Rock Around the World March, 1977   15

Scholz’s basement. Only the mixing and some vocal over-duos were done elsewhere. Homemade recordings rarely make it beyond an A&R man’s ‘Out’ file; the fact that this one went out virtually unchanged and exploded on the market is nothing short of miraculous, and gives some hint as to the recording prowess of Tom Scholz. Yet was he really satisfied with it?

“No, I’d change about 70°/o of the mixes…put on one song that was different. I wasn’t, y’know, overly annoyed with the album, but I was far from being elated by it. I thought it had to be compromised on account of time, an’ we got kicked out of our regular studio (Tom’s basement), and stuck in a real studio which put us on a money budget…”

It’s an interesting method of recording in this day and age of closed circuit playback, 24, 32, 48, 64! track recordings, and so forth; the relaxation of recording at one’s own pace in familiar surroundings is a luxury only the top (read that as $$$) bands can afford. This, I believe becomes important when a band reaches the road. Think of it like this: there are two separate and distinct halves to a band—the band that records, and the band that tours. It is in the studio that the various band members learn about each other, discover when someone’s liable to change key and tempo and why, in short, become an integral part of their little enclosed machine. In the days of old, when bands were generally in the studio together, the magic flowed. Too often today, a band member comes to a session only to find out that he’s just going to play his part to an already recorded backtrack. There’s no flow, just tape hiss. When a band like that gets on the road, it takes a while to sort out who’s doing what, when, where and why; two weeks of strict rehearsals right before a tour isn’t a valid substitute.

Left to right: Fran, Brad, Tom & Barr); center: Sib

For Boston, Tom Scholz’s basement became both a studio and college, wherein the guys learned what they were putting on tape while working it out together in the studio. This cohesiveness would prove a valuable asset when the tour arrived. They were ready, mentally with each other, and more than ready musically. The early date shakiness was due, of course, to a collective wariness of playing a bunch of basement tapes to thousands of fans/consumers/music lovers, all of a sudden.

When things happen as quickly as they have with Boston, it becomes difficult to keep hold of some self-reference point. Toffler refers to this as a form of ‘future shock’, wherein a person’s environment can and will be both suddenly and consistently yanked out from under him; sanity, Toffler believes, belongs to those who will be able to cope with sudden and drastic change. Boston is perhaps a good test tube for those theories; in the space of some fifteen months overall, Tom Scholz, Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, Fran Sheehan and Sib Hashian have gone from not being able to scrape up beer money among themselves after a practice to a double-platinum album, national and international fame, and a blurred ride through time. Maintaining one’s own personal center of self is necessary in rock if one is to survive.

Survivaldoesn’t seem to be a concern for this band though; as with everything else, Boston’s success has been taken in stride. The final word here rests with Brad: “Everything’s changed so much in the last five months, and it’s just so ridiculous, that I know I haven’t changed in the last five months, so what’s the sense of thinking anyone else in the band has? The only difference is that a lot more people know us, an’ that’s nice.”

—Jim Kozlowski

Boston (top row) by Duana leMay   center by Ron Pownoll   Boston (bottom) by Ron Pownoll