Boston & Joan Jett play MGK's Big Gig on 7/27 at BB&T Pavilion. We're giving away free tickets all weekend, including a chance to meet the bands. The story behind, Tom Scholz, Boston's guitar maestro, rise to fame is an endearing one that took him from being an engineer at Polaroid to owning rock radio and packing arenas. MUSICAL ROOTS
Although he was classicly trained on piano, Scholz didn't pick up a guitar until he was 21 years old, when he was in his junior year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was inpsired by The Kinks, The Who, The Yardbirds and The Animals because they reminded him of classical masterminds like Tchaikovsky.
THIS ALBUM WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY POLAROID
One of Scholz's jobs at Polaroid was building a soundsystem for instant movies. It was that work that taught him how about the recording process. He decided to build his own recording studio in his basement and used his job at Polaroid to pay for the purchase of equipment. He worked at Polaroid all day and in his home studio all night. Once his studio was built he began making demo recordings in which he spent hours and hours recording, re-recording and overdubbing parts until they were perfect. At the time he was collaborating with keyboardist/drummer Jim Masdea ad vocalist, Brad Delp (who became Boston's full time vocalist). When the demos were finished he sent them to nearly every record company & received interest from Epic Records.
YOU DON'T NEED AN EXPENSIVE STUDIO
Epic Records was completely against Tom releasing the tapes that he recorded in his basement as Boston's official album but Tom held his ground and eventually used a combination of persuassion and trickery to make sure that his original basement recordings were the ones used on Boston's debut album. Using Tom's basement tapes proved to be extremely profitable for Epic and Boston as their 1976 debut was one of the best selling debut albums ever. It has sold over 17 million copies in the US and 25 million worldwide.
HEARING YOUR SONG ON THE RADIO WHILE YOU'RE AT WORK
For the first 3 weeks that 'More Than a Feeling' was being played on the radio, Tom had only been able to catch the end of the song. He would typically hear it when his friends at Polaroid would run up to him during the work day, telling him 'More Than a Feeling' was playing. By the time he got to the radio, he was only able to catch the fade out.
DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
Scholz never expected Boston's first single or album to be very successful so he held on to his job at Polaroid for quite a while. The job paid well and he wanted to keep his medical benefits. He was confident that his career would be one as an engineer, not the guitarist of a band that owned rock radio in the 70's and early 80's. When Boston launched their first tour, he took a leave of absence rather than quit. Although the tour was successful, he still returned to work at Polaroid because he expected success to be short lived. As his absences began to be more and more frequent both he and his superiors at Polaroid realized he had to quit.
Leaving Polaroid proved to be the right decision as Scholz and Boston enjoyed a successful career that has lasted for over 40 years and continues to this day.