Tom Scholz Talks Boston’s ‘Life, Love & Hope’
Boston‘s new album, ‘Life, Love & Hope,’ features a blend of the band’s classic sound with some new elements — including some rapping and a rare lead vocal from leader Tom Scholz. But according to Scholz, he was neither trying to recapture the past nor fit in with the present.
“I don’t start out the session by putting on the first Boston album and then thinking, ‘All right, I need to write songs and arrange things this way,'” Scholz explained during a conversation with Classic Rock Revisited. “I don’t do that. I just work on ideas that I have. I sort of just do what I like. The only measuring stick I have to go by is to create the music the way I want to hear it. It may sound a little egocentric, or like a bad idea, but that is what got me the chance to make the first Boston album to start with.”
Describing the throwback sound of tracks like ‘Heaven on Earth’ as “not an intentional thing,” Scholz continued, “I think it happened on a few of these songs. On the other hand, I took some pretty big chances with this album and went out on a limb and experimented with some things. I think you have to do that. I don’t think you can keep on trying to repeat the same thing, over and over. By definition, if you do that then it is not art.”
One of those limbs was ‘Love Got Away,’ the song Scholz sings. “I don’t by any means consider myself to be in the same league with any of the other singers on this album,” he explained. “That particular song … is a very personal song, and it is basically autobiographical and the only way I could get that feeling and the emotional reaction that I was looking for with that song was if I sang it myself. In this case it is more important that the emotional aspect be highlighted over any technical excellence of the vocals. I am sorry. For over 30 years I have had other people sing my songs, and I have to show it to them and I have to listen to them, so this time you are going to have to listen to me.”
Asked if the ‘Life, Love & Hope’ track ‘Sail Away’ was inspired by the government’s response to recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Scholz confirmed that it is. “This song was my commentary on that entire situation,” he nodded. “My hope was that it would at least leave you with a glimmer of hope with the thought of sailing away to a better place in your mind, as well as maybe in the real actual physical world.” Of the song’s sound, he marveled, “Who would have ever though there would be a rap against some heavy helicopter sound on a Boston album? It was what was called for regarding the subject of the song. I love that song. I like the seriousness of it and the heaviness of it. The ‘sail away’ part comes along and gives you a ray of hope that there is a better world out there.”