Anyone who was alive in the 70s and 80s knows about Boston. Songs from the first album are songs that still evoke memories when you hear them. Long Time, Peace of Mind, Rock ‘N’ Roll Band, and More than a Feeling are all indelibly etched upon my mind, as are songs from the next album Don’t Look Back. Original guitarist Barry Goudreau was not only instrumental in forming this band, he was at the core of the band’s sound and musical direction on the first two records, which are the only two he appeared on. Fortunately, Barry went on to other projects, including a wonderful solo album simply titled Barry Goudreau which, no offense to Tom Scholz, was better than any Boston album after Third. It included the awesome song “Dreams,” written by Barry. He also did some great stuff with his bands Orion the Hunter, RTZ, some stuff with Boston singer Brad Delp, and most recently Ernie and the Automatics. I was lucky enough to get this interview with Barry and catch up on what he’s been up to. If you get a chance to find Barry’s stuff after Boston, I highly recommend you get your hands on it.
Carl Hose: Thanks for talking to me, Barry. Before I even talk about Boston, I have to bring up your first solo album, Barry Goudreau. I wore my first copy of the album out and had to scour record conventions to find another copy because the record was out of print. It finally saw release on CD, which pleased the hell out of me. I can’t be without that record. It’s essential listening, and quite frankly, it sounds like a killer Boston album minus Tom Scholz. Do you remember much about the recording of the album?
Barry Goudreau: In 1980 Tom came to the band and said we had a year to do a project, like a solo record, since he would not be recording. I began to work on some songs involving Brad and Sib and moved ahead with a record, getting it written and recorded in just nine months. It was a great experience for me and Sib and Brad, since Tom had been the main songwriter and producer, so it gave us a chance to write and record outside of Boston. It got off to a great start, but disappeared quickly when the promotional campaign was stopped, which, of course, was a great disappointment for all of us.
CH: You played on the first two Boston records and left. You were not only an instrumental part of forming the band, you were an integral part of its sound and success. Did you go through a period of time where you missed playing with Boston or did you simply take the advice of the second album’s title, “Don’t Look Back?”
BG: Being asked to leave a band I had had a hand in creating was tremendously disappointing, but I pulled myself up out of a funk and released Orion the Hunter in 1985.
CH: There have been many projects since Boston, including Orion the Hunter, RTZ, and a collaboration with Brad Delp. Any particular favorites?
BG: My favorite record of mine outside of Boston is RTZ. It’s the best sounding record of mine and, for me, has the best songs.
CH: What happened with Brad Delp was tragic. The world lost a great voice and you lost a friend. Anything about Brad you want to say? You guys worked together many times after you left Boston, so the friendship remained true.
BG: Brad was a close friend and also my brother in law. His death was difficult for all of us, but left me thinking there might have been something I could have done to prevent it from happening.
CH: Having played in Boston, you’re not a stranger to the tech side of things. How do you feel the technological strides we’ve made since Boston days have affected the music industry? The Internet, social media, smaller devices that allow musicians to write and record anywhere, the indie scene? Do you believe the record industry is in shambles?
BG: People being able to record a record in their bedrooms with very little in the way of musical talent is how the business has evolved. There are only a handful of major labels left, and they may soon be gone as well. Where it ends up, God only knows.
CH: Have you listened to any of the Boston albums since “Don’t Look Back,” and if so, is there one you’ve one enjoyed?
BG: I’ve listened to each of the Boston albums after “Third Stage” once, except for the most current one, and to me, it doesn’t sound like the Boston I knew. I take that back, I didn’t make it all the way through “Corporate America.”
CH: How have you spent your time the last few years? You’ve stayed out of the spotlight. Can we expect you back on the music scene or have you given it up?
BG: I still play a handful of shows a year, mostly for charitable causes. Having a career has been difficult having been sued for trademark infringement three times in the last five years by TS.
CH: Thank you for all the awesome music you’ve given us through the years, and thanks for taking the time to talk with me.