Tom Scholz Releases Boston's Last Recordings with Brad Delp, 'Life, Love & Hope,' an Album 11 Years in the Making
Is this some of the very last stuff you worked on with him?
Well, yes, two of them are. We made some changes to the song “Someone” in 2002. And we started working on “Sail Away” in 2003. We did the bulk of it, then I made some arrangement changes, and we went back and did some more work on it in 2005. And the other song with Brad, “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love,” was begun either in late 2000 or early 2001. That one we worked on for 11 years.
So with Brad gone now, does that mean that there can’t be another Boston album after this?
No, not at all. Brad sings on three of the songs on this album, but other people sang the other eight.
What are your thoughts on why Seventies rock is so enduring? How do you account for it?
I don’t know. I don’t think anybody expected it to be. But I gotta tell you, it was some of the best rock and roll ever. I look at the various decades, and the Seventies really had it. It could be argued that it started in the late Sixties, but a lot of those bands hit their high point in the Seventies.
So do you lament the demise of the rock album as an art form?
I do, and the demise of the music business in general. It’s become such a bad bet economically that I think most artists can’t afford to do a full-production rock album these days. It was a major decision for me to do another one, in terms of time and money. I thought,
You’re going to spend years of your life working on this, and what for? There’s no more music business as I knew it anymore. But I thought, Well, it’s back to a hobby again. [laughs] That’s how it started out for me, so now I guess I’m back to that.
What was it like for you in 1976, when this hobby of yours started selling millions and millions of records?
I was incredulous. After I finished the album, I went back to work at my day job at Polaroid. I never expected anything to happen with the album. I was told nothing would happen by so-called experts in the music business. They said that disco was the coming thing and my album was just a long shot.
Really, all I was hoping was that some of my songs would get on the radio in the Boston area and maybe I could go out and play a few gigs. So you can imagine what it was like when the draftsmen and engineers at Polaroid started running into my office yelling, “Your song is on the radio! Your song is on the radio!”
Did it kinda fuck with your head when it all went massive?
Not really, because I was 29—almost 30—at the time when that happened. So I was pretty settled in. I was a working stiff. It wasn’t like some kid star who doesn’t know which end is up. So I just felt like, Well, cool!
Photo: Trent Bell