Tribute to Brad Delp - The Golden Voice of Boston
“All I want is to have my peace of mind…yeah!!...”
I remember when I first heard of the untimely and shocking death of Brad Delp – the “golden voice” of Boston, my favorite rock band of all times. I was reading about it on the internet and felt a hard lump in my throat and a sickening sinking in my stomach. Brad Delp WAS Boston – and suddenly, the man I really never knew anything about, was more than just a man behind a microphone – he was someone I wanted to get to know better – even in death.
So I combed the internet to find out the details of his death, and what I found out more than disturbed me – it confused me, as well. Brad Delp committed suicide by strapping himself between two charcoal grills and letting the poisonous fumes suffocate him, the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. http://www.wmur.com/entertainment/11253135/detail.html He left a suicide note attached to his shirt stating he was a “lonely soul”. Imagine that – with all the fame and fortune that made Boston a rock icon in the 70’s , Brad Delp was a “lonely soul”. I didn’t understand, at first – until I started reading biographies of Delp, and his relationship with his Boston band colleagues. It seems Brad Delp was a “really nice guy”– the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back without asking anything in return, as well as a “peace-keeper” – he would rather keep turmoil and confusion bottled up inside him rather than confront his friends or loved ones about his true feelings, and cause conflict in somebody else’s world.
In the words of his fans, he was “the nicest guy in rock-n-roll”. In fact, he was SO nice, he left a note on the garage door the day of his death that there might be carbon monoxide poisioning present in the house. He also accepted full responsibility for his actions, only stating that he had “lost his will to live.” So tragic that such a talented, seemingly “nice guy”, could no longer live with the wonderful person that WAS Brad Delp.
While the details of his death are certainly disturbing, what is even more confusing is the universal question we all ask in a case like this , “WHY?” Why did someone who had so much fame; who was so liked (even loved –he was engaged to be married at the time of his death); and who had so much more to give, could no longer find the will or desire within himself to continue living. It is probably the most asked, and most unanswered question in life; yet it begs to ask even deeper questions of the ones who ask it.
However, this is not about suicide, but about life, and a man’s (or woman’s!) inherent desire to be wanted, needed, loved, accepted and understood. After reading about Brad Delp’s personality and relationships with his friends and family, it became very clear to me that while he “appeared” to be powerfully self-confident when performing, he really just longed to be a “regular old guy” in his personal life offstage. And while there is no doubt his “golden voice” was his legendary trademark in the world of music, a stifled, more powerful voice deep inside him, kept fighting to be heard – “all I want is to have my peace of mind….”
I have ALWAYS been a huge Boston fan, but until I read about Brad Delp’s death, I never understood why their music always seemed to permeate my innermost being, and carry me away to a paradoxical land of paradise and hell at the same time. It finally occurred to me that it was because I, like Brad Delp, had “more than a feeling”, and for “such a long time” was looking for my “peace of mind”, struggling to be the “man (woman) I’ll never be”.
Brad Delp may have had a “golden voice”, but his talent came from his “golden heart”, and the innermost desire he had to be MORE than just famous – in fact, he avoided stardom AND celebrityhood with a passion – preferring more to be the quiet guy behind the scenes, un-noticed by his many applauding fans; once again proving that a celebrity status is NOT the end-all answer to man’s quest for happiness.
Even now, as I enter my “golden years”, I am still transformed by the mesmerizing melodies and powerful lyrics of Brad Delp and what was one of the greatest bands of my youth, Boston. Every time I hear a Boston song, I allow myself, almost uncontrollably, to be transformed into the idyllic personna that Brad Delp struggled so hard to be during his short stay here on earth. It is a legacy he left to me, and to everyone who just wants to find his or her “peace of mind” in this crazy, mixed-up, hollow world we live in.
As we approach the anniversary of Brad’s death, March 9, let us be mindful not of his death, but of the LIFE he unknowingly created in our souls with his magnificent "golden voice" and awe-inspiring talent.
R.I.P. Brad – all the time you WERE the man we always thought you would be…