Saturday, March 17, 2007

So long, Brad Delp

I almost always do a little something to commemorate the musicians I admire when they die, and I finally got around to doing just that for Brad Delp.

I had this gut feeling that his death might have been a suicide. I found out when I was on the phone with my mother. She had the TV on, and she asked me, "how do I know the name Brad Delp?" I told her that he is the lead singer of the group Boston, and that he also sang in that Beatles tribute band called Beatle Juice who played an opening set in the movie theatre where we had seen the re-release of "A Hard Day's Night" back in, oh, I don't know... '99 maybe? Can't remember, too lazy to look it up. Anyway, she then remembered and said, "he was found dead in his apartment!"

It was a shock, being that he was so young -- the same age as my mother, only 55 years old. He was still active with both Beatle Juice and Boston. And who could fault that soaring voice of his? There have been other singers in Boston besides Brad, most notably Fran Cosmo, who came close to mimicking Brad but never quite made it. But Brad will always be the voice of Boston.

I remember being struck at how much he held back his distinctive wail when singing Beatles songs with Beatle Juice. The band didn't dress like the Beatles, or attempt to get the accents just right. They just played the music straight, and Brad sang to the songs, rather than injecting himself into the music. It was a breath of fresh air hearing such a personal yet respectful take on the music of the Beatles, and I wish I could have heard more than just that one short set.

I never did see a live Boston concert, due to Tom Scholz canceling the tour I had planned on checking out back when I was still in high school. Had to have been '94 or '95, after Walk On was released. It was to be a joint tour with Cheap Trick, and even though Brad didn't sing on the Walk On album, he was to be singing alongside Fran Cosmo on the tour, which to me was a very exciting prospect. Brad, Fran, Tom and Cheap Trick all in the same night! It was not to be. I remember the official explanation being that Tom had broken his hand, so since he couldn't play guitar with a broken hand, the tour was canceled. I'm pretty sure there was another explanation that was more truthful (again, too lazy to look it up -- help please?).

Anyway, last night I finally got around to spinning the first two Boston LPs, and maybe later I'll end the 'mourning period' with Third Stage. Brad had a couple of great tunes he wrote that appeared with Scholz's songs on those first two albums -- "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" on the first album, and "Used To Bad News" on Don't Look Back. Dig those out and give 'em a listen. Also, do yourself a favor and seek out Barry Goudreau's self-titled solo album, which has a hilarious tune called "Mean Woman Blues," in which Brad sings of being abused by a paranoid psycho bitch who believes her man is messing around when all he's doing is innocently walkin' around to get some air. She beats him senseless with tables and chairs, as well as her bare hands, saying, "in this house, female brutality has become a reality!" Ouch!

So long, Brad, and thanks for the music.

(NOTE: Reposted from my old myspace blog)

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