Having taken 19 years to record just four albums, Boston isn't exactly the fastest-moving band in rock 'n' roll. But as Tom Scholz explains, it really isn't the band's fault that its current tour started almost a year after the release of "Walk On."
"We had actually planned to go out last spring," he says, over the phone from a tour stop in Rochester, N.Y. "We had planned on MCA releasing 'Walk On' in late winter of last year. But for some reason, which only they could explain to you, they released it in June. That trashed our spring tour plans.
"Then we decided we would go out in the fall, but our management convinced us that we should wait till the spring. So here we are."
Fortunately, Scholz and his crew were able to make the most of that down time. Naturally, a lot of the time went into rehearsals, with the end result being that this is the best version of Boston Scholz has ever assembled.
"We're actually able to do whatever we want to musically onstage," he says. "It's a position I've never been in before. Basically, if I can think of something to do for a live arrangement, the band is capable of doing it. Plus we have both the singers with us again. Fran [Cosmo] and Brad [Delp] sing so well together. They may be the only true ego-free singers in the rock 'n' roll business. They trade off parts, they sing harmonies, and they have a great time doing it."
Of course, Scholz also spent some time tinkering with the band's gear. "We built a very special Hammond organ for this tour, so that I could have the freedom to do the wild Hammond stuff that appears on the 'Walk On' album," he says. "It is definitely the world's largest Hammond. It's like a foot and a half longer than a regular one."
Apart from its size, Scholz says the main difference between this and other Hammond organs is that it has all these bizarre capabilities. "I ended up with about five or six of my technical mechanical friends back in Boston, keeping them up all night with the drills and soldering irons in hand, trying to finish this thing in time to get it to the first show."
Although Scholz, an MIT grad who worked at Polaroid before devoting himself to music, clearly enjoys the gear-head aspect of designing and rebuilding equipment, he rarely undertakes these projects just for fun.
"Building this stuff uses up an awful lot of your time," he admits. "When you take a look at the stage, you'll realize the enormity of the task. There is a mountainous amount of stuff.
"Of course, I've been at it for a few years. When I think about what I had to use 15 years ago or 20 years ago when I was just starting out, man, I never could have produced this kind of sound if I hadn't had the time to put into the technical end of it."
To hear excerpts from the Boston album "Walk On," call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6115 after you hear the greeting.
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion
Tickets: Lawn only, $20
Call: (410) 481-6500 for tickets, (410) 730-2424 for information