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ARTWORK BY BEN UPHAM III
“ROCKED BY TROUBLES, BOSTON TRIES TO REBOUND”
BY STEVE MORSE
THE DAILY HERALD
DECEMBER 23, 1994
Boston is trying to salvage a lost year. Not the city, but the band. The band experienced a devil of a year, fighting with its record label, fighting a former manager in court, scrapping a summer tour and watching in horror as a new album sold only 1 million copies. That’s a dream figure for most bands, but was only 25 percent of what any of Boston’s three previous discs had sold.
“One million (sales) is not a total embarrassment,” says Boston producer/guitarist Tom Scholz. “And it got extremely good reactions from the people who actually managed to find out there was an album released”…
Scholz has reason to fume — he lost his battles with MCA Records, which did little to promote the album; and lost his court case with former manager Paul Ahern, who won a half-million dollars for alleged breach of contract. But Scholz is determined to be optimistic. A shed tour is being planned for the spring and summer. The band will debut new lead singer Fran Cosmo (formerly of Orion the Hunter). Other players include guitarist Gary Pihl — formerly of Sammy Hagar’s solo band — and bassist Gary Sikes and new drummer Curly Smith.
Original singer Brad Delp, whose urgently high-pitched voice graced early Boston hits “Amanda” and “Don’t Look Back,” recently joined the band for a Boston-area benefit concert. But as for whether Delp will tour next year, Scholz is noncommittal. “We never think that far ahead. These days, I’m just trying to get my amp to work.”
The new singer, Cosmo, handled the vocals on Boston’s latest disc, “Walk On.” He won the job when Delp opted to work on other projects such as RTZ (with Barry Goudreau, a former guitar player with Boston) and Beetle Juice, a Beatles cover band.
Scholz tried out “dozens” of new singers before settling on Cosmo, whose tenor voice fit the lush, multilayered “Boston sound.” Criticism ensued when Scholz, who produces 90 percent of the group’s music in his home studio, wouldn’t identify the new singer until the album came out. Some observers found this tactic deceptive, but Scholz claims that wasn’t the intent. “Van Halen did it the other way, they made a big deal of it when they changed singers,” Scholz says of Van Halen’s switch from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar. “I’m not finding fault with that, but they made a big deal out of it to get some added promotion for their record which is fine. But Boston is not a band of personalities…. Plus, I wanted fans to hear the album without a lot of attendant thinking like, ‘Does this song sound different from before?”
What didn’t work out well was the relationship with MCA Records “What relationship?” Scholz says snidely “Let’s put it this way I killed myself to finish the record ‘Walk On’ in December of last year But MCA didn’t put it out until June We had planned a spring and summer shed tour and that whole thing went down the drain when (MCA) waited so long to put it out.”
One thing that didn’t change was the painstaking way that Scholz recorded “Walk On,” fussing over it like his previous records. He tinkered in his basement studio for three full years, trying to forge the multi-tracked sound he wanted. “There are no shortcuts for me in the studio. It’s always the same procedure — three steps forward, two steps back,” says Scholz, a former Polaroid engineer.
1978 Don’t Look Back
1986 Third Stage
1994 Walk On
1997 Greatest Hits (with 3 new songs)
2002 Corporate America
2013- Life, Love & Hope