From Boston to the RGV: Tommy DeCarlo bringing his band to McAllen

Members of DECARLO include Tommy DeCarlo,Tommy DeCarlo Jr., Dan Hitz, David Netta, Payton Velligan and Christian Sturt. | Courtesy photo

Tommy DeCarlo has come a long way since donning a Home Depot apron.

After his daughter, Talia DeCarlo uploaded a video of him singing along to a Boston song on MySpace, the North Carolina native has performed alongside the American rock band on stage.

DeCarlo’s unlikely rise to fame has brought him to many stages across the country to perform in front of thousands of people, and he will be bringing his own band, DECARLO, to McAllen’s Cine El Rey theater on Saturday.

“What you are going to hear at the DECARLO show is a combination of classic rock, melodic rock,” DeCarlo said, who formed his band in 2012 with his son, Tommy Jr. “They are rock songs that stayed with me from my childhood through all those years.

“There will be some Boston songs, then other classics, including Foreigner, STYX, Journey, along with a couple of originals.”

The album, titled “Lightning Strikes Twice,” is set to be released on Jan. 24.

DeCarlo said that he never had the dream of being in a band; the only vocal training he had before joining Boston was from his choir group in middle school.

Boston’s founder, Tom Scholz, has said that he was impressed with DeCarlo’s vocal abilities.

“In order to believe it, we had to plug the computer into some big speakers,” Scholz said in an interview with Good Morning America in 2007. “So I could listen to the background music to see if it was the band, and then I realized it wasn’t.”

At this time, the band struggled to continue producing music after the death of their lead singer, Brad Delp. The 55-year-old took his own life on March 9, 2007.

DeCarlo’s karaoke video, which he did not expect to reach the band, came in time for the tribute show for Delp.

DeCarlo and his family — his son, daughter and wife, Annie DeCarlo — were flown to Boston to practice with the band. The first song DeCarlo sang with the Boston band was “Smokin,” which was the first song he sang at the 2007 show with a crowd of more than 5,000 people.

“I was very, very nervous backstage, listening to the other bands,” DeCarlo recalled. “Then suddenly, Tom called my name out and I did not really know what to do. So I just walked out on stage.

“After the performance, I had a moment backstage alone. I broke down for a minute because I was so amazed by what had just happened, but I was also so emotional because of the reason I was there.”

After the concert, DeCarlo filed back home and returned to his job as credit manager at his local Home Depot.

“I thought that I was just there for the tribute,” DeCarlo said. “That was my 15 minutes of fame, and I was content with it. If it ended right there, I would have been more than happy.”

But Tom had big plans for DeCarlo.

A couple of weeks after the tribute, Tom called DeCarlo asking him to join them on tour the next year — an offer DeCarlo did not hesitate a second to say yes to.

“It has been everything I thought it might be, and more,” DeCarlos said about being a member of a rock band. “Joining was an easy fit and transition for me. Some people think that in some cases, going from a regular day job to being a member of a legendary rock band would be crazy, but it wasn’t.”

DECARLO
The rock band brings its Lightning Strikes Twice 2020 North American Tour to the Rio Grande Valley. Ratchet Dolls will open the show.
WHEN 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE Cine El Rey, 311 S. 17th St., McAllen
COST $30 at the door, or online at squareup.com/store/cine-el-rey-theatre