By ROBERT DiGIACOMO
Where lead singers for other classic rock bands have faltered, Brad Delp has found staying power as the voice of Boston for nearly 30 years.
Other than Boston founder Tom Scholz, Delp is the only original member still in the band, which is known for hits like "More Than A Feeling" and "Amanda."
"I've been lucky over the years," says Delp, who appears with the band j17
8 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. "They set up a microphone - all I have to do is sing and stay healthy."
Usually, the band would take a hiatus of several years after a tour, but Scholz - who is also the band's guitarist, producer and chief songwriter - wanted to build on the momentum of having several new members on board.
With new members Kimberley Dahme and Anthony Cosmo writing songs for the group, Boston is likely to head to the studio at the end of August to follow up its 2002 release "Corporate America."
"The tour went really well last summer - that's one of the reasons we're out this summer," Delp says. "I think Tom is really pleased with the lineup we have now."
To talk about Boston is to talk about Scholz, who has charted the band's course since its 1975 founding.
The M.I.T.-trained engineer, who invented the popular Rockman amplifier, was so meticulous about the band's power rock sound that he sued CBS Records for the right to release albums on his schedule.
Sales helped reinforce Scholz's point: The band's 1976 debut has sold nearly 18 million copies - making it the best-selling debut album - while the follow up, released two years later, sold only six million copies.
"He won the suit, but it cost him a lot of time and a lot of money to make his point," Delp says. "For him, it was a matter of principle. He felt like when the second record came out, there was a lot of pressure to release that one. He was kind of disappointed with it ... he wished he had more time on it.
"From that point on, he said, 'I don't want to do this again and have to release something before I'm happy with it.' In some sense it's not really a career move to say I'm going to wait five or six years to release a record, so I admire his integrity for that."
Having gained creative control of Boston, Scholz took eight years before releasing the band's next release, "Third Stage," which went to No. 1 in 1986 and yielded major hits like "Amanda" and "We're Ready."
That established a pattern of long breaks while Scholz perfected the band's music. During one of those breaks in the early 1990s, Delp was working on RTZ, a side project with former Boston member Barry Goudreau, so Scholz brought in Fran Cosmo as a lead singer for the 1994 "Walk On" album; today, Cosmo and Delp share lead singer duties.
"It's worked out pretty well," Delp says. "Anyone who comes to a Boston show lately will notice we do everything in the original keys. My voice thankfully has held up ... but there are a couple of high notes in 'More Than a Feeling' that are no longer in my vocal vocabulary. Those are assigned to Franny - he nails them every night. It's a good combination. I wouldn't want to go out without him. We have a healthy relationship. There's no egos in the band, either."
While Delp considers Boston his musical day job, he is passionate about his current side project: He's also the lead singer in a Beatles tribute band called Beatlejuice.
"I grew up with them obviously - I was the perfect age when they came on Ed Sullivan," Delp recalls. "I saw them in '66 at Suffolk Grounds outside of Boston. I've seen Paul McCartney numerous times.
"That's how I learned to play music. I don't have any formal training. All the bands I've been in since I was a kid, I've always been the singer. My job in high school was to learn all the harmonies and teach it to all the guys in the band. I have to credit them largely for my musical education."
Whether he's singing a song by the Beatles or Boston, Delp can't help but notice the power of the music to take him - and an audience - back to a certain time and place in their lives.
"The Beatles band makes me feel like a 15-year-old again," he says. "When you're in the middle of those songs, you go right back to where you were when you first heard them. Boston makes me feel 25 again because that's what I was when we did the first record.
"I would never compare anything I do to the Beatles, except when you go out, you realize people in the audience who go to Boston shows, a lot of them grew up to that stuff. There's also a fair amount of ebony porn younger kids who come see the band. I see parents with their kids. It doesn't look like either one of them had to drag the other to the show." blog comments powered by Disqus