Comment permalink

The Boston Brand

I don't know to what extent Bostonians pay attention to Tom Scholz these days. Can tell you this much, though, writing from Seattle: Tom Scholz and Brad Delp have been a big part of the Boston city "Brand." My impression of the city, having never been there?, is that if you took New York, made it brainier and less self-assertive, that you'd get the city of Boston. If New York is Jim Kirk, Boston is Jean-Luc Picard. We might not leave as many smokin' dead Romulan bodies floating through the local asteroid belt, but at the end of the stardate we'll have a more robust Captain's Log to file. ................... Scholz and Delp have typified the Boston braininess.


I mean, you have to picture the year 1975, and you being a cigar-chompin' studio exec and all, looking for The Next Big Thing. Maybe once every year or two, if you're lucky, you hit a big act. Here comes this tall, goofy-looking, banana-munching hippie-ten-years-late ... and he plugs a tape into your office's sound system? And out of the speakers comes what -- another kludgy Rollin' On The River riff? Or a heavily-distorted three chords' worth of heavy metal crunched out in somebody's garage? No, the music softly crescendoes into More Than A Feeling, a virtuoso masterpiece that will eventually revolutionize arena rock. You could have sworn he stuck a basement tape in that machine. Why are you hearing ... the state of the art, where the art will be 20 years from now? This stuff doesn't need to be remastered; it doesn't need to be polished; it doesn't need to be anything, other than put on the market to sell 10 million copies right out of the box. That studio exec, EVERY studio exec, loathed the very thought of a man who didn't need their help. One after another sent Scholz and his "weak" music packing. Picture 40+ executives ALL telling you that in their best professional judgment, the public didn't want what Boston was selling. Who was the genius who listened to Long Time, and said, sorry, has potential, but you need to go improve it? All of them were. The first few times, I have no doubt that Scholz politely asked, "Improve it like, how?" I'd have loved to have seen the responses... As Woody famously told Wesley, sort of: Boston man wanna win first, and get the ego stroked, second. LA music mogul gettin' the ego on first, and wantin' win second. Well, there go a million or thirty albums, Brainiac. Who knows what the public wants? Even the public doesn't know. One thing is for sure: you were right about that Boston band. They were more trouble than they were worth. ............................. Have you ever noticed that there are no female Eddie Van Halens? Ever noticed that there are no female Bobby Fischers? (No, Judit Polgar doesn't count; she's a well-balanced human being, and she doesn't own world chess.) Ever noticed that society is always trying to push females into research science and math, because there are never enough of them? It takes a certain kind of human being to sit in his bedroom, alone, for fifteen years, and become as good at one stupid little thing as Eddie Van Halen and Bobby Fischer were. The kind of human being who dreams about screaming fans, and adulation, and praise, and beer, and chicks.  (Yes, Bobby too, him more than anybody.)  Most of those kind of guys are stuck on 14 years old; it is their egoes that drive their obsession with greatness. Rock and roll guitar players were, at some point (probably at every point) overgrown 14-year-old boys. They want what 14-year-old boys want and they behave like 14-year-old boys do. Girls don't want that, don't think that and don't behave like that. ................... Tom Scholz is what happens when you mix the tonic of intelligence, rather than the soda pop of testosterone, into the syrup of heavy rock and roll. Boston's music has an interesting flavor to it. It's phasers, rather than photon torpedoes. Keep rockin', Tom, and keep rootin' Red Sox, Brad. The good guys win in the end. BABVA, jemanji