BOSTON Leader Tom Scholz - "I Don’t Listen To Any Other Music – Not Since About 1974"

November 6, 2013, 3 years ago

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Joe Bosso from spoke with legendary BOSTON leader Tom Scholz about numerous topics surrounding they band's long-awaited new album, Life, Love & Hope. Here are a few excerpts from the chat: I don’t know if you have a “process” per se, but take me through the writing of Heaven On Earth – how it came to you, what popped into your head first, and how long it took to ultimately record.

Scholz: “It was fairly typical. I had an idea for a little piece of a lick. I started playing the lick, and I heard where it was supposed to go, but as I tried to play it I realized that it was difficult to play because the chord formations required an open D for part of the lick. I developed the lick and the chord changes first, which is what I usually do. I’ll make a rough recording – I won’t even call it a demo, because it’s just a crude recording. I always use a cassette player; I have thousands of hours on cassettes of crude ideas. [Laughs] Then I’ll sing along to it, play along to it and find a melody that I like. Finally, I’ll write lyrics once I think I have a melody that works with it. That’s sort of the basic start, but in reality I’ll then go and actually begin a recording. I don’t ever make a demo – I just begin a recording. For instance, in that one, I had an idea for a song, I put it down, and it turned out to be all wrong. [Laughs] Then I’ll go and change the bridge, the chorus, and I’ll double the length of the synth; I’ll go, ‘Maybe an instrumental would be good here…’ It’s like three steps forward and two steps back, only it’s more like three steps forward and two point nine steps back. [Laughs] It’s a very slow process. That one took about six months over the course of about three and a half years. That’s pretty typical.” What do you think when you read interviews with bands who say, “We knocked that song out in 20 minutes”? Are you envious, or do you say, “That’s just not my way”?

Scholz: “It’s just different. Yeah, that would be nice, but for me, things come a lot more slowly and with a lot more work. I'm sort of used to it. It’s kind of been my life for everything I’ve done. When I was in school, I basically just worked from the moment I got up to when I went to bed. Mostly I didn’t go to class – because I didn’t have time to go to class! [Laughs] I was hitting the books and doing problem sets and trying to figure it all out.” You’re one of a handful of guitarists who has such a recognizable sound that people know who it is within seconds. What’s your take on other such players like The Edge (U2) or Andy Summers (THE POLICE)? Players who also utilize guitar effects in a very unique ways…

Scholz: “I have to confess: I don’t know who they are. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t listen to any other music – not since about 1974. The only times when I’ll hear other music will be at the ice skating rink or the gym – you know, if I go out and somebody’s playing something. I don’t listen to the radio in the car, and I do that because I don’t want to be influenced. I do hear a little bit here and there – I know what modern rock and current pop sounds like because I’m exposed to it a little bit. The closest I can come to answering that question is, I can probably tell you when it’s an old JEFF BECK song or early LED ZEPPELIN – I can recognize Jimmy Page. I can tell you that I can always recognize a Boston song, even if it’s in a noisy place. I can hear that it’s Boston even before I know what song it is. If a Boston song comes on in a club or somewhere, I notice that it’s Boston, and the second thing I notice is what song it is.”


Check out the first single 'Heaven On Earth' below:

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