Thousands of kids grew up singing Boston rock classics “More Than a Feeling” and “Peace of Mind” into a hairbrush in front of the bathroom mirror. Tommy DeCarlo is the only one to go from fan to front man of the legendary Beantown export.
“Back when I was a teenager, my friends and I would be hanging out and Boston would come on, and I’d sing along. They would say that I sounded like that guy from Boston,” he said. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to join a band onstage that I had sung along with in my car for years.”
The opportunity was born out of tragedy. Upon news of the 2007 suicide of the original vocalist, Brad Delp, DeCarlo posted some of his Boston covers online in memoriam. Those humble home recordings eventually got the attention of Boston leader Tom Scholz, who — after extending an invitation to perform at the Delp tribute concert — made DeCarlo the group’s lead singer.
While most replacement singers have spent decades honing their chops in other bands, fronting Boston was DeCarlo’s first gig.
“Given the fact I’ve never been with another band, it’s pretty awesome,” he said of his four years with Boston. “How could you complain about being in a band that you listened to on the radio for years?” Still, it’s occasionally been rough convincing lifelong fans to give the new singer a shot.
“I can relate to other bands that have replacement singers come in,” DeCarlo said. “It’s always going to be a little bit of a challenge for the old fans of Boston. It was especially when I started. Unfortunately for all us fans, there was no choice in the matter.”
And he still does consider himself a fan first.
“I’m an extension of the fans,” he said. “I’ve been a fan a lot longer than I’ve been in the band.”
Scholz has long been at work on a new Boston album — one that features both Delp and DeCarlo’s vocals — that is nearing completion, but has no release date. It will be the outfit’s first release in a decade.
As for DeCarlo, he’s still amazed by his good fortune.
“Of all the people to discover me, it was the leader of my favorite rock band,” he said. “It’s nice to be part of something as special as the band Boston. It’s a wonderful experience to be a part of what I think is history.”