The Hippo


Jun 4, 2020








Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room
When: Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m. 
Where: Tupelo, 10 A St., Derry
Tickets: $30-$35 at

Classic rocker
Boston guitarist brings new band to Tupelo


 By Michael Witthaus
The cover of Boston’s first album, a picture of an upturned guitar with rocket flames bursting from the sound hole, was an apt metaphor for what the band did to the music business. Sales were stratospheric; it broke all records for a debut and also turned a group of bar musicians into arena headliners overnight.  
Because the record was made mostly in the basement studio of guitarist and production wizard Tom Scholtz, the band had not played live much before its release and didn’t have proper equipment. Guitarist Barry Goudreau recalls being caught off guard by instant success and scrambling to remedy the situation.
“We got the bargain hunter’s guide and jumped in [drummer] Sib Hashian’s van and went from place to place,” Goudreau said in a recent phone interview. “We bought amplifiers and drums and all the pieces of gear that we needed, and then we started rehearsals.”  
Realizing they needed help setting up the stage, they recruited roadies from people hanging out in the Cambridge practice space. 
“That is pretty much how we got our early personnel,” Goudreau said. 
The growing pains were quick and harsh. At their first arena show, they opened for Heart and Jeff Beck, using an untested mixer. 
“We were literally auditioning somebody at the show,” Goudreau said. 
Their onstage monitors sounded good; Beck watched from the wings and liked the results. 
“He said, ‘You know, I heard your record and I was thinking how are these guys going to be able to reproduce this live, but yeah, you did a really good job,’ I couldn’t believe we pulled that off.” 
What the audience heard wasn’t close to that, though. 
“It was terrible,” Goudreau said. “We were looking out in the crowd and they all had this look on their face like, what the hell is going on?”
As their LP raced up the charts, Boston worked out the kinks in their live sound. 
“It was kind of like two different worlds,” Goudreau said. “Our small group trying to pull it together and put on a decent show, and the industry was talking about this biggest best thing that has ever happened. Kind of a dichotomy there.”
Beyond his time in Boston, Goudreau has played in a few different projects, beginning with a 1980 solo disc that included band mate Brad Delp on lead vocals. Orion The Hunter came in 1984, with Delp’s eventual replacement in Boston, singer Fran Cosmo. Delp and Goudreau reunited 1991, forming RTZ; the two released a duo album in 2003. Goudreau also made blues music with Ernie and the Automatics, and played lead guitar in Manchester singer Lisa Guyer’s band.
His latest project is Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room, which released Full Steam Ahead last year. It’s a throwback project, inspired by playing Jimi Hendrix covers with Jonny Lang a few years ago. 
“It got a standing ovation and I thought, this is what I should be doing,” he said. 
The group includes a trio of female vocalists. 
“I was kind of looking back to late ’60s and early ’70s when acts like Delaney & Bonnie and Derek & the Dominoes were kind of recycling the American blues into a new form,” Goudreau said. “I loved the idea of the female voices so we made the girls a permanent part of the band, and it has worked out great.”
An upcoming Tupelo Music Hall show is career-spanning, an exciting prospect. 
“The great part for me is this is the first time I’ve gone up and played music from all the different acts that I have had,” he said. “It’s especially compelling for me because most of that stuff I’ve never really performed live.”
He’s enthused about the relocated Tupelo. 
“It’s fantastic; they did such a great job,” Goudreau said. “The old venue was cool but this … the sight lines, sound and backstage are great.”
In recent years, tragedy has shattered the Boston alumni. Last winter, Sib Hashian died onstage as he was performing with Goudreau on a cruise ship.  
“I met Sid back when I was 15, so we had 50 years of being best friends and musical band mates; that was really devastating,” he said, adding that doctor had cleared Hashian to travel after an earlier bout of cancer. “It was a chance for us to take our wives out and have a paid vacation, all the other acts on the tour were friends. … We really looked forward to doing it every year, and I didn’t see it coming at all.”
Lead singer Delp took his own life in 2007. 
“Suicide is a real tough thing to deal with as survivors, because we all think back and wonder why we didn’t see it,” Goudreau said.  

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