More than a feeling
March 9, 2007 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Brad Delp 1951-2007 Lead singer for the band Boston , dead at 55. "We've just lost the nicest guy in rock and roll." is all you will find at the band Boston's website
posted by lobstah (72 comments total)

 
Hmmm...lame.

I'm always curious about the cause of death with things like this. Drugs? Heart attack?

Sad, either way.
posted by Stunt at 5:15 PM on March 9, 2007


Sorry for the error... it should be "band's website", but I feel kind of old right now,... think I'll go grab a beer.
posted by lobstah at 5:17 PM on March 9, 2007


I'm more than (a) feeling this loss.
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:20 PM on March 9, 2007


DURR DURR DUR-DUR...



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posted by fire&wings at 5:24 PM on March 9, 2007


His engines have cooled.
posted by puke & cry at 5:24 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


.

"Its been such a long time
I think I should be goin, yeah
And time doesn't wait for me, it keeps on rollin
Sail on, on a distant highway
Ive got to keep on chasin a dream
Ive gotta be on my way
Wish there was something I could say."

Now the big decision is whether to go get those albums I grew up on, since I tossed the LPs out decades ago. And maybe grow my hair out again.

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posted by twsf at 5:26 PM on March 9, 2007


If you play "more than a feeling"'s chord changes backwards you get Nirvana's "Smeels like Teen Spirit"

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posted by sweet mister at 5:27 PM on March 9, 2007


I'm gonna take you by surprise
And make you realize
Angina
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:32 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


. and :-( A sore loss for the music community.
posted by WaterSprite at 5:36 PM on March 9, 2007


I am on the cusp of too young for Boston.

Once in the early 90's I was taking LSD with a slightly older guy at his house. As we started tripping, I put on a Frank Zappa CD. "No way, man," he said, and changed it to Boston. In fact, he changed it to the signature song "More Than a Feeling".

I was horrified, and that was the worst trip of my life.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:44 PM on March 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


melissa may and I have been listening to a lot of Boston lately trying to figure out how Brad Delp could sing so damn high. Seriously, it's amazing. And it's not falsetto, in "More Than a Feeling" there's only one note that he sings falsetto. Other than that, he's balls out hitting notes that would disturb dogs and possibly cause internal ear damage. RIP.
posted by sleepy pete at 5:54 PM on March 9, 2007


Corporate Rock and Death Still Suck.
posted by bardic at 6:02 PM on March 9, 2007


sad state of affairs that the singer of this band recieves more comments than Johnny Thunders
posted by dydecker at 6:05 PM on March 9, 2007


Johnny Thunders? Did he die again?
posted by keswick at 6:07 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


dydecker, please explain your comment.

And: damn. Boston was pretty good. Full of energy, lively music. RIP, Delp.
posted by davidmsc at 6:11 PM on March 9, 2007


ho ho. clever comment. but my point still stands. this band were rubbish through and through.
posted by dydecker at 6:11 PM on March 9, 2007


aw man, I'll have to play their album all weekend now.
posted by mathowie at 6:24 PM on March 9, 2007


A shame. I heard they were working on a third album.
posted by Eideteker at 6:25 PM on March 9, 2007


Scooped by mathowie AGAIN.
posted by Eideteker at 6:26 PM on March 9, 2007


this band were rubbish through and through.

WHAT? They had a spaceship shaped like a guitar, man!

A guitar.
posted by lekvar at 6:28 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well that sucks

RIP Brad

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posted by caddis at 6:29 PM on March 9, 2007


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posted by Ber at 6:31 PM on March 9, 2007


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posted by disclaimer at 6:43 PM on March 9, 2007


More Than a Feeling is a great song. For reals.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:20 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that the first Boston album can really be properly described as corporate rock. Isn't the legend that Brad made it in his basement and then no record corporation would touch it until he produced a band to go with it?

At any rate, a big "." for a great singer.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:26 PM on March 9, 2007


He closed his eyes and he slipped away.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:28 PM on March 9, 2007


Well, shit. :(

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posted by perilous at 7:29 PM on March 9, 2007


Bummer. As AOR went, they were pretty much the top of the heap, and Delp sang on their best stuff. RIP, dude.
posted by jonmc at 7:31 PM on March 9, 2007


More Than a Feeling is a great song. For reals.

It's also one of the best-veiled Louie Louie rewrites ever. Listen to the guitar after the big vocal crescendo.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 PM on March 9, 2007


Sorry - Tom Scholz founded Boston, of course, and then Hired Brad. Doesn't make him any less of a great singer, though.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:32 PM on March 9, 2007


Pointless trivia: Delp was making heating elements for Mr. Coffee machines when he met Tom Scholz.

More pointless trivia: Tom Scholz is 6 foot 5.

Okay, I'm going to bed.
posted by futility closet at 7:33 PM on March 9, 2007


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posted by BaxterG4 at 7:52 PM on March 9, 2007


Boston's hardly everyone's cup of tea, but Joey Michaels is right-- it's completely wrong to call them "corporate rock." It was two guys in a basement.

If they'd been that corporate, they'd have put out more than one album every 10-20 years. Think about it from a profit-maximization standpoint.

Like Jane Austen, they were terrific at what they did.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:54 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man Boston is havin' a crap year so far.
posted by MapGuy at 7:58 PM on March 9, 2007


This reminds me of the time when Boston beamed me up to their spaceship and we toured the galaxy, and we rocked everybody.
posted by spiderwire at 8:13 PM on March 9, 2007


it's completely wrong to call them "corporate rock." It was two guys in a basement.

Tom Sholz not only recorded the stuff in his house, he also created the line of Rockman distortion units and amplifiers because he couldn't get the sound he wanted out of his guitar equipment. He also had a master's from MIT. Nerds. Who. Rock.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:16 PM on March 9, 2007


Recently saw Boston as the special guest at an Extreme reunion show.
More useless Trivia. Brad was in Beatlejuice a Beatles tribute band, and Gary Cherone (of Extreme) is now in a Who tribute band...Oh how the mighty have fallen

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posted by Gungho at 8:18 PM on March 9, 2007


Wow. That sucks. In my opinion, Brad Delp had one of the greatest voices in rock history.

Steve Perry is up on that list too.

I always thought Tom Scholz was an amazing guitarist too. I think he also invented the "Sustainiac," which was a crazy piece of hardware. Almost as obnoxious as the wah-wah pedal.
posted by drstein at 8:31 PM on March 9, 2007


*Pours out 40 of Samuel Adams*
(while cranking "More Than a Feeling")
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 PM on March 9, 2007


That album was like the soundtrack to my childhood. Hitch a Ride always brings me back to an innocent time when my potential was limitless.

RIP Brad, but let your music rock on forever.
posted by any major dude at 9:54 PM on March 9, 2007


Wow, did I just write that? Hey the late seventies/early eighties were cheesy times, I guess thinking about Boston just brought me back there.

Now make God rock!
posted by any major dude at 10:01 PM on March 9, 2007


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posted by Duncan at 10:17 PM on March 9, 2007


Brad Delp: Best rock & roll singer (in terms of sheer quality of his vocals, not the character of his voice nor his on stage persona) of the entire 1970s.

Many people in this thread will snark about corporate rock, etc, but for some segment of the world, what Delp did in his lifetime will live on many decades beyond his time on earth, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of people alive right now.
posted by jonson at 12:01 AM on March 10, 2007


he also created the line of Rockman distortion units and amplifiers because he couldn't get the sound he wanted out of his guitar equipment.

And that tone sounds still like utter shite today. A true visionary.

RIP, Bradley.
posted by psmealey at 3:51 AM on March 10, 2007


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When Boston hit the charts with 'More Than a Feeling,' I was just thirteen, but the sound changed (my) rock and roll. It was a song I could turn up to eleven even if ma and or pa were in the car. I think they dug the harmonies.

Yes, classic radio beat Boston to death and that's why I tired of it, but I'll never forget the thrill of hearing "More..." or "Fourplay/Longtime" or "Smokin'" on the radio - that made me realize the thrill of rock. Especially the organ.

I will miss yah Brad. Although I can't go that high, thank you for making rock vocals something to aspire to.
posted by OneOliveShort at 3:57 AM on March 10, 2007


Corporate rock -- I guess so. I tend not to use such taxonomies. They're using Buzzcocks songs in AARP ads these days, so what's the point?

Boston had something I won't be able to describe well, and that's easy to lose in the awesome glare of Tom Sholz's production and the beauty of Brad Delp's voice. Unlike a lot of their arena rock brothers, there was always a quality of gentleness and humility in their songs. They wanted to be better men. They were always sweetly longing for girls -- Amanda and Hollyann and Magdalene -- telling them how pretty they were with their hair blowing in the wind, and how lonely they were for them, how it brought them to their knees. How they wanted them not just now but forever.

And then there's Marianne. God, what a performance, and really when you think about it, what a strange song. With those lyrics, really it ought to be some sad and folky little love song. Instead, it's gigantic, and when Delp skips about 11 notes above the root to sing about how she slipped away it's as big a moment as exists classic rock, and it's not about power and domination and confidence, it's about loneliness and thwarted desire. It's wistful arena rock. How on earth did they manage it so well?

So yes, I admired Delp for his voice, but also for the way he used it, for shameless romance. To sing, pretty damn loud, about the virtues of kindness. That he was the same in life as in his songs makes me admire him more. Peace to him and thanks from a girl who loves rock and kind boys both.
posted by melissa may at 4:03 AM on March 10, 2007 [23 favorites]



posted by Smart Dalek at 4:05 AM on March 10, 2007


i <-- That's me standing with my lighter aloft in tribute to melissa may's paean to Boston. I never really cared much for them (they were, in some ways, not prog enough and not rock enough), but credit where it is due. Melissa nailed it. Well done.
posted by psmealey at 4:09 AM on March 10, 2007


If I could hold a lighter up for Melissa I would too. Well said.
posted by OneOliveShort at 4:39 AM on March 10, 2007


Overlooked in the assimilation of Boston into the broader sweep of pop metal is that Scholz was the first major rock artist to bring digital technology and guitar-based rock and well-crafted pop songs into a tight synthesis. For those of us who were playing rock and roll in Boston in those days (I gave up many a brain cell in those years as a bass player in half a dozen bands in town) and also fucking around with early Lexicon and Eventide digital signal processors coming out of MIT-based research (where Scholz hung out), the *sound* of Boston was the shit. And I mean good shit. Decades on, it sounds overproduced and processed because everything now sounds like that. But back then, it was *fresh.* And beautiful. And it rocked.

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posted by fourcheesemac at 5:15 AM on March 10, 2007


freddie mercury: the greatest rock singer ever.
brad delp: guy who just got punched in the scrotum.
posted by quonsar at 5:20 AM on March 10, 2007


Scholz was the first major rock artist to bring digital technology and guitar-based rock and well-crafted pop songs into a tight synthesis.

You say that like it's a good thing. I really can't agree. Scholz's much lauded guitar tone, for example, sounded overly produced and sterile to me, even back then.

Brad Delp seemed like a nice man with an excellent rock voice, but let's not overstate the influence here. These guys were responsible for Foreigner.
posted by Flem Snopes at 5:29 AM on March 10, 2007


And that tone sounds still like utter shite today. A true visionary.


Well, yeah, but he made it, so crappy sound or not I still have to respect him for it.
posted by sleepy pete at 6:46 AM on March 10, 2007


Brilliant, melissa _may, just brilliant - the finest eulogy...
posted by twsf at 8:16 AM on March 10, 2007


Gary Cherone (of Extreme) is now in a Who tribute band...Oh how the mighty have fallen

Yeah, but Nuno is in a band with Perry Farrell. I don't know if they're actually any good, but at least he's done a little bit better job protecting his reputation than his former bandmate.
posted by psmealey at 8:39 AM on March 10, 2007


I had a roommate in college who was a drummer for a bunch of DIY indie/punk-type bands who loved Boston. I never understood why, and I never much liked them back then (like others, I thought they were sterile and overproduced), but all these years later, I understand.

They were great rock craftsmen. And, what melissa may said, to the nth power.

Rest in peace, Brad Delp.
posted by blucevalo at 9:32 AM on March 10, 2007


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posted by the_barbarian at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2007


Brad Delp was a talented singer. Tom Scholz is a hero for fighting against the corporate machine and winning through his own skill alone.

That said, Boston's utterly tedious. :-D I remember when these albums came out with all the hype about the technology we have repeated again above -- I heard this one and -- yawn. Competent musicians but completely lacking in soul. Even the lyrics are bland -- I mean, "More Than A Feeling" means exactly what? (Like "I get so Emotional" -- how bland a title can you get? "The Nourishment is Palatable"?) All this guitar work, each note perfectly mixed and distinct -- the "perfect" rock voice yet lacking in character.

Compare and contrast with, er, say, Led Zeppelin. Both are very similar in the way their music is put together, the high tenor rock voice against virtuouso arpeggiated guitar, heavy rhythm section, with a hyperproduced sound on album.

But there the similarity ends. Each Zeppelin song has a distinct emotional sensation that's being conveyed, whether it's the paranoid Dazed and Confused, the Tolkeinesque ballads like Stairway to Heaven, alcohol-infused laid back in D'Ya Make Her, or even classical heroic in Achilles Last Stand.

I don't get that from Boston. "Prove me wrong, kids, prove me wrong!"

Zeppelin springs to mind as I've purchased a couple of astonishing live albums of theirs over the last few years, "How the West Was Won" being particularly strong. There's a live version of "Whole Lotta Love" (emotional sensation: fucking) that's all of 25 minutes long -- and it's a tour de force. (Spoiler alert: if you like surprising material.)

They launch into it, a song they had to have performed hundreds of times by then, as if they are trying to batter down the gates of heaven and then jump into a wild guitar/theremin delay solo that sounds completely modern 30 years later, but then after a trip into noise they suddenly calm right down, and do this strange little tour of classic mid-tempo blues songs, a verse and chorus of two or three different songs, nice and quiet, the band effortlessly shifting from one feel to the next and then suddenly, apparently without warning the band goes into the famous raging call-and-response guitar solo that introduces the last verse and chorus, I jumped with surprise!

They'll never release live Boston albums like this. That's because they were famous -- or notorious -- for exactly reproducing their albums note-for-note when they toured.

:-( I didn't intend to rag on the dead, just exercising my desire to write about music. Oh, well.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:35 AM on March 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Flem Snopes: These guys were responsible for Foreigner.

And Nirvana's responsible for Creed. So fucking what?

And melissa may, that was beautiful. Thanks for posting that.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2007


Useless trivia: believe that I heard years ago that Boston's "3rd Stage" was the first compact-disc to be certified as platinum. Just a matter of timing, yeah, but possibly worthy as a Jeopardy! answer.
posted by davidmsc at 11:40 AM on March 10, 2007


Well, I hate to harsh my own mellow and it is strange because I love Led Zeppelin, most specifically Robert Plant, like it were 1975, when the man couldn't leave the house without women falling on him like curvy hail. I won't mince words: he brings me to my knees. It takes a special genius to be able to make one feel like a beautiful lady feeding a unicorn in a tapestry and then contemplate what exactly a back door man is, and how can you find one as soon as possible.

But who is Robert Plant? Robert Plant himself could only manage it briefly before turning his hand to mellow adult rock and wearing white ice cream suits like Bryan Ferry. That's a godlike power and that he survived it at all is astonishing. Most of us never have even a whisper of such charisma. Brad Delp and Boston certainly didn't. But what did they do to make up for it? Again, unlike a lot of their arena rock pals they did not mask their deficiencies with hollow strutting. They learned the hell out of production and their craft and they made their humble case to be loved. They were nice guys. That is no small achievement and it deserves better than to be compared to a greatness most of us could not touch or sustain.
posted by melissa may at 12:10 PM on March 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


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'More than a feeling' was one of the first songs I ever really loved as a kid. On K-Tel's 'The ROCK Album', no less.

Years later, when I got my first CD player, Boston was the first CD I bought.

It was really cool to find out that Scholtz was a geek, and a rocker.

I was never a 'trufan', never saw them in concert. But I've never stopped liking the music.

And now I feel old.

Gonna hitch a ride
Head for the other side
Leave it all behind
Never change my mind
Gonna sail away
Sun lights another day
Freedom on my mind
Carry me away for the last time...

RIP
posted by bitmage at 7:13 PM on March 10, 2007


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posted by deCadmus at 7:41 PM on March 10, 2007


RIP Brad. I drooled over Boston when I was 9. But then the lame 96 ROCK SCREAMING REDNECK MORNING SHOWS AND PLAY IT TO DEATH stations made me hate the band. I realize it's the stations I hate, but once it's worn, it's worn. I bet any $ if I flipped on the classic rock station they'll be playing Boston nonstop for a week. Which would be different from only playing them 4 times a day. /end rant.
posted by yoga at 5:47 AM on March 11, 2007


Let us not forget that even though many call Boston "corporate rock" Sholz has kicked in MILLIONS of dollars to political and humanitarian causes. And from I've heard, Delp was pretty giving as well. Lots of bands talked the talk but Scholz walked the walk.
posted by Ber at 5:11 PM on March 11, 2007


"THANKS, BOSTON! YOU GUYS ROCK!"
posted by spiderwire at 7:03 PM on March 11, 2007


Not so much corporate rock as slickly produced garage rock. The interesting part was that Sholz was the driver here, from his basement. They made some great music, and it brings back some great memories of high school when I hear it, in part because my best friend in high school was a huge, huge Boston fan. There was no escape, but, you know, they were pretty good so that was fine.
posted by caddis at 7:30 PM on March 11, 2007


I had a roommate in college who was a drummer for a bunch of DIY indie/punk-type bands who loved Boston.

I find that to be astonishing. They always seemed like a competent, but ultimately bland middle of the road arena rock band (like Journey and Styx). But, based on how Melissa May recalls them, maybe a reason for this connection is that Boston was proto-emo. Otherwise I'm clueless. I once played with a bunch of Brooklyn punk rockers who had an inexplicable and very strange obsession with Molly Hatchet.

Btw, I thoroughly enjoyed the way she described Robert Plant above. It's probably been at least a couple of decades since anyone captured his Plant's magnetism so well with the printed word.

I still love Led Zeppelin, they stood out in such stark contrast to the sensitive boy soft rockers of the 70s. Guys who wrote such beautful, wistful odes about love, respect and tenderness, while at the same time, banging groupies like it was the end of the world. Zeppelin may have had a lot of faults, but at least they were honest about what they came for.
posted by psmealey at 12:03 PM on March 12, 2007


I learned how to play all my instruments and sing from playing along with Boston's first two albums, before Eddie Van Halen took me to the next level. I don't give a crap whether people call the music "bland" or whatever, it vibes with me and obviously millions of other people, and that's all that matters to me. Plus, learning to sing like Brad Delp was a very good thing to do.

Well said, melissa_may. RIP, Brad.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:09 PM on March 12, 2007


I had a roommate in college who was a drummer for a bunch of DIY indie/punk-type bands who loved Boston.

I find that to be astonishing.
posted by psmealey


Growing up I had several friends who were in hardcore/punk bands who loved boston. They cut across pretty easily. Not astonishing at all.

Thanks for the memories guys.
posted by justgary at 1:08 AM on March 14, 2007


UPDATE: the Boston Globe is reporting that the Delp Family has disclosed that Brad's death was a Suicide.
posted by Gungho at 12:46 PM on March 14, 2007


Carbon monoxide poisoning, self-inflicted. Very fucking sad.

Incidentally, I had some friends down from Boston for my 40th birthday this past weekend. They told me they had seen Beatlejuice as recently as a few months ago, and they were incredible.
posted by psmealey at 3:29 PM on March 14, 2007


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