With the recent release of Boston’s “Corporate America” (Artemis Records), the grand total of studio albums from band visionary Tom Scholz now stands at a whopping five in just over 26 years. Perhaps Scholz and the term prolific may seem incongruous; however, the MIT graduate turned studio wizard says that writer’s block has never been a barrier.
“My problem is I have way too many ideas and I cannot resist trying them,” says Scholz. “The result is 90% of what I do in the studio is never heard by the public and I have very large boxes full of hundreds of pounds of CDs and tapes of all of the things I didn’t use. This is an artistic endeavor for me and I can’t ignore this little voice inside me that wants me to try doing this one thing a little bit differently.”
Despite a vault of alternate takes and unused material, fans of the guitar-heavy band shouldn’t get their hopes up for an exhaustive box set anytime soon. The songwriter/guitarist says if he wanted the public to hear the material, it would have been released on an album.
“Corporate America” is the follow-up to 1994’s “Walk On” (MCA), which debuted at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 602,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. And while the new 10-track disc, which debuted at No. 42 on the chart, contains the quintessential Boston sound of lush guitars, eight years later, there’s a slightly new twist.
The most notable difference — aside from new members Anthony Cosmo (guitarist/songwriter) and Kimberly Dahme (singer/guitarist) — is the band’s political stance as heard on the title track, which targets the excesses of capitalism and, specifically, the Enron debacle. Originally, the track was released on the Internet under the band name Downer’s Revenge.
“I didn’t want any preconceptions about what this song was as it went out onto the Net,” explains Scholz. “I was determined I was going to get that song onto campuses and that kids in school today will be the nucleus for getting some important changes made in the future, in terms of getting this really unrestrained free-market system back under control. So we can enjoy some of the benefits of it without having a planet literally destroyed right from under us.”
Throughout his 25-plus year career in the music industry, Scholz has been steadfast in his creative vision, refusing to capitulate to label pressures to release more product in a timely fashion (as evident from his eight-year battle with CBS records in the early 1980s). However, the road is something altogether different for this Massachusetts resident, who is looking forward to a 2003 tour that he hopes will take Boston around the world and conversely enlighten his diehard fans to his vision of “Corporate America.”
“It is a very new twist on rock music and a very diverse new album that covers an awful lot of ground as far as musical styles,” tells Scholz. “While at the same time being something I’m very proud of, the name Boston automatically has a stigma of being only a classic rock band and ‘Corporate America’ is anything but a classic rock record.”