Boston mainman Tom Scholz has recalled how he refused to quit his job as his 1976 Boston album took off – because he didn't think it was "that great."
And when he finally decided to end his career as an engineer with the Polaroid corporation, his boss warned him that making a career in music was a “one in a million shot.”
In a rare interview to camera, below, Scholz recalls how his interest in engineering led towards his experimentation with music. He says: “For Polaroid I built a sound system for instant movies, and that’s where I learned how tape recording works. I started buying time in studios but I never came out with what I was looking for. I decided, if I was going to have things sound the way I imagined them, I was going to have to do it myself.”
He built his own studio, and that’s where he recorded the demos for his first album. He admits he didn’t expect success, but received three reposes from interested record labels.
When the time came to record the record itself, Scholz narrowly avoided cutting a bad deal with a producer. He remembers: “He said, ‘Come to LA and we’ll do this the right way.’ I was like, ‘Look, it has to be done this way if I’m to get these sound again.’ He says, ‘You make the master here in your basement without me. We’ll mix it in LA and I’ll keep the label off your back.’
“Just as I was about to say, ‘Great,’ he says, ‘And we’ll split producers’ royalties.’ Thank God I was slow with that answer!”
Scholz says the first Boston concert was received in silence by a bewildered crowd. But the second, which took place after More Than A Feeling had been released as a single, caused such a reaction that he couldn’t head himself play. The third event resulted in a riot. “The promoter was arrested,” the guitarist recalls. “It was great!”
By the time the album was a hit, one boss at Polaroid asked him: “Don’t you think you ought to quit?” But he says: “I didn’t really trust it.” His thinking was: “People seemed to like it – but I’m not sure it’s that great.”
When the time came to leave the firm, another boss warned him against making the move, citing the one-in-a-million argument. Three years later the pair met in an elevator, and Scholz told him: “Somebody’s got to be the one.”
Bostone released sixth album Life, Love & Hope last year.