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Interview with Boston | «As Andy Warhol says, we all get 15 minutes of fame, so to be able to last for as long as Boston has, is really a tribute to Tom Schultz»

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So Gary, when did you meet Tom?

Gary Pihl: Yeah, well I wil take you back to 1977! I was in Sammy Hagar's band and their manager knew Boston's manager and we got to open up Boston's first tour, which had started in 1976 for their first album and we got to open some shows at the end of that tour. They liked us, we liked them it seemed like a good fit between the two bands. So they asked us if we would like to open their entire second tour which we did from 78-79. We spent 8 months together so that's how I got to know Tom and all the other guys. In 1985 of course, Sammy got the call to join Van Halen and Tom Schultz called me and asked if I would come and work on Boston's 3rd album. Of course I was thrilled to do that, and that's how our relationship started, I moved to Boston and joined the band and I'm there eversince 30something years.

 

 

I read somewhere that you were always interesterd in music and that you had a lot of family members that were musicians. What is it like to do what you love for a living? Did you ever consider doing something else?

Gary Pihl: Yes, several members of my family were or still are musicians.. Both my parents used tp sing around the house, my grandmother played the organ, one of my cousins was a dancer who went to Julliard and then danced with a modern dance group in the US. My father never told me I want you to do this or that with your life, do whatever you want to do, do it the best you can and go to school to learn how to do it. So I went to college, I had a great time learning music and I tell that story to young students today. They ask how did I get into music, what was your first break how did I find Sammy Hagar and all these things. Well, I used to sit next to Johnny Colla who ended up playing saxophone for Huey Lewis and The News, so you never know who you gonna sit next to in class.So, I tel kids to go to school and learn music,of course you don't learn rock music in school, you learn classical and the foundations of music. What else would I have done if I was not a musician? I don't know, I always loved photography and my sister was a photographer and filmmaker, but that's a hobby of mine. I've been very fortunate with my life, I was at the right place at the right time.

 

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What is the recipy for a band to stay active and succesful through the years and despite the changes?

Gary Pihl: As Andy Warhol says, we all get 15 minutes of fame, so to be able to last for as long as Boston has, is really a tribute to Tom Schultz who writes the music and it is his brainchild really. I am fortunate to be a part of that. Of course I can say the same thing about Sammy Hagar, he is still around and playing. Both of these guys are very special performers and musicians and i've been fortunate to have played with them.

 

 

Gary, you've made a lot of collaborations, but is there someone that you would like to have worked with?

Gary Pihl: You know, I could say wouldn't it be great to play guitar with the rolling stones or Paul McCartney or be a member of an allstar band. That would be great (laughs). As I hear young musicians I can see there is a lot of talent going around and I would like to work with them, to understand where they come from. I love reading rock biographies, and of course I read quite a few like Eric Clapton, Ray Davies, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen. I like to know where people came from, what influenced them, how they got to who they are. And now there is a new generation of musicians coming up, who have a different understanding of music and other influences. So I enjoy working with other projects with guys who are my contemporaries but i'd like to work with younger artists.

 

 

Which was your favourite period from you career?

Gary Pihl: I think my favorite period is the one to come (laughs). You know, it was great to work with Sammy and before that it was great to work in some club bands where we were writing our own music. We were young kids having a great time. Every part of my career has been unique and enjoyable and I'm looking forward to the next part, I don't know what it will be but it will be great fun.

 

 

Are there any plans for a new album with Boston or just new songs?

Gary Pihl: Tom Shultz always has great ideas so I'm hoping there will be a new album, he is a great songwriter and the fans would love to hear a new album. So I don't know exactly when it will happen but I'm looking forward.

 

 

What projects are you working at right now?

Gary Pihl: Oh right now? So, i've met this young songwriter Tim Berret, who lives here in Boston. I've been helping him to record some of his songs he is a great songwriter and here comes the nepotism part (laughs) Tommy DeCarlo our singer with Boston was looking for some songs and I put the two of them together. So Tommy listened to the songs and liked them, and now I think 2 of them will be in Tommy's new album which comes out in January. The other project band I did, was All 41 with Terry Brock, Robert Berry and Matt Starr. We released an album and we would like to make another one. I've written songs with another guy with Boston connections, and that is Fred Sampson. He co-wrote the song I Need Your Love which was the first single for the Walk On album. We've been friends for a long time so he and I are writing songs which we hope will be in the next All 41 album so the network goes on and on, it's six degrees of separation, every one knows someone who knows someone (laughs).

 

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Gary, can you tell us how December People formed up and which is the concept behind it?

Gary Pihl: Yes, about 10 years ago Robert Berry was asked to do a Christmas album with classic Christmas songs but in the style of classic rock songs! So, Robert is a terrific arranger, producer, songwriter, guitarist, singer, drummer, bass player, he plays everything and is good at all of them! So he put together the concept of December People. For instance, he has a song that sounds like the Who playing Pinball Wizard (immitates acoustic guitar) but instead of Pinball Wizard, the words and the melody are (sings) 'Joy to the world, the lord has come'. Or Santa Claus comes to town sounds like ZZ Top are playing it. We do Up on the Rooftop and it sounds like Santana, Rudolf like AC/DC! It's good performing that around the holidays, so when he told me he wanted to play them live and I said fine, but he said that he wanted every show to be a benefit for local charity. Usually we do a food bank, where we collect food to help poor and hungry people in the neighborhood. I'm glad that Robert had that idea.

 

 

What is the line-up?

Gary Pihl: Robert on bass and vocals,David Medd on keyboards, Jack Foster and me on guitars, David Lauser on drums.

 

 

 

Any plans for a December People or Boston tour this year?

Gary Pihl: Yes, we are doing some shows in the west of US with December People. I don't know if there are other plans for later but i'm looking forward to anything. I appreciate the fact that this is a charity thing, helping people.

 

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Would you like to say something to your Greek fans?

Gary Pihl: I am so grateful that we have greek fans! As a member of Boston I know that we have a lot of fans all over the world and people from many countries have asked us to tour and i'd love to tour in Greece, I hope that can happen some time. But thank you so much for sticking with us and loving our music as much as we have!

 

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Facebook Page: Boston
Facebook Page: December People
www.decemberpeople.com 

 

 

Chris Mouskos, Elena Manta

 

Black Velvet Radio

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