Donald Thomas Scholz (born March 10, 1947) is an American rock musician, songwriter, inventor, engineer, and philanthropist, best known as the founder and only continuous original member of the band Boston.
Tom Scholz live with Boston June 13, 2008 Hinckley, Minnesota
|Birth name||Donald Thomas Scholz|
|Born||March 10, 1947|
|Genres||Classic rock, progressive rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, Producer, Songwriter, Inventor|
|Labels||Epic, CBS, MCA|
He came into the recording industry in an unusual way; as an MIT-trained engineer interested in music, he had designed his own recording studio in an apartment building basement to record his own music. The first Boston album was mostly recorded in this basement studio, often using devices he designed and invented himself. After the initial success of the band, he founded Scholz Research & Development, Inc. to develop and market his own inventions, many under the Rockman brand. He has been described by AllMusic as "a notoriously 'un-rock n' roll' figure who never enjoyed the limelight of being a performer," preferring to concentrate almost exclusively on music, production, and inventing new electronic equipment. In more recent years, he has spent much of his money and time working on charitable work.
Tom Scholz was born in Toledo, Ohio and raised in the suburb of Ottawa Hills. His father, Don Scholz, was a homebuilder who garnered considerable wealth from his designs of prefabricated luxury houses and founded Scholz Design, the forerunner of Scholz Homes Inc.
As a child, Scholz studied classical piano. He also had a penchant for tinkering with everything from go-karts to model airplanes and was always building or designing. A top student and a member of the varsity basketball team, he graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1965. Before his musical career, Scholz received both a bachelor's degree (1969) and a master's degree (1970) in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked for Polaroid Corporation as a senior product design engineer. Scholz would then reside in Boston.
Musical success, hiatus, and returnEdit
Scholz had a keen interest in music and began recording demos in his home studio while working at Polaroid. These demos attracted the interest of Epic Records, who signed Scholz and singer Brad Delp to a recording contract. Scholz believed his demos were good enough for release as Boston's debut album, but Epic told Scholz to re-record the demos. Most of the guitar, bass, and keyboards were performed by Scholz, although other players were involved sporadically throughout the recordings. Epic did not want the album recorded entirely in Scholz's home as Scholz had intended (the label suggested using a recording studio), but most of what ended up on the album had indeed been recorded by Scholz in his basement. The album was released in 1976 and became the biggest-selling debut album by any artist up to that time. Scholz's reputed perfectionism delayed the follow-up album, Don't Look Back, for two years. When it was finally released, he was unhappy with the result, claiming that it was released under pressure from the record company. Scholz then declared he would not release any more music unless he was completely satisfied with the final product. Consequently, Boston's third album, Third Stage, did not appear until 1986. That album was certified 4x platinum, and "Amanda" reached the top of the singles chart. Scholz and Brad Delp were the only members of the original group to appear on the album.
Scholz also started his own line of guitar effects under the name Rockman. Among many effects the Rockman modules performed, they also could reproduce the unique "Boston" guitar sound. The boxes were arranged in cabinets and played through an (analog) stereo signal path. The originals have today become collectors' items.
After the death of Brad Delp in March 2007, Delp's adult children organized a concert in his memory on August 19, 2007 at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston and invited the group to perform. Fran Cosmo was unable to sing due to a vocal injury, so Scholz invited guest singers to appear in his place, including Michael Sweet from Stryper and long time Boston fan Tommy DeCarlo who, after auditioning for Scholz, made a guest appearance on lead vocals. DeCarlo would later become the lead singer for Boston. Early Boston members Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan also appeared, joining Scholz on stage for the first time in over 25 years.
Scholz has been a vegetarian for over 30 years. He set up his own charitable foundation, the DTS Charitable Foundation in 1987 to help support such causes as animal protection, providing vegetarian resources, stopping world hunger, creating homeless shelters, food banks, animal rescues and sanctuaries, and advocating for children's rights. Through his work with his foundation, he has raised millions of dollars. PETA awarded him their Compassionate Action Award in 2013.
From his first marriage, Scholz has one son, Jeremy, who graduated from MIT in 2005 with a degree in mechanical engineering. When asked if his son likes his music, Scholz joked, "I think he does, but he's such a nice kid that he would pretend he did even if he didn't." At MIT, the younger Scholz made his own pedals for electric guitar and experimented with various sounds.
Scholz has remarked on the relationship with Boston's various record labels that "The [music] business would be a good thing, except that it's dominated by drug addicts and businessmen." In regard to the theme of Boston's Corporate America album, Scholz told the Sierra Club that "The thing that made me decide to break with previous albums and include an overtly political song was when I discovered that for the first time in American history big business owns the news media." He also stated that "The public has been sold a bill of goods about the free market being a panacea for mankind. Turning corporations loose and letting the profit motive run amok is not a prescription for a more livable world".
- "DTS Charitable Foundation". Dtscf.org. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- "Tom Scholz Honored by FARM | thirdstage.ca | News, Media and More About the band BOSTON". thirdstage.ca. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Kurutz, Steve. Tom Scholz - Allmusic
- Pakulski, Gary. "They used to live here: Toledo notables' childhood homes" - Toledo Blade - May 21, 2006
- Drozdowski, Ted. "Boston Legal" Archived September 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Boston Magazine, July 2006
- "Tom Scholz Interview - The Band Boston and the Sierra Club". Sierraclub.org. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- "Official Boston Website". Bandboston.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- White, Dave. "10 Great Debut Albums Significant firsts by classic rock artists". Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- Vladimir Bogdanov; Chris Woodstra; Stephen Thomas Erlewine (2002). All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul (3rd Edition). Backbeat Books. p. 132. ISBN 978-0879306533.
- Billboard listing of all Boston songs which charted from 1976 to 1994. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- Sholz, Tom. "Rockman: the Story" (PDF). Retrieved December 18, 2012.
-  Archived June 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- ":: Official BOSTON Website ::". Bandboston.com. Archived from the original on July 13, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- "PETA Honors Tom Scholz," The Boston Globe, 15 October 2013.
- "The Band Boston Fan Site - Mr. and Mrs. Tom Scholz were married January 11th 2007 in the Florida Keys". Gonnahitcharide.com. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 2, 2004. Retrieved October 29, 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)