On March 9, 2007, Boston vocalist Brad Delp sealed himself in his bathroom, lit two charcoal grills, pinned a note on himself that read “Mr. Brad Delp: I am a lonely soul,” lay down on a pillow and inhaled a lethal amount of carbon monoxide.
Delp’s suicide was a shock to family members, close friends, his band and the music world alike. What made the event so perplexing was that Delp had spent his career as a health-conscious vegetarian and promoted and donated to several charities. In music circles, he was known as one of the good guys. He was fan friendly and spent time after every Boston show signing autographs and taking pictures with his admirers. Delp was engaged to be married and was preparing for a tour with Boston at the time of his death.
Boston bandleader Tom Scholz, a friend of Delp’s for more than 30 years, admits that while no one could predict Delp would end his life, the vocalist was suffering much emotional pain.
“No one saw it coming — I certainly didn’t see it coming. Brad wasn’t a happy camper. He had a tough life in a personal sense. He went through two divorces and he had a couple of engagements that never led to marriage. That part of his life was not very good.”
Scholz goes on to reflect on his relationship with Delp.
“We were work friends; sometimes your work friends are your closest friends. We shared a lot of things together. We spent a lot of time together when we were not working, during our breaks and when we were on the road. You talk about a lot of things, and a lot of things come out. We had some really unusual parallels. We both had serious relationships in the ’90s that left us both in not a very good state of mind. Ten years later, I ended up marrying somebody and being happier than I have ever been. Brad was not so lucky,” Delp said.
Aside from one album, 1994’s Walk On, Brad Delp had always been the voice of Boston. He was the perfect person to translate Scholz’ musical visions vocally.
Boston would not have been Boston without his distinct and dynamic voice. The rock world mourned Brad’s death, and, along with it, the death of Boston as no one expected at this stage of the game for Scholz to pick up the pieces and move ahead. A drastic turn of events occurred that not only kept the band together but actually brought renewed life to Boston.
From the wreckage of Delp’s suicide came two people who found Scholz by pure chance. The first was Michael Sweet, the guitarist and vocalist of the band Stryper. The second was an unknown singer named Tommy DeCarlo, a credit manager at Home Depot.
“Brad was the most talented musician/singer that I have ever known. No one person could replace him. We could have looked for a lifetime and never found that person,” Scholz admits, “I have to say that both Michael and Tommy have done a great job filling his shoes.”
Scholz’ wife, Kim, actually discovered DeCarlo.
“That story reminds me of the Cinderella story that is Boston,” says Tom. “We appeared out of nowhere. I knew about it, because it was in my basement, but we got no attention from anyone. When it hit, it really hit. Tommy DeCarlo is the same way. He is a regular guy who works a regular job. He was married for a while and has a family. He has not played in bands, but he is a phenomenal singer. He sent us an e-mail and a link to a file.
“The last thing I was interested in at the time was listening to files someone had made on MySpace. Somebody sent it to my wife, and she was playing it as I happened to be walking by. I asked her when that recording was made. She said, ‘Thi