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Boston’s Tom Scholz Hasn’t Listened to Any New Music Since 1974

Richard E. Aaron, Getty Images

Boston have undergone a lot of lineup changes over the course of the band’s 37-year history, but their sound has always remained more or less the same, with very few concessions to current trends. As bandleader Tom Scholz revealed during a recent interview, that’s at least partly because he doesn’t even know what those current trends are.

Speaking with MusicRadar about the upcoming Boston album ‘Life, Love & Hope,’ Scholz was asked for his take on other guitarists who boast a signature sound. Given the Edge from U2 and Andy Summers of the Police as examples, Scholz shrugged and admitted, “I have to confess: I don’t know who they are.”

Perhaps realizing that his response might seem dismissive, Scholz went on to elaborate. “I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t listen to any other music — not since about 1974,” he explained. “The only times when I’ll hear other music will be at the ice-skating rink or the gym — you know, if I go out and somebody’s playing something. I don’t listen to the radio in the car, and I do that because I don’t want to be influenced.”

Of course, no one lives in a complete pop-culture bubble, and Scholz’s routine does allow for a little exposure to today’s hits — but his musical frame of reference is still the same one he used when Boston was just starting out. “I do hear a little bit here and there — I know what modern rock and current pop sounds like, because I’m exposed to it a little bit,” he mused.

“The closest I can come to answering that question is, I can probably tell you when it’s an old Jeff Beck song or early Led Zeppelin — I can recognize Jimmy Page. I can tell you that I can always recognize a Boston song, even if it’s in a noisy place. I can hear that it’s Boston even before I know what song it is. If a Boston song comes on in a club or somewhere, I notice that it’s Boston, and the second thing I notice is what song it is.”

Next: Top 10 Boston Songs

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