Tom Scholz says he didn’t necessarily plan the 11-year gap between Boston albums, but anyone who knows anything about the group and Scholz’s perfectionist ways since Boston’s mega-selling 1976 debut should know that’s the way he rolls.
“I probably would have kept going,” Scholz — who releases Boston’s sixth album, “Life, Love & Hope,” on Dec. 3 — tells Billboard with a laugh. “But it was getting a little long. It was very, very hard work. All of these songs, they’re basically done when I don’t think I can express myself any better with the music for whatever I was trying to say. That might be because I’m so burnt on it that I don’t think I can do any better or because I think it would be really dangerous to try to change it any more — that I just might make it worse or lose something. So I stop when I don’t think I can do any better, and it was the same with this album. I stopped when I thought it was as good as it’s going to get.”
“Life, Love & Hope’s” 12 songs feature seven vocalists — including Boston’s late original singer Brad Delp, who’s heard on three tracks. Listen to the title track:
“These were songs that he and I had worked on with the thought that they would be released at some point,” Scholz explains. “There was never any thought in my mind that I wouldn’t put them on the album, and I’m sure that he would be very happy to know that they went on an album called “Life, Love & Hope.” Two of the songs, “Didn’t Meant to Fall in Love” and “Someone (2.0)” are actually refreshed versions of songs that appeared on 2002’s “Corporate America,” an album Scholz feels “didn’t get a fair shot, and I wanted (the songs) to have a possibility of being heard by more people.”
“Someone (2.0),” meanwhile, “is basically a second try. I wasn’t happy with it (on ‘Corporate America’); I don’t think I captured what I was after. The same thing with ‘You Gave Up on Love.’ I Took both of those songs and saved the tracks I liked and basically started over from there. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it because I really couldn’t listen to either of those songs from the ‘Corporate America’ album. I just wasn’t happy with them, and now I can listen to them.”
The track “Love Got Away,” meanwhile, marks Scholz’s first lead vocal on a Boston album. “Most of the songs on this album are pretty personal, but that one was an explicitly personal experience, so I thought nobody else is going to get the emotional content that I’m looking for in this vocal,” Scholz says. “I never considered myself a lead singer or the greatest singer in the world; I’ve always considered singing to be a major pain in the neck. But I felt I was the one who was going to be able to sing that (song) with the kind of emotion that I feel it needs. So that was the decision, and I thought, ‘Well, everybody can just live with me singing one song.’ And I do enjoy the song. It doesn’t bother me that it’s got my voice on it.”
Scholz says that he still has “lots of material that I didn’t put on this album,” which he hopes will surface before another 11 years passes. Meanwhile he’s planning to take Boston on the road during 2014, though no dates have been set yet.
“I’m hoping that comes off, ’cause I think it would be a lot of fun,” he says. “We’ll probably play a few things from this album, and of course we always have to do a lot of the older stuff because so much of the audience is familiar with it and they want it, and that’s fine. I get it. So (touring) will be next, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”