Indiana native and bass player for Boston, Tracy Ferrie on growing up in Indiana and Boston’s visit to Klipsch Music Center, July 2, for their 2017 Hyper Space Tour
Many of us still remember the Blizzard of ‘78. Others have heard about its myth, shutting the schools down for weeks; snow squalls blocking doors and piling up to rooftops. We spent our time indoors, catching up on books or listening to our favorite rock station. All we needed was an escape and tried our best not to get cabin fever. But with the brutal temperatures and the snow levels, it was impossible to avoid. That storm was the ultimate testament to winter survival. It was also a bond between the New Englanders and the Midwesterners as we all were in the same boat—stuck. One of several bonds Boston bassist Tracy Ferrie has between the New England states and Indiana.
“I remember the newscaster saying don’t go outside. It was like 20 below. They told people if they went out, officials could not be responsible for their well being. It was crazy. Being the kid employed at a roller rink, I had to shovel out the snow to get the skaters back in there so we could make our bills and they could get out of the house and be in a warm place.”
Ferrie spent a lot of time at the roller rink. He grew up in Elkart, Indiana, and was naturally immersed in the roller skating scene because his parent’s owned the rink. Practice and diligence allowed him to become a national champion roller skater. It also taught him perseverance for other things in life including music. Heavily influenced by classical music and classic rock (simply rock at the time), the songs that shaped his personal culture included Boston.
“I first heard the debut Boston record at my parent’s roller rink,” he recalls. “It was put on cover to cover, and it blew my mind. The quality of the songwriting, the production, and then today, you cannot turn on the radio or go somewhere and not hear the music of Boston being played. It’s timeless. The sound quality holds up to anything people are producing today.”
Boston Hyper Space Tour
Boston will be making a stop at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana on July 2 as a part of their Hyper Space tour. Joining the tour for this stop is Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. For Ferrie, his childhood is equally inspired by the town he’s coming back to.
“We roller skated in Noblesville. I was part of their skating club after my father passed away. He was my coach. After he was gone, my mom sought out other coaches, and we had to travel sometimes to get lessons for my brother and I. We used to go down there every weekend, sometimes staying overnight. I spent a lot of time in Noblesville.
“I will have some warm fuzzies going back to that town. To return and do the thing I love is priceless. And to do it at this level as a part of Boston is incredible. They are the soundtrack to so many people’s lives growing up. That perfect drive down the road. You have that music on, and you are playing air keyboards on the dashboard to “Smokin’. There is nothing quite like it.”
Boston on their Hyper Space Tour
How did Ferrie get from a kid listening to his dad’s classical albums to being the bass player in Boston? Growing up, his uncle also worked at the roller rink. At times, he would spend the night with him. Ferrie was fascinated with his uncle’s giant speaker that was hotwired into an amplifier. To him it was like a monument. Although his uncle never played the guitar, he let Ferrie tinker around with it.
“I just felt that magic of something loud in your hands. I didn’t know how to make music, but I could make some cool noises with that amplifier. For Christmas, I got that guitar.”
Immersed in the “band instrument capital of the world,” in fourth grade, he joined the school band and picked up the tuba. As he progressed, his band director realized Ferrie’s potential and gave him motivation that, after high school, landed him as a student in the Berklee School of Music. He moved to Los Angeles to attend The Music Institute of Technology and joined some local bands with the hopes his career would take off. What this experience most notably led to was his involvement in the band Stryper, along with work with Whitecross and Guardian. He spent years traveling the world with these bands.
A new opportunity was presented to him in 2009 that involved meeting Tom Scholz.
Tom Scholz, photo by Kamal Asar
“Stryper were in the midst of recording Murder By Pride. On the album we did a cover of “Peace of Mind.” Scholz played on that recording. That was the only time Tom has played on another band’s record. It was pretty special not to just do a great song like that but to have the artist himself play on the track.
“There was that incredible tragedy in Rhode Island with the band Great White. Soon after, many bands got together to form a benefit called The Station Nightclub Fire Benefit. Stryper was asked to do the show. Tom was also contacted, so Tom and Gary Pihl came and joined Stryper. It was recorded on VH1. We performed our rendition of that song. That is when I first officially met Tom. As the story goes there was some technical difficulties during our performance, and it could have been disastrous. I held down the rhythm section and it was noted. So maybe a year later. Tom called and asked me to join for the 2012 tour. I went up to the rehearsal place and started my career with Boston.”
Although Boston shines in the studio, giving many people a reason to call their debut album one of the best albums in rock and roll history, their live show is un forgettable. With the Hyper Space tour, Boston will incorporate new lighting effects, designed by Scholz, taking their hits to an all new dimension. There is an organic experience piecing the rhythms, the harmonies and the incredible choruses together, all forming a powerful entity right in front of you.
Boston Live, photo by Jon Viscott
“To be a part of a live show. You don’t have my perspective seeing the faces. You can see the memories just going through their mind as you are playing this music and faithfully reproducing it as the record but in a live setting and with the energy and real people playing every note. Boston was one of those bands that everything you hear coming out of the speakers are coming from the people on stage. There is nothing electronic going on or pre-recorded.”
Ferrie holds these elements dear to his heart. He is grateful for the opportunity to see the world as a musician. Now living in Cape Cod, he looks back at Indiana with happiness. He enjoys reminiscing about those summer days splashing around some Northern Indiana lake or water skiing across polished waters. It is one of his favorite memories. When he takes the stage July 2 and looks out into a Hoosier crowd hungry to be launched into the cosmos of rock and roll splendor, he will be reliving some happy memories right along with all of us.