By Tom Watts
Macomb Daily Staff Writer
Boston, one of the most popular live acts in rock 'n' roll history, will perform July 27 at the Jerome-Duncan Ford Theatre at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, in a concert sponsored by The Macomb Daily.
Brad Delp lives 25 minutes north of where he grew up in Boston and still plays at his high school class reunions with his first garage band.
But this year Delp, the original lead singer of the band Boston, probably won't make his 35th class reunion. Instead he and Boston will be on a 30-city North American tour that comes to the Jerome-Duncan Ford Theatre at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights on July 27.
"I don't think we'll make it this year," said Delp, who kicked off the 2004 tour on July 13 in Glenn Falls, N.Y. "The band (The Iguanas) played our 25th and 30th reunions, but the tour might keep me away this year."
After a successful world tour last year to promote Boston's latest release, "Corporate America," the 2004 live campaign will again reunite Delp with Tom Scholz, the band's original guitarist, producer and songwriter.
In addition to Delp and Scholz, the band is joined by bassist Kimberley Dahme, guitarist Anthony Cosmo, vocalist Fran Cosmo, keyboardist Gary Pihl, and drummer Jeff Neal.
"I never thought in 1976 that we'd be out still in the new millennium," said Delp, 53. "We are very lucky. To hear us play 'Rock and Roll Band' and to have people singing along is great. Thank goodness for classic rock."
Delp admits he has a 6-CD changer in his car and keeps the same "classic music" intact for months. He said his CD changer is currently stocked with Steely Dan's "Everything Must Go" and Bob Dylan's "Biography," as well as George Harrison's "Brain Washed" and Frank Sinatra's "Live in Paris" from 1962.
"I was at the perfect age in 1964 when I was 13," Delp said in a phone interview from his New Hampshire home last week. "It was the start of the British Invasion. And it was the start of Motown -- Stevie Wonder as vocalist."
Delp said the band credits Detroit fans with helping put them on the road to stardom.
"I know in August 1976 we came out with 'Long Time' and I remember playing Cobo Arena," Delp recalled. "I'm sure we played a small club in Detroit, too. At the time they kept adding shows to our tour, which ended up being 10 months long. We went from playing mid-size clubs to venues that kept getting larger. People were singing along with us in Detroit. I was surprised because it had only been a couple months since 'Long Time' was out. It was dizzying in a pleasant way."
Boston still holds sales records for its debut album in 1976 which sold more than 18 million copies in the United States and Canada. Delp said the band pioneered the art of recording a major release in a "homebuilt" studio, and is the only band to record consecutive multi-platinum albums in their basement. Yet the group has never made a music video for American release or performed in front of a live television audience.
Still, such songs like 1985's "Amanda," "More Than a Feeling," and "Don't Look Back," each shared time at the top of the music charts.
"There was some talk on last year's tour of doing a video, but this year we're trying to set up things to film a few of these summer shows," Delp said. "Ultimately, the video rests with Tom (Scholz). He writes a majority of what we do. We haven't avoided it.
"The live approach is one thing. We did a couple videos early on. 'More Than Feeling' was a lip sync video. And Tom always hated the idea of lip syncing. He did it on agreement it would not be released in America."
When Delp is not touring or recording with Boston, and when he's not playing with garage bands like the Iguanas and the Monks, he is playing Beatles music in his band Beatle Juice.
"Music has always been part of the ebony porn family," he said. "There was music in the house, and my dad played the fiddle. One played guitar. My cousins played the spoons. My older sister was into Elvis and Buddy Holly. So we had the influence."
Delp said the band's name, Boston, was first suggested by John Boylan, who co-produced the first record. The name was a better than the group's original name, "Mother's Milk," he said.
"This year's band is the best lineup we've had. All seven people in the band are able to sing well. And with the advent of ear monitors to hear each other, the sound the audience hears is incredible."
Boston will perform at 7:30 p.m. July 27 at the Jerome-Duncan Ford Theatre at Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights, on Metropolitan Parkway east of Schoenherr. The show is sponsored by The Macomb Daily. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets, phone at (248) 645-6666 or by calling the box office at (586) 268-5100.