Sunday, March 11, 2007

God Bless Brad Delp

Lead singer for Boston, Brad Delp, died yesterday at 55. Yes, we did just lose the nicest guy in rock and roll.
When I played as a member of the East Coast tour band, Primadonna, my drummer and friend was Ben Mason. Ben's father was a Technical Writer in Washington, DC and friends with Jack Hashian--father of Boston's drummer, Sib Hashian. Ben also knew Sib through some of his earlier years prior to Boston. An aside was that Jack Hashian was reputed to have written The Eiger Sanction under the name Trevanian.
Long way around, I know, but I have a tie in. Whenever Sib was in town, he and his dad would make sure we (our entire band) had tickets and back stage passes for at least one of the shows. They typically played the Capitol Centre in Largo, MD, and would sell out every time.
Meanwhile, I was published as a songwriter with Columbia/Screen Gems. My mentor, Irwin Schuster, a VP with the company signed Boston's publishing by giving each of them $500,000 before they had released a single song. Turned out to be an amazing investment.
Without ever having much direct contact with this amazingly successful band, my life just happened to intertwine a bit. And on occasion I got to see them literally up close and personal.
On June 18, 1979, Boston played the last date of their huge first tour. They'd been on and off the road for something like 18 months, touring the world. I believe they had just come back from Japan. Tom Scholz told us they chose to close the tour at the Capitol Centre because DC audiences were the best (a nice thing to say, whether or not it was true). Their favorite warm up act, a relatively unknown singer from Montrose, opened the show. His name was Sammy Hagar.
After seeing the show from the 12th row, I made my way backstage with my friends and bandmates. Most everyone had blown out by the time I got there, but Brad was hanging out talking. It was the last show of a very long tour, and he stood there for almost a half-an-hour. He talked shop about the tour and how he took care of his incredible voice, signed autographs for us, and just spent time talking to us like we were old frieinds--which we really weren't. For me, he set the gold standard for how to handle fans. He--and for that matter, all of Boston--were some very nice people in a very nasty business.
Godspeed, Brad. Thank you for all that you gave to us.