad Delp, Fran Cosmo, Gary Pihl, Anthony Cosmo, Jeff Neal and Kemberley Dahme. The band kicked off a national tour in support of the album in 2003 which stretched into the following year. In November, 2003, Boston's debut album was certified seventeen times Platinum for sales of over 17 million copies in the U.S. alone. Worldwide it had sold over twenty million. 2006 saw Boston's first two albums re-mastered and re-issued.

Sadly, 55-year-old Brad Delp was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning at his home on March 9th, 2007. Along with a suicide note, he left four sealed envelopes addressed to his children, his former wife Micki, his fiancee, and another unnamed couple. A concert in his honor was held on August 19th of that year at the Bank of America Pavilion which included the current and past members of Boston as well as several other acts.

In the Summer of 2008 Tom Scholz and a new version of Boston set out on a twelve week tour of North America, co-headlining with Styx. 2009 brought a newly re-mastered Greatest Hits CD while a revolving line-up continued to appear at various venues through 2012. December 3rd, 2013 brought a sixth album, "Life, Love & Hope", which included vocals recorded by Brad Delp and others. The following year brought another tour of the United States and Japan which continued into 2015. 2016 had a busy list of appearances across America, followed by the Hyper Space tour in mid-April, 2017.

Some sad news came on March 22, 2017 when former Boston drummer, 67-year-old Sib Hashian, collapsed and died while performing on a ship taking tourists on a Caribbean cruise. Hashian had been performing with his former Boston band mate Barry Goudreau, original Beach Boys star David Marks, and Foreigner singer Lou Gramm.

For more, be sure to read Gary James' interview with Tom Scholz.