Thursday, March 15, 2007

Brad Delp RIP and Tom Scholz Posting

It's old news by now that Boston's lead singer, Brad Delp, died last week by his own hand. Which is shocking, because by all accounts he seemed to be such as good natured, well balanced guy. Anyway, there has been a lot in the press about it. The most insightful thing I read was a posting by Tom Scholz on the Boston Web site. Since I am not sure how long the post will stay up, here it is reprinted here:

Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has asked me for some recollections about my experiences with Brad. An edited version of the reply I sent him appeared on rollingstone.com with questions inserted in the text. Here is the complete unedited note I sent to Andy:

Andy,

Thank you for allowing me to answer your questions by e-mail. I haven't been in the mood to talk to talk to people much for the last few days as you might imagine, but I appreciate you turning to me for this. Brad and I were friends and collaborators for 35 years. Both of us being vegetarians, non-drug users and more interested in music than money, put us in a very small minority in the music business; our bond ran much deeper than just BOSTON music. In answer to your questions:

I met Brad, soft spoken and unassuming, when he auditioned in a recording studio outside of Boston one night to sing several songs I had written. Back then in the early seventies recording a song demo meant coming up with a significant amount of money, several weeks of my day job savings, to buy a few hours of 8 track time.

Having endured countless sessions with other singers, most with undeserved egos, I had only the faintest glimmer of hope that he might be good enough to squeak by as a suitable vocalist.

He didn't warm up; he just listened to the prerecorded instrument track once. Then he started to sing. I don't know if it took two seconds or three, but before he finished singing the first line I knew that some guardian angel had just delivered to me one of the best vocalists ever to step up to a microphone! Then he kept going and I realized he wasn't just one of the best, he was amazing! High notes I hadn't heard before followed by harmonies, and overdubbed exact duplicate layered tracks, all with ease, all with emotion, and yet all technically precise.

Before we left that night he had rewritten the lyrics and the melody, sung all the vocal parts, and with the magic of his voice turned my stark guitar riff into a song! From that moment on I only hoped I could write and record music worthy of his attention and interpretation.

There were soulful notes that pulled you into the song, stratospheric screams and angelic high notes, and after hitting these record breaking notes he'd go back and sing a harmony part above it! He didn't rehearse any of these parts, he could jump back and forth between harmony parts, double tracking parts, and then go back and do it again exactly the same with one tiny change, adjusting all the other singing parts to fit with bionic accuracy.

You'd think anyone with this super human talent would be an insufferable egomaniac. But Brad was just the opposite, and amazingly he remained honestly humble in spite of the incredible star pressure that followed BOSTON's success.

Brad and I banged our heads against the wall trying to get a break with record companies for five years. During that time he and I did a lot of basement recording; we received absolutely zero recognition locally and complete rejection submitting our demos to national record labels. I think this experience put our future success in perspective as we both realized that after so many years of insult, we were just very lucky to be able to record and play music above ground! Unlike many other individuals eventually involved with BOSTON, Brad's down to earth personality never wavered; it was his natural demeanor.

When someone asked me what Brad was like, the first words that always came to mind were "nice guy." Oddly, his incredible performing abilities seem barely worth mentioning compared to his attributes as a human being. He was soft spoken yet very quick and funny. Although I rarely remember seeing him in the throws of a good belly laugh, he could keep the people around him in stitches effortlessly, and did so on a daily basis. When he wasn't making someone laugh, or giving his time to a fan, he was a tireless worker, both in the studio and on stage.

He and I had a very strong personal connection because of our moral beliefs, yet we were drastically different kinds of people. While I am rebellious and easily provoked to an unyielding defense, Brad was passive and studiously non confrontational.

Somehow over the years I think we both grew not only to accept this in each other, but to respect it; I think this is part of the reason we were able to work together for so much of our lives. In an odd parallel we were also opposites in the studio. Once Brad would laid down a vocal track he became instantly committed to it and would dig in if challenged, whereas I would want to change everything and never be sure. We were usually at odds on how vocal arrangements should go also, which in early years caused heated debates. Later we both developed such respect for each other's abilities that the collaboration, so important to the eventual outcome of BOSTON's music, became much easier. It was largely my music, but it was Brad who brought it to life, and this struggle we both had to endure was part of what made it so many people's favorite.

I last saw Brad at rehearsal last month where we prepared several old and new songs for our upcoming summer shows. These are my fondest memories, playing music with my friend and the greatest singer in rock and roll.

Andy, Brad and I have been used and abused throughout our adult life by the music business, it continues even in his death. Please do the right thing with this. Sorry I wrote you a tome. Tom Scholz

4 comments:

VoxMoose said...

Hat's off to Brad Delp. A very nice tribute by Scholtz.

I looked out this morning
And the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

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