More "Gary Coleman" Rock Stars!
a.k.a. "Corporate Rockers" sing about "Corporate America"!
By the Editor

Intro:
O.K., that's it! I've had it with these pompous rock stars from the '70s! Why is it that the ONLY problem I have here at EAR CANDY is dealing with the has-beens from the gluttonous '70s. And I'm not talking about the punk rockers (like the Sex Pistols or the Buzzcocks, who were more than accommodating in regards to their EAR CANDY interviews), but those "Corporate" rockers who once filled stadiums on their tours. Now their concert attendance has fallen almost as fast as their hair follicles.

Why do I subject myself to the obligatory abuse by these artistes? Well, in this case it was just nostalgia calling. I'm talking about the band Boston. Yes, the same band that was condemned for being "corporate rock" along with the likes of Journey, Styx and Foreigner. I still have my old vinyl copies of their albums, although I must confess that I haven't played them in years - you get enough Boston on the airwaves of ANY classic rock FM station. However, the songs still hold fond memories. You see, my very first rock concert was Boston (with Sammy Hagar opening act). So, when I heard that they not only had a new album coming out, but were also playing here in Atlanta I decided to try and get an interview! Call it 'reliving' my teens or morbid curiosity. I contacted the publicist for Boston and she assured me that it would be no problem setting up an interview, getting me a copy of their new CD and me reviewing their upcoming Atlanta concert.

I did get the CD in the mail, but that's when the promises ended. But, I'll elaborate on the sordid events a little later. I played the CD and was impressed, it actually wasn't half-bad. But, it would have been a lot better if they had left off the title track, a horrifying piece of shite called "Corporate America". Yeah, how's that for irony? The band that personifies 'corporate rock' singing about the 'ills' of America in a song called 'corporate America'?

Well, that's the introduction to this month's "Gary Coleman Rockstars" installment. What follows is the timeline of events. YOU decide yourself if Boston qualifies as a GCR? (If you are still curious to what constitutes a GCR, just go to the bottom of this article and click on any of the previous installments.) And...we won't go into the definition of what constitutes a "corporate rocker" - that would take up a whole article of its own. Hmmm, sounds like a good essay for an upcoming issue?


First, all things seemed to go as planned. I had the time and the date of the phone interview set up with Tom Scholz. The day of the interview I got an e-mail canceling it. "No problem," I thought, "this has happened before, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt." So, the interview was rescheduled via the band's publicist for the following week. The night of the second attempted interview arrives and I wait by the phone at the appointed time. And hour and a half passes and I give up. What pissed me off was that I had to miss another band's gig in town the same evening!

The band's publicist explained:

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003
I felt so bad and so did Tom. He tried to call but the telephone in his private recording studio must be blocked for privacy and he could not get through. It never occurred to me because I am not blocked and never had trouble.
O.K., it could have been an honest mistake. Then I had an idea: Tom seems like a very busy person, why not e-mail the questions to him? That way he could answer them on his own schedule.

The publicist responded to my 'alternate idea':

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003
I LIKE IT
PLEASE send the questions and I will type up the answers and get them back to you.
So I promptly e-mail the questions. A week goes by with no response….I finally sent an e-mail about the status of the e-mail interview and get the following:
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003
I WILL ASK HIM AGAIN FOR THE ANSWERS
More days go by and I ask again, getting the short answer:
Date: Thu, 1 May 2003
Still working on Tom Scholz
A few days later, I get an e-mail for the publicist pitching the idea of interviewing new Boston member Kimberly Dahme instead of Tom, futher stating:
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003
Tom has the entire responsibility of the tour which is writing the songs, rehearsing the band and designing the set and we heaped a lot on him. In the interest of time, I am wondering, and I know this is not Tom, if you might be interested in doing the interview with Kimberley Dahme, a new member of Boston who sings, plays the bass and has a song on the new album which is done in the show. If you say yes, she can do the interview. Tomorrow evening, or maybe Mon, Tues Wed of next week.
She attached her bio info along with the address of Kim's website. Although I was disappointed at not getting to talk with the mastermind behind Boston, I figured an interview with Kim might be interesting as well. So I agreed, also asking for a copy of her solo album, to help me become familiar with her own music and come up a new dimension of questions. Publicist agrees to mailing me a copy of the CD:
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003
need your mailing address and number to call in on.
However, the disc never arrives. Then, to make matters worse Kimberly doesn't call at the appointed time. Another evening shot waiting by the fucking phone! And the 'call blocker' excuse isn't applicable this time around and we had solved that problem BEFORE it became a problem! I'm really angry now and send the following e-mail:
5/13/2003 9:36:42 AM Eastern
From: earcandy_magazine@yahoo.com
I'm not going to hold Boston's totally unprofessional and unreliable ethic against you (The Elaine Mayes interview went great). I was wondering, what other artists do you represent?
Several days later comes the following response full of promises:
Date: Wed, 16 Jun
I am totally mortified! I have been doing this for 20 years. Please do not blame BOSTON separately and together. I will explain to you what is going on and why the inexcusable cancellations.
Hmmmm, "I will explain…" Those words still ring in my head. Well, here it is August, and I still have received any explanation. Oh, and I never did get to review the concert, it vanished like the other promises. I guess it all boils down to the fact that those "Corporate Rockers" are too busy with the corporate "responsibility of the tour" (in the own words of the publicist) to follow through on their word. Yeah, let's blast the integrity of 'corporate America' without looking at the integrity of our own band!

Looking back, I wonder if some of my questions scared off Mr. Scholz. But that would only explain HIS avoiding any interviews on pertinent questions. It doesn't explain the rest. So, here are two of the questions that I had intended to ask…

8. I'd like to ask you a few questions about your politics/beliefs and how they affect Boston. John Lennon wrote, "we all want to change the world" and then "we'd all love to see the plan". "Corporate America" is the first "statement" song that Boston has done and it talks about the ills of corporate America. But it doesn't really give a fix? I saw your press release about the song where you talked about "restraining capitalism". How does one actually restrain capitalism?

9. The title of the album is "Corporate America" named after the song. But, it was the only "message" song on the album. Do you think that you set up certain expectations by naming the album that? Some writers have referred to Boston as "corporate rock". It's a little ironic that a band that has been given that title writes a song called "Corporate America". What are your feelings on this moniker?

And that, my friends, is the true story of what I like to call, "the Boston Saga"

Stay tuned for more "Gary Coleman Rockstars", they ARE out there…and I'm sure we'll meet again.

POSTSCRIPT:

Now Dig this...I give them just one more chance to explain and forward a draft of this article to the "corporate rock" offices of Boston. Well, I get a call from Boston's publicist (7-29-03) blasting EAR CANDY. Right off the bat the publicist takes an aggressive stance. "You have a day job don't you?," she starts off, proceeding to chide me for 'making a living'. I guess she was trying to insinuate that working a respectable daytime job is somehow less meaningful than slaving for a mere pittance as a full-time journalist; or even worse being a sycophantic publicist?! I decide to humor her, hell it is her dime (she took the time to call me from New York). When she saw that her first line of assault was not working, she then called EAR CANDY 'insignificant'. Really? Well, does that mean that the artists that we have interviewed are 'insignificant' too? Brian Wilson, Lemmy, the Sex Pistols, Cheap Trick…hell, we have an index of our interviews on our first page for the world to see. Finally, she says that the WHOLE Boston interview episode was my fault. Hmmmm...sounds like the publicist is just embarrassed that SHE dropped the ball so many times.

Yes, I admit responsibility for the ONE time that Tom called and I had call blocker. But what about the other times:

  • 1. First cancellation at the last minute.
  • 2. Failure of any contact per my e-mail interview questions.
  • 3. Failure to send me Kim's CD to prepare for her interview.
  • 4. Kim's failure to call without notice and lack of any follow-up.
  • 5. Failure to follow through on the actual concert.
  • 6. And finally...Failure to "explain" as promised.
Doesn't quite sound like "all my fault" as she moaned on the phone. 'Insignificant'? Perhaps, but it hasn't stopped the majority of artists that we have contacted for an interview.

In hindsight I suspect the real reason behind her call was to try and get this very article SUPRESSED. Mainly because it show's her fundamental lack the basic skills needed to actually be a publicist - and that is 'follow-through' and 'sticking to your word'. Well, that might fly in New Yawk, but it doesn't fly here at EAR CANDY.

No, we won't suppress the article. That would be 'suppressing' the truth. And, after the spiteful call, I don't feel in the least way guilty for 'suppressing' this great publicist's name: Gail Parenteau.

Damn, I hope Foreigner, Journey and Styx aren't looking for a publicist!!!