The city of Boston has made a big impact on the music world — it has produced bands such as Aerosmith, The Pixies, The Cars and Letters to Cleo. But no band embraces the spirit of The City on a Hill quite likes its namesake, Boston.
Since the band released its eponymous debut in 1976, Boston has sold more than 75 million albums. Led by guitar and technology virtuoso Tom Scholz, Boston pretty much ruled rock radio in the late 1970s with hits such as “Don’t Look Back,” “Long Time” and “More Than a Feeling.”
After a long absence, Boston returns to the Coast for a show Friday at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi. The tour celebrates 40 years of the band.
Scholz will joined by bassist Tracy Ferrie, drummer Jeff Neal, singer Tommy DeCarlo, keyboardist Beth Cohen and guitarist Gary Pihl.
Pihl,who spent almost a decade playing guitar in Sammy Hagar’s band, joined Boston during the recording of “Third Stage” in 1985, but his history with Scholz and Boston goes back almost 40 years.
“When I was playing with Sammy, we opened for Boston on the last leg of their first tour and then we toured with them the whole time on the second tour,” Pihl said in an interview with the Sun Herald. “I was a music nerd, so I spent as much time as I could following Tom around and asking how he got this sound and that sound and how he did this or that, and we became friends.”
Phil’s friendship with Scholz would pay off when Hagar achieved a very high profile in 1985.
“Sammy’s ‘VOA’ album had done really well, and we were really excited about it and then he got the call to replace David Lee Roth in Van Halen and he couldn’t turn that down,” he said. “We were all happy for him, but I was nervous about what I was going to do next.”
Fortunately, Pihl, who also plays in the Christmas classic rock band December People, never missed a beat.
“Tom called me and told me he had heard about Sammy and he asked me to come and play on ‘Third Stage,’” he said. “So I played Farm Aid with Sammy and then flew to Boston.”
And to paraphrase one of the band’s biggest hits, Pihl didn’t look back, and he’s been playing with the band for more than 30 years.
“I was pretty nervous when I first recorded with Tom, because he’s a perfectionist, and he likes to do several different takes on things,” Pihl said. “But I think he trusts me a little bit more these days.”
Where: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 875 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5