Tom Scholz

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Tom Scholz
Tom Scholz live with Boston June 13, 2008 Hinckley, Minnesota
Background information
Birth name Donald Thomas Scholz
Born (1947-03-10) March 10, 1947 (age 67)
Toledo, Ohio, United States
Genres Hard rock, pop rock, progressive rock
Occupations Musician, inventor
Instruments Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Organ, Drums, Vocals
Years active 1969–present
Labels Epic, CBS, MCA
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul

Donald Thomas "Tom" Scholz (born March 10, 1947) is an American rock musician, inventor, engineer, and philanthropist,[1][2] best known as the founder of the band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier. 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 his music, and in more recent years, spending much of his time working with charities.[3]

Early life[edit]

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 forerunner Scholz Homes Inc.[4][5]

His mother Olive was valedictorian of her class, and went on to become an architectural designer and a landscape architect.[4][6]

As a child, Scholz studied classical piano.[7] He also had a penchant for tinkering with everything from go-carts to model airplanes and was always building or designing.[6] A top student and a member of the varsity basketball team, he graduated from Ottawa Hills High School in 1965.[6] Prior to 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.[6]

Musical success, hiatus, and return[edit]

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 to a recording contract. Scholz believed his demos were good enough to be the released album but Epic told him to rerecord them. Most of the guitar, bass, and keyboards were performed by Scholz, although other players were involved sporadically throughout the recording of the album. Epic did not want the album recorded entirely in Scholz's home as Scholz intended (they suggested using a recording studio) but most of what ended up on the album was ultimately 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.[8][9] Scholz's reputed perfectionism delayed the followup for two years. He was unhappy with Don't Look Back and claimed it was released under pressure from the record company. Scholz declared he would not release any more music unless he was completely satisfied with the final product. Boston's third album Third Stage consequently did not appear until 1986. The album itself was certified 4x platinum, and "Amanda" reached the top of the singles chart.[10] Scholz and vocalist 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. These were supposed to sound like the "true Boston" sound. The boxes were arranged in cabinets and played through an (analog) stereo signal path. The originals have today become collectors' items.[11]

After the death of Boston lead singer 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.[12] Fran Cosmo was unable to sing due to a vocal injury, so Tom invited guest singers including Michael Sweet from Stryper and long time Boston fan Tommy DeCarlo who after auditioning in front of Scholz, made a guest appearance on lead vocals.

Personal life[edit]

Scholz has been a vegetarian for over thirty years.[13] He set up his own charitable foundation, the DTS Charitable Foundation[14] in 1987 to help support such causes as animal protection, providing vegetarian resources, stopping world hunger, creating homeless shelters, food banks, as well as animal rescues and sanctuaries, and advocating for children's rights.[1][2][6] Through his work with his foundation, he has raised millions of dollars. PETA awarded him their Compassionate Action Award in 2013.[15]

Scholz married his second wife, Kim Hart, in the Florida Keys on January 11, 2007. They live in the Boston area.[2][6][16]

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."[17] At MIT, 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."[18] In regard to the theme of his album Corporate America, 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".[7]

Scholz has been involved in a number of lawsuits surrounding lead singer Brad Delp's suicide. Scholz has sued the Boston Herald over coverage of Delp's death, claiming that in its reporting the newspaper implied that he was responsible for Delp's death. He has also claimed that the coverage has led to emotional distress.[19]

Additionally, Scholz sued Delp's former wife, Micki, claiming that she defamed him in statements that she made to the Herald after Delp's death. A Superior court judge dismissed those claims,[19] which were then reinstated on appeal in May 2013 [20]

Scholz has also been embroiled in several lawsuits with former band members regarding trademark violations on the band name Boston. A lawsuit against Fran Cosmo and his son Anthony was decided in August 2013 when federal judge James Robart rejected Scholz's efforts to bar the Cosmos from referring to themselves as "former members" of the band. Judge Robart also blocked an injunction request put forth by Scholz seeking to dictate how the Cosmos could refer to their past band affiliation. A more recent lawsuit seeking to bar former Boston member Barry Goudreau from referencing his former band affiliation has yet to be determined. It is at least the third such lawsuit against Goudreau put forth by Scholz. [21]

In June 2013 judge Frances McIntyre ordered Scholz to pay more than $132,000 to the Boston Herald for court costs incurred while successfully defending itself against a defamation lawsuit. In ruling, McIntyre found that Scholz's lawsuit “raises the concern that the costs associated with extended defamation litigation may impact First Amendment rights by chilling the free expression of ideas and opinions by media defendants.” She added: “The threat of expensive litigation could put litigious persons of public interest beyond media commentators because of the feared expense.” [22]


  1. ^ a b "DTS Charitable Foundation". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c "Tom Scholz Honored by FARM | | News, Media and More About the band BOSTON". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  3. ^ Kurutz, Steve. Tom Scholz - Allmusic
  4. ^ a b Pakulski, Gary. "They used to live here: Toledo notables' childhood homes" - Toledo Blade - May 21, 2006
  5. ^ Drozdowski, Ted. "Boston Legal" Boston Magazine, July 2006
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Official Boston Website". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  7. ^ a b "Tom Scholz Interview - The Band Boston and the Sierra Club". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  8. ^ White, Dave. "10 Great Debut Albums Significant firsts by classic rock artists". Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ Billboard listing of all Boston songs which charted from 1976 to 1994. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
  11. ^ Sholz, Tom. "Rockman: the Story". Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ ":: Official BOSTON Website ::". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  14. ^ "DTS Charitable Foundation". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  15. ^ "PETA Honors Tom Scholz," The Boston Globe, 15 October 2013.
  16. ^ "The Band Boston Fan Site - Mr. and Mrs. Tom Scholz were married January 11th 2007 in the Florida Keys". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  17. ^ "CAS – Central Authentication Service". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b "Court documents spotlight singer’s feelings about Scholz". Boston Herald. 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  20. ^ "Defamation suit reinstated for founder of Boston - Yahoo Music". 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  21. ^ "Judge rejects rocker’s bid to ban ex-bandmates from using Boston name". Boston Herald. 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  22. ^ "Judge: Rocker must pay Herald $132G in court costs for dismissed defamation suit". Boston Herald. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 

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