When Boston guitarist Tom Scholz was a kid, he imagined he’d have a walker and silver hair when he got old. But when he glanced into the mirror on his 70th birthday March 10, he was stunned by the Dorian Gray visage. He still had most of the same brown hair he had was when his band its released its hit self-titled debut album in 1976. “I’m one of the very few males in my family that has normal blood pressure and is not on medication,” he says, noting the lucky side effect of the vegetarian diet he adopted three decades ago. “Because I’ve certainly had a stressful life. It isn’t like I’ve had it particularly easy.”
How did you actually spend your 70th birthday?
I worked. It was pre-tour, when my wife and I get up in the morning, we get about 15 minutes to have coffee, and then the bruising starts — the actual business part of handling something that’s going to involve three dozen people, that you’re going to risk an enormous amount of money on, and has to succeed.
But you’re feeling more physically fit than ever?
Well, I just went to the rink today and was working on my combination jumps. I stopped playing basketball at 50 – I had a bad knee and back injuries. So I took up freestyle skating, like in the Olympics. And once I figured out how to get myself up off the ice and back down in one piece, I got totally into it. Now I’ve worked my way up to a good axel and a couple of doubles.
It’s kind of sad to look back on all the lawsuits and counter-suits you’ve been caught up in over the years.
I realized in my early 30s that there are two ways you can approach the music business: You can let people walk all over you, or you can fight for what you have done that’s yours. So I just said, “I’m putting my foot down. I’ve watched drug addicts and all kinds of horrible people walk away with most of the money from the work I did, and that’s it. No more.” And I became one badass person to screw with.
At least Boston’s mayor Marty Walsh honored you on your birthday with a Certificate of Recognition.
That’s right. And I played at his inauguration. It was the Boston Pops, and I was one of the featured soloists. It’s nice to be appreciated, and it did make turning 70 a bit more enjoyable. And to be honest, if I had known ahead of time that this was what 70 was like, I wouldn’t have been that worried about it!
IF YOU GO
Boston, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 7:30 p.m. June 14
Tickets: $24 to $146
Contact: (650) 967-4040, www.livenation.comBostonPop MusicTom Scholz