Boston Needed Lead Singer, Found One Online
Plucked From Obscurity, Man Joins Favorite Band After Karaoke Wows Founder
By DESIREE ADIB and STEPHANIE DAHLEJune 1, 2008
Tommy DeCarlo of Charlotte, N.C., dreamed of becoming a rock star, listening to his favorite band's albums and memorizing their songs.
"A Boston song would come on and I'd get fired up and I'd start singing it," said DeCarlo, 43, a father of two kids -- Talia, 19, and Tommy Jr., 17.
But dreams didn't pay the bills, so DeCarlo worked as a credit manager at a Home Depot store in Charlotte to support his.
Still, he never gave up singing along to his Boston CDs, and his daughter Talia took notice. She posted a MySpace page of DeCarlo singing karaoke to Boston songs after the band's lead singer, Brad Delp, committed suicide in March 2007. And, in an instant, DeCarlo's whole world turned upside down.
"I wanted to share [the karaoke] with ... other Boston fans," he said.
DeCarlo had to sing with the karaoke track because he had sold his keyboard in 2006, using the extra cash to buy Christmas presents for his children.
Meanwhile, up in Boston, members of the real band were struggling to continue playing as the coped with Delp's suicide.
"My wife was at her computer playing our tunes, and I asked whether it was us playing live," Boston founder Tom Scholz told USA Today. "She said, 'It's some guy in North Carolina singing your songs.' I said, 'I know Brad's voice, and that's Brad.'"
Still, a skeptical Scholz was intrigued.
"In order to believe it, I had to plug the computer into the big speakers so I could listen to the background music and see if it was the band," Scholz told ABC News. "And I realized it wasn't the band, it was a karaoke track. Somebody was singing to it, and it wasn't Brad."
So the band decided to give DeCarlo a shot -- as their new lead singer.
"I was like, 'Wow!'" DeCarlo told "Good Morning America." "I remember calling my wife and kids in the bedroom and I said, 'Look at this e-mail!' I couldn't believe it."
"I was like, 'Oh my goodness, I can't believe this is happening," said Talia DeCarlo. "It was crazy."
DeCarlo made his debut onstage at a tribute concert to Brad Delp last August. It was the first time he sang with a band in his entire life.
"Even at the tribute, I heard a few people say it was a little eerie to hear Tommy sing, because it sounded like Brad up there," Scholz said.
"My hope is to carry on what Brad meant," DeCarlo said.
DeCarlo and the rest of Boston will begin their summer tour on June 6, 2008, in Thunber Bay, Ontario, Canada.
And the keyboard that DeCarlo sold two years ago, trying to make ends meet? Yamaha is endorcing DeCarlo and shipping him a brand-new synthesizer. He is scheduled to receive it the day before he and the band leave for their tour.
Boston got lucky finding "somebody who is good at something, who loved it and all of a sudden, all the connections got made," Boston founder Scholz said. He added: "Thank God!" For DeCarlo, his ultimate "dream job" has become an unbelievable reality. "A lot of folks have said, 'Wow! You're living a dream.'"
DeCarlo laughed, "I've never dreamed this big. ... Never in a million years I thought this could happen."