Singer’s last days detailed in court papers
Brad Delp was her “best friend,” someone she could turn to after a bad date, a breakup, or just a tough day. And for nearly 2½ years, Meg Sullivan also lived with the famed singer for the band Boston, staying in a spare bedroom at his house on Academy Avenue in Atkinson, N.H. By all accounts, the arrangement was platonic; Pamela Sullivan, Meg’s older sister, was Delp’s fiancee.
But the relationship between Delp and the Sullivan sisters took a dark turn on the morning of Feb. 28, 2007. That’s when Meg Sullivan discovered a hidden camera that Delp had placed in her bedroom. She confronted Delp and fled to her boyfriend’s place, marking the start of a personal crisis that appears to have dominated the last nine days of Delp’s life. On March 9, Pamela Sullivan found Delp, 55, dead in his bathroom. The deeply depressed singer had killed himself by lighting two charcoal grills and letting the carbon monoxide overtake him.
These previously unreported revelations regarding Delp’s relationship with Meg Sullivan have become a central piece of the now two-year-old defamation lawsuit filed by Boston founder Tom Scholz against the Boston Herald.
Following Delp’s death, Herald stories, quoting an interview with Delp’s former wife, Micki Delp, and material from unnamed sources, seemed to suggest that Scholz was to blame for Delp’s suicide. A week after his 2007 suicide, the Herald’s Inside Track writers Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa quoted Micki Delp in a piece with the headline, “Pal’s snub made Delp do it: Boston rocker’s ex-wife speaks.’’ They wrote about the conflicts between Scholz and past band members and stated that Micki Delp said her former husband was “upset over the lingering bad feelings from the ugly breakup of the band Boston over 20 years ago’’ and “driven to despair’’ by recent changes in the group. It was, the Herald reported, “the last straw in a dysfunctional professional life that ultimately led to the frontman’s suicide, Delp’s ex-wife said.’’
For the lawsuit, Herald attorneys point to voluminous testimony from former Boston members, other local musicians, Delp’s doctor, and Delp’s friends, including Meg Sullivan, many of whom say the singer didn’t like Scholz, desperately wanted to quit the band, and felt tormented by his role as middle man in an ugly conflict between Boston’s founder and former band members. All of this was summarized in a 140-page statement filed by the Herald in April.
Scholz’s attorneys argue that the guitarist didn’t cause Delp’s depression and that the singer’s personal problems — deepened by his fiancee’s affair in the summer of 2006 and the discovery of the hidden camera in her younger sister’s bedroom — led to his suicide.
Meg Sullivan, who now lives in California, did not respond to requests for an interview, but her taped depositions in the lawsuit, along with e-mails to and from Delp filed as evidence, shed new light on the tragic story of Delp and the complicated history of Boston, a band that soared to fame in the 1970s before becoming consumed by decades of conflict.
Scholz, a gawky MIT graduate, created much of the music on the band’s 1976 debut in his basement, layering guitars, keyboards, and Delp’s soaring vocals into an album that is still the second biggest-selling in US rock history. With hits such as “More Than a Feeling” and “Don’t Look Back,” the band — made up of Scholz, Delp, and three other musicians — went on to play sold-out arenas around the world.
But personality and business conflicts led to a series of lawsuits between Scholz and former members. Over the years, only Delp remained in Boston, which has continued to tour even after his death by hiring other singers.
In Delp’s last days, the crisis involving Meg Sullivan weighed heavily on him, according to legal filings examined by the Globe.
On Feb. 28, Meg Sullivan discovered the battery-powered camera in her bedroom when it fell into view. The next day, Delp wrote her an emotional e-mail saying, “I feel sick about this, and deservedly so.” She didn’t respond.
On March 2, Delp had a show with his Beatles tribute band, Beatlejuice, at the Sit ’n Bull pub in Maynard. Todd Winmill, Meg Sullivan’s boyfriend, was scheduled to work as a sound engineer for the show; Winmill had also been a sound man for Boston. Delp huddled in Winmill’s car before the gig, according to Winmill’s testimony.
“He essentially apologized for about a half-hour,” said Winmill. “And then I told him he had to tell Pamela. He didn’t like the thought of having to do that.”
At 2 a.m. on March 3, Delp e-mailed Meg Sullivan again, pleading for forgiveness.
“I want to try and make you understand that I consider myself a decent person who made a dreadful error in judgment,” wrote Delp. “I acted out of some impulse that is still not completely fathomable to me.”
He called his action an “aberration” and compared it to Pamela Sullivan’s affair the previous summer — an affair that emerged in previous testimony and was confirmed last year by Pamela Sullivan in a Globe interview. At one point, Delp had tried to set up tracking devices on her computer to catch her in an affair, but in the end, she admitted the infidelity and the two eventually made plans to get married.blog comments powered by Disqus