Tom Scholz

 

Photo by Ron PownallTom is from Toledo, Ohio and is an Ottawa Hills High School graduate of the class of 1965. He won a full scholarship to MIT where he obtained Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering, graduating with a GPA of 4.8 on a 5.0 scale. He later worked at Polaroid, where he became a senior product design engineer.

Interestingly, Tom had always been more recognized as a skilled 6'-5" tall basketball player than as a musician (and he is still an avid player). Nevertheless, his strong interest in classical music, coupled with innate talents in the physical sciences and mathematics, resulted in his creating a rock-n-roll sound that was technically and artistically unlike anything anyone had ever heard. He finally got a record contract with Epic, and the BOSTON debut album sold over 16 million copies, making it the biggest selling debut album in history (sixth biggest selling overall!). Every BOSTON album has been certified platinum.

Tom is the main creative force, producer, and engineer on all the BOSTON albums, and he plays lead and rhythm guitars (acoustic and electric), bass, piano, Hammond organ, and percussion. In 1980 Tom started his own firm to design and manufacture signal processing devices for musical instruments. This company, Scholz Research & Development, first created the Rockman line of products to help achieve that trademark BOSTON guitar sound (which had previously required extensive vintage tube circuits) using solid state electronics.

The first device Tom manufactured was the Power Soak. This device, a little box that allows your amp to acheive great sound at low volumes, quickly became a hit among big-time guitarists. In 1982, SR&D released the Rockman headphone amp, a small device the size of a peanut butter sandwich which has a sound as big as a wall of amplifiers (and won't wake the neighbors!). Since then, SR&D has manufactured an extensive line of analog signal processors for guitar. Ultimately, the Rockman products revolutionized the way guitars were to sound and were to be recorded; Rockmans can now be heard on hundreds of commercial albums and hit records. Over the years, Tom has received some two-dozen electronic, mechanical, and electro-mechanical design patents. Tom sold the Rockman line to Dunlop Manufacturing in 1995, and subsequently closed SR&D.

Tom is a vegetarian, and is heavily involved with organizations such as Greenpeace, PETA, domestic violence groups, etc. In 1987, Tom set up a foundation to support such causes as animal rights, food banks, homeless shelters, and children's rights. Through the foundation, he has donated several million dollars to those causes. Tom received the Mahatma Ghandi Award in 1987, and was named "Man of the Year" by the National Hospice Organization in 1988.