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Tom Scholz's (Boston) Bass Playing

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by eViL cAkE, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. eViL cAkE

    eViL cAkE Guest

    Sep 6, 2001
    Just East of Dallas
    Due to the success of my thread on Jimi Hendrix's bass playing, I decided to start a new thread, singing the praises of yet another musician who often played bass, but isn't particularly known for it. Tom Schulz of Boston.

    From what I understand, (even though he just plays lead electric guitar and some keyboards live) he does everthing except sing and play drums in the studio. As a bass player, I can tell that he definately took the time to listen to a lot of great bassists to figure out how we think, and how we go about writing a line. And it sounds to me that he did an equally good job, examining keyboard stylings, even though I'm not a keyboardist, and really couldn't knit pick for very long about that.

    The equality with which he treats all the instruments probably stims from the fact that he learned them all at approximately the same time. From what I've read, he's real brainy with a masters in engineering or something similar to that from MIT, and was basically just fasinated by the logic and organization of music, (like many mathmatically inclined individuals are), and got into it as a hobby.

    Anyway, his formidable command of all these instruments allowed him to create some truly "orchestral" sounding textures in the studio, with many Boston songs having layered lead and rhythm electric guitar, six string acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, bass, Hammond organ, and Clavinet tracks.

    I don't know about ya'll, but this kind of musicianship makes me want to practise more. Here's this guy that plays bass probably as well as I do, but he's not trying hard at all.

    See ya'll later.
  2. "More than a feeling" features some nice use of drop-D tuning - which must have been pretty unusual back in 1976.
  3. sgraham


    Aug 30, 2000
    Tyler, TX
    I always thought that the bass line to "Peace of
    Mind" was really interesting. But when I think of
    Boston bass parts I always go back to the bouncing
    quarter notes on "Don't Look Back" and "Long Time".
    Simple, yet very effective.

    I saw an old Guitar Player interview with Scholz
    (his first - in '77 I think) that said bass was
    actually his first instrument, then organ, then
    he finally came around to guitar. Incredible, huh?
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think Tom Scholtz recorded the bass parts on either of the first two Boston albums, did he? I was under the impression that it was Fran Sheehan. I know Scholtz had to do a lot of everything on the "Third Stage" album because by the time that it was completed everyone had left except Scholtz and Brad Delp.
  5. I believe Fran Sheehan played bass on the first two records. Scholtz took over with the third, because he and Brad Delp were the only two members left. Also, Scholtz played drums on that album, too.

    If you want to start a thread about guitarists who play bass and aren't particularly known for it, why not talk about Keith Richards and Ron Wood? Both have been laying down bass lines on Stones records for years, usually because Wyman wasn't in the studio when the boys started putting something together. For example, Wood (a GREAT bassist, by the way; listen to Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells A Story album to hear some fine work) plays bass on "Emotional Rescue," while Richards did "Sympathy For The Devil." Both have done dozens more; Wyman often lamented realizing every time a new Stones record came out that he was only on 70% of the tracks.
  6. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Remember that Ron Wood did a stint with The Jeff Beck Group as the bassist.
  7. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    Sholz's bass playing is good indeed.

    Even though their mega-hit "Amanda" from their "Third Stage" album is deemed by most to be overly syrupy, MOR ether, it features some very kinetic basslines that never get in the way of the song.

    (In case you haven't already guessed, I actually rather like that song.)

    I wonder who's using the Rockman these days? Remember those?
  8. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I still have a Rockman, haven't used it in years. I might have to dig it out and see if it still works...
  9. I still have my Bass Rockman...the bass version was awful, with one of the worst distortion settings ever. A shame, because the guitar Rockmans sounded pretty good (albeit just like Boston).
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I was just thinking the same thing. I was listening to my Boston album Sunday. I love the bass playing in "Feeling Satisfied". It's like a standard rock n roll line but kicked all the way up to 11.
  11. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    According to a Musician Mag article at the time of "Third Stage", Tom claims that on the first two albums, the band is pictured along with who plays what, but it was him playing just about everything on the album. Brad Delp stacked all the vocals. Then they went out and got people who could play & sing the parts. That was a part of the nasty lawsuit war with the other band members several years back, when several ex-band members felt like they were getting shafted on royalties, Tom pointed out in the article that they didn't actually play on the majority of the tracks. It's hard to argue the point when you listen to Third Stage against the first two: they sound just alike. I've got that mag somewhere in the basement, I'll try to find it. He was definently a control-freak, and was very demanding and critical of their live sound. When I saw them, it sounded just like someone playing a cd, probably the best arena sound I've heard, but they focused so much on the mix quality to the point where the music wasn't loud enough in some places to be heard over the crowd.
  12. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Jim Masdea is the drummer on Third Stage, and was actually Tom's first drummer, replaced by Sib Hashian in 1975.
  13. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Well, that explains a hell of a lot....like who sings high enough to do high harmonies over Brad Delp?

    Did anyone ever hear the only album by a band called "Zen The Archer"? Barry Goodreau was in the band and they had a guy that sounded a LOT like Brad Delp. The stuff sounded like Boston....with no Scholtz. I had to wonder if it wasn't Boston doing something wierd because of contractual problems.
  14. sgraham


    Aug 30, 2000
    Tyler, TX
    Barry Goodreau's 1984 project was "Orion the

    BTW, I saw Boston headline the 1987 Texas Jam
    in Dallas (I think they also headlined one of the first
    ones in '78 or '79 with the original lineup). David
    Sikes played bass. They sounded great- just like
    the albums- but I got a kick out of Scholz's stage
    "attire". For such a "perfectionist"- he looked pretty
    goofy: tank top, 70's gym shorts, striped tube
    socks (pulled all the way up!), Red Sox cap,
    etc. Not that I care about these things much;
    it was just funny 'cause it was the late 80's when
    everybody was trying to look "cool". :D

    Another funny thing about that show: after playing
    a lot of the old hits from the first 2 albums, Delp
    announced that they were gonna do "our new
    album, 'Third Stage', IN ITS ENTIREITY!" (like it
    was "Tommy" , "Sgt. Pepper", or "The Wall" or
    something) People left the Cotton Bowl in droves. One guy yelled out, "Man, they didn't even
    do 'Smokin'!". Too funny........
  15. That name does sound familiar. But I am almost positive Scholz played drums on "Amanda," which is why I assumed he played on the whole album.

    I still think the band played on the first two records. The drumming and bass playing is noticeably different to me, but that may be just the production values. I assume Sheehan played something though; he did manage to cop a by-line on "Cool The Engines."

    I have also read interviews where Scholz stated that Goudreau played lead guitar on certain solos, like parts of "Long Time."

    Barry Goudreau, besides being with Orion, put out a solo album in 1979 or so, featuring ALL of Boston...except Scholz.
  16. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    [zombies rising...]

    According to Wikipedia (sic): Tom Scholz played bass on all the songs on the self-titled 'Boston' album except for

    Fran Sheehan – bass guitar on "Foreplay" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight"

    IIRC, I read somewhere that Scholz basically learned his bass playing style from listening to Ronnie Wood's lines on Jeff Beck's album 'Truth'.
  17. Great album to learn bass from. Ronnie is a fantastic bass player!
    lo-freq likes this.

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