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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Boston 30th anniversary remaster ... WOW!

    Has it really been 30 years?!

    It's been ages since I last broke open Boston's first two albums, but I read that head honcho Tom Scholz had recently gone back to the studio to remaster those albums. I got them a couple of weeks ago, and I must say that these CDs are worth a good listen even if you've already played them to death and then some.

    The remasters reveal a lot of details that I never noticed before. The layering between the different instruments is noticeably more distinct, while the bass guitar in particular now really stands out much clearer than I remember. The center image also seems to be more pronounced than I remember, and the overall sound in general is cleaner than the previous CD version I've heard. I'll now need to dig up my old vinyl copy when I visit my parents next week so I can do a comparison.

    Both albums come with brand new liner notes that tell you exactly who played what on every song. One thing that immediately jumps out is that Boston was not really a band, so much as Tom Scholz's one-man studio project. Apparently, the rest of the band was more of a front since Scholz correctly guessed that the record companies would have no interest in signing a one-man band. Even after Epic signed Boston, the band as a unit was nothing more than a sham. While the other band members got shuttled off to an L.A. studio with one of Epic's producers, Tom Scholz stayed behind and did most of the actual recording in his basement studio. The other band members were just doing jam sessions in that L.A. studio to fool the record company execs! Only one song actually got recorded by the full band.

    I must say though that Scholz was ahead of his time, for better or worse. He built a lot of the guitar effects and processing equipment himself, and would later start up his own company marketing effect units for musicians. The liner notes even point out that Kurt Cobain lifted the riff for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from "More Than A Feeling"!
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  2. #2
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Is it true that he (Scholz) worked for NASA or had access to some of their equipment???

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    That's interesting info. Barry Goodrow put out a solo album that had a minor hit. I'm not sure if Scholz played on it but the one song had that Boston flavor. And I don't remember who but one or some Boston members were in Orion The Hunter which had the song So You Ran.

    You know, if Boston ever toured, I don't remember them coming through the Midwest.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info wooch, I'm gonna get them in my collection, fast. What I remember
    about scholz is he left MIT, went to kodack camara, invented something huge
    for them, got bored again, quit (after making a bundle on the rights) started BOSTON
    invented a kind of effects box called rockton, patented it, keep it a secret for the
    first two lp's, then sold the rights to dunlevy(made a bigger bundle). That design is
    still used today for guitar and keyboard effects/reverb, all that tone change junk.
    The guy was the einstein of the recording studio. Anyway, his song writing,
    producing, were way ahead of anyone, and was not even 25 yet. If I recall that
    first lp cost less than 25k to get out. What a bargin for epic. Those remasters
    may well both go gold (500k) each. I to always thought the bass and percussion
    were lacking, but man that voice/guitar/keyboard, and sound. Unbelivable, for 1976
    or now for that matter. Thanks again for the heads up.

    Rock Hard, Rock Free (Rob Halford)

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    Is it true that he (Scholz) worked for NASA or had access to some of their equipment???
    Scholz has a master's degree from MIT and worked in development for Polaroid. He apparently holds several patents, and a lot of the guitar and chorus effects that you hear on Boston's albums are generated through devices that he invented. While the "band" was on hiatus after Don't Look Back, Scholz's start-up company was creating stuff like the Rockman portable guitar amp which allowed musicians to patch electric guitars into a pair of headphones or into a home stereo -- basically to create the Boston guitar sound through a small battery-powered unit that anyone could wear on their belt. Most of the guys I knew who played in bands in college owned one of those devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by likeitloud
    Thanks for the info wooch, I'm gonna get them in my collection, fast. What I rememberabout scholz is he left MIT, went to kodack camara, invented something huge for them, got bored again, quit (after making a bundle on the rights) started BOSTON
    invented a kind of effects box called rockton, patented it, keep it a secret for the
    first two lp's, then sold the rights to dunlevy(made a bigger bundle). That design is
    still used today for guitar and keyboard effects/reverb, all that tone change junk.
    The guy was the einstein of the recording studio. Anyway, his song writing,
    producing, were way ahead of anyone, and was not even 25 yet. If I recall that
    first lp cost less than 25k to get out. What a bargin for epic. Those remasters
    may well both go gold (500k) each. I to always thought the bass and percussion
    were lacking, but man that voice/guitar/keyboard, and sound. Unbelivable, for 1976
    or now for that matter. Thanks again for the heads up.
    You're welcome! These remasters are impressive with revealing new details that I never noticed before. The definition on the bass guitar and the drums are noticeably improved, and the overall sound on the remaster is fuller. The vocals also sound less prominent than I recall from before.

    Scholz is one of the more enigmatic guys on the rock scene. For one thing, I don't know anyone else who's had as much success he has as both a musician and an electrical engineer! For guys I knew who played guitar and had to live in crowded apartment buildings, the Rockman headphone guitar amp was a godsend, because they could practice at all hours without disturbing their neighbors and/or roommates. The Rockman products are still in production today, so obviously Scholz was onto something.

    The liner notes are pretty revealing in the degree to which Boston's debut album were basically rerecorded versions of Tom Scholz's original demo tapes, in which in he played most of the instruments himself. It's pretty funny how the record company insisted that Boston rerecord the demos as a full band, but Scholz had gotten so used to laying down the tracks one at a time in his basement studio that he couldn't record with the band! So, the rest of the band did their dog-and-pony show in the studio with Epic's producer, while Scholz did the heavy lifting in his basement. The song "Rock & Roll Band" apparently was total fiction because they never really toured as a band until after the album came out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Peabody
    That's interesting info. Barry Goodrow put out a solo album that had a minor hit. I'm not sure if Scholz played on it but the one song had that Boston flavor. And I don't remember who but one or some Boston members were in Orion The Hunter which had the song So You Ran.

    You know, if Boston ever toured, I don't remember them coming through the Midwest.
    I think Barry Goudreau's first album featured everybody from Boston, except Tom Scholz. Apparently, Scholz is a notorious perfectionist and will spend months at a time recording and rerecording a particular passage, while the other band members just wanted to get out and play. Scholz later on got sued by both Epic and Goudreau because he was taking so long to get Boston's third album together. By the time, Third Stage came out only lead singer Brad Delp remained from the original lineup.

    I definitely remember Boston touring the west coast, but they were never a club and bar band that sleeps in their cars like in "Rock & Roll Band." I've read that they were not a very good live act, which is not surprising considering how of their sound is defined by one guy.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 07-08-2006 at 10:46 AM.
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    I actually may pick this up. I know people knock over-produced bands all the time. I happen to think there is a sort of orchestral artistry (pulled that right outta my...) that went into the Boston albums. Of course, I'm a big fan of Def Leppard's Hysteria and Pyromania as well. Rush also produces their albums for sonic perfection. The important thing is that the vibe remains intact, that you still actually hear the heart beating under the production.
    Even the previous release of Boston sounded great.

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    Just more trivia. Tom Scholtz's Rockman (Rockbox?) effects can be heard on a couple of the biggest albums from Dire Straits (Money for Nothing from Brothers in Arms), Def Leppard's Hysteria and Adrenalize albums, and ZZ Top's Eliminator and Afterburner.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular likeitloud's Avatar
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    The history on that guy is interesting, his obsession with the production of their LP's
    is legendary. I think there was like a 5 year gap between Don't Look Back(Killer
    harmonies and and a great solo) and Third Stage). After that, he went totally nutso
    in the studio, and I moved onto other stuff. I've seen BOSTON, as recently as 2003,
    and they were VERY good. Delp lost the ability to hit those screeching highs and they
    have a new guy who sounds just like him. Delp does do back up vocals. All the LP's
    after THIRD STAGE has this combo, I believe. Anyway, great history on one of the
    guys who, 1 Put the final nail in disco, 2 Brought soloing (with page) back into
    the scene(a big thanks) 3, and recorded THE greatest classic rock LP ever.
    (Sorry, journey, reo, styx, foreigner, etc) These threads were great, thanks for the
    info. People forget about this stuff, and it's good for a reminder, once in awhile.
    Peace

  9. #9
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    I've had the Gold Remastered Boston from MasterSound and its so good,the detail of stuff is great.I belive they use the first gen master tapes.
    Look & Listen

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Great stuff. I had known that Scholtz was the recording engineer behind the band, and that most of it was recorded in his basement. But I didn't know that the rest of the band was a scam. That explains why they blew chunks back when I saw them in the 80's.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  11. #11
    Dubgazer -Jar-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The liner notes even point out that Kurt Cobain lifted the riff for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from "More Than A Feeling"!
    This is something that was noticed almost immedately. Also, the riff for "Come As You Are" was lifted from Killing Joke's "The 80's"

    It's hard to me to blame Kurt for "stealing" the main riff from the song "More Than a Feeling" - by the early 90's pretty much that whole Boston debut album was deeply ingrained in every rock music fan's consciousness by "classic rock radio"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    You know, if Boston ever toured, I don't remember them coming through the Midwest.
    They did tour.

    It was when I was in the Navy in '87; I had tickets and got screwed out of getting to go (won't go into detail as to how, but it really was dirty pool). One of my friends got me a concert T-shirt though...I wore it one time and it got stolen out of my laundry.

    Ahhh...memories...

    My friends said the concert was kinda lame

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The liner notes even point out that Kurt Cobain lifted the riff for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from "More Than A Feeling"!
    Hhmmm...seems a bit of a stretch. I'll have to go home pull them out (the CDs).

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    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Those songs are VERY similar considering the same similar guitar chord progression is being used. Not only that, but the guitar strumming pattern is similar too and if you played both songs in the same key it would fool most people. It's kinda like how the song RHIANNON by Fleetwood Mac has the same melody line as the intro to Lynyrd Skynyrd's TUESDAYS GONE, but played in a different rythym and that same melody line is the classic ODE TO JOY. Everyone steals from everyone.

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    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    So tonight I picked up both the remastered first album as well as DON'T LOOK BACK, which has also been remastered and both are quite good. Here are some of the things I noticed immediately....

    The bass is far tighter and more pronounced and is one of the first things most will notice. The vocals also seem far cleaner and are pulled away more from the instruments enabling more discernment. The imaging overall is far improved with guitars and harmonies and the overall 'punch' seems to be restored. The mix doesn't sound flat or compressed at all, which is one of the biggest problems with so many CD's that are poorly mixed or just older and suffer.

  16. #16
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Boston, eh? Another one of those groups whose CD's I've purchased but never listen to. Maybe I'll have to get this remaster to try and change that.
    As for Teen Spirit and More Than A Feeling - that's the first time I've heard that, - I think More Than a Feeling is a G,C,Em,D progression versus - F, Bb, G#, C# or something like that. Close?
    The strumming pattern is somewhat similar.

    No matter...pretty sure Tom Scholz would lick Kurt Cobain in a guitar duel.

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    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Kexodusc....you are correct about the chord progression, which is nearly identical except it's in a different key. I don't know if the remaster is necessarily going to turn you into a fan, but it's certainly the best way to hear it....and perhaps better appreciate it.

  18. #18
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    Kexodusc....you are correct about the chord progression, which is nearly identical except it's in a different key. I don't know if the remaster is necessarily going to turn you into a fan, but it's certainly the best way to hear it....and perhaps better appreciate it.
    Cool. I pulled that guess off air guitaring in my office. I don't play Nirvana songs as a rule -teach begginer guitar lessons at a high-school and you'll know why, but in my last band our bass player insisted we do Boston covers - and Styx, but let's not go there.

    So what? Cobain takes some riffs, drops them a step or two, cranks up the overdrive and becomes a guitar hero? Geez, I could that.

    I'm pretty sure Boston wasn't the first one to pull that one off.

    Come to think of it Fine Young Cannibals - She Drives Me Crazy sounds very similar too, I'm guessing it's also a I-IV-bIII-bVI. Maybe Nirvana ripped off the FYC?

  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    A guy at work here just told me "Louie Louie" (I think that's how it's spelled) is the same too.
    There - Boston couldn't have been the first to pull that one off.
    Pretty sure most rythm/chord prog combos have been long since used up by now. Not sure what this fun little exercise accomlished for me, but I'm gonna keep thinking of songs that sound the same..Dylan must have at least one.

  20. #20
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    A guy at work here just told me "Louie Louie" (I think that's how it's spelled) is the same too.
    There - Boston couldn't have been the first to pull that one off.
    Pretty sure most rythm/chord prog combos have been long since used up by now. Not sure what this fun little exercise accomlished for me, but I'm gonna keep thinking of songs that sound the same..Dylan must have at least one.
    Given that we're talking Rock-n-Roll here, I think its safe to say that there has been a fair amount of 'lifting' going on for decades. Even Bluze was guilty of rampant 'borrowing' decades ago (still is), and jazz too. Boston's brand of R-n-R isn't that innovative anyway. Sholtz was repeating himself after the second album.

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