Before Boston's Van Wezel concert, the bassist talks rock ’n’ roll, custom gear and roller skating.
The first time Tracy Ferrie heard the band Boston, he was a kid, skating in his parents’ roller rink in Elkhart, Ind. The songs on the band’s first album caught his attention, and he asked the DJ who the band was.
“That first record didn’t sound like anything else at the time,” he says. “I had to know who that was.”
Today, he tours the country playing bass for the band, known for its hits, including “More Than A Feeling,” “Peace of Mind” and “Rock ’n’ Roll Band.” Oh, and he still roller-skates, too. We caught up with Ferrie to talk music, touring and what life in the roller rink taught him about rock ’n’ roll.
“I started skating at a very young age. My parents put roller skates on me and set me free to roll around. I entered competitions when I got older, and I thought about maybe following in the dreams of my father, who was a competitive skater.”
“Skating adapted very well to music performance. When you’re in a stadium in front of thousands of people, you’re there to perform and give it your all for your allotted time. So you’ve got to be 100% if you want to be a winner. That translates really well to what do today.”
“Music started at same time for me, in grade school with the band instruments. From there, I learned to play rock music — guitar and bass. Later in life, I ended up going to Berklee College of Music.”
“Many people have memories of the first time they heard a certain song — in the car, or with your friends — for me, most of that was in the roller rink. The DJ would put on albums that had just come out. I would run up to the booth and ask who the great new band was. Boston was one of those bands. I listened to that album from cover to cover — the whole thing was great. I’ll never forget hearing for first time.”
“I was a guitar player and a bass player at the time, and I noticed the sound of the guitar. I started to ask my older friends how they get that sound — that’s not like Aerosmith or KISS. That’s something way different. There was a ton of compression and sustain on the guitar, and I learned Tom Scholz had invented all that gear. He was an MIT graduate and an engineer, and he invented these pieces of gear he used to produce those sounds. Every processor and pre-amp we use today has his signature on it.”
“It’s really cool to play through that stuff. I plugged my guitar right into his gear. That’s the Boston sound; that’s what’s on the record, and we reproduce it live, using those very sounds Tom invented.”
“I joined the band in 2009 or so. It happened through a related live performance with Stryper — I was their bassist at time. Tom Scholz and Gary Pihl joined us for a large benefit show.”
“Playing the L.A. Forum for first time — I used to live out there when I was younger, and I would drive by it. I remember being in the car with my wife, saying, ‘I’m going to play there someday.’ So it’s very special to be playing with this band. The music still holds up to anything people are producing today. It’s been played umpteen times on the radio, and to go up onstage and play with and be accepted as a member of Boston is overwhelming and ridiculously cool.”