You’re pretty much a one-man band in the studio. The picture some people have of you is that of a “tortured artist.” [Scholz laughs] How true or untrue is that? Do you have long, sustained moments of solitary music-making bliss?
“Pretty much every day, at the end of the day when I get to listen to what I’ve done, and oftentimes during a session when I sit back and listen – by the way, I would call it anything but ‘tortured.’ It is an enormous amount of work. It is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. It can be angst-ridden, especially recording in analogue, because it’s like oil painting: One bad brushstroke and you don’t get to go back.
“There’s pressure, and there’s always this great anticipation of getting something that I hear, and I can’t really relax until I’ve managed to get it, or managed to get something else by accident that I like even better. But there are, over and over again while I’m working every day, I’ll make a quick recording of a part, maybe off of the tape or I’ll have a couple of different choices of ideas, and I have to pick one.
“What I do is, I’ll record them on a cassette recorder, and then I’ll sit back and become a listener, and in those moments it’s wonderful. [Laughs] I get to sit back, and it’s music that I love. Of course, most of it never sees the light of day, but I get to hear all of it. I really enjoy that part of it. It’s exciting and it’s blissful – I think you’ve got the right word.”
Let’s talk about your signature Gibson Les Paul.
“Oh, yes, that was very exciting. It was quite an honor when they picked me; of course, I’ve been shocked about everything that’s happened for me in the music business. [Laughs] I didn’t get into the music business till I was almost 30, so by that point, I figured that I was never going to. ‘My music must not be that good, or I would’ve had success a long time ago.’
“I’ve always been surprised by everything good that’s happened to me in the music business. That was one of the best things, I have to say, about getting a call from Gibson and having them say that they wanted to make a signature Tom Scholz Les Paul guitar. I was delighted and very excited. I’m in some very good company with that crowd.”