By Joe Dwinell
A distressed Brad Delp, lead singer of the rock band Boston, told his close friends that band leader Tom Scholz was a "bully" who made him feel like "an abused dog," and that Delp was trying to summon the courage to "stand up" to Scholz and quit the band in the months before he took his life, according to summaries of pretrial testimony recently made public.
Delp committed suicide in March 2007 at age 55 shortly after being informed by Scholz that the band was going to be touring that summer, and just before rehearsals for the tour were about to begin.
Scholz has sued the Herald, alleging that in its reporting on Delp's suicide in 2007, the Herald defamed him by implying that Scholz was responsible for Delp's decision to take his life. Scholz also claims that the Herald's articles caused him emotional distress. The Herald denies that it blamed Scholz for Delp's decision to commit suicide, and states that it accurately reported the opinions expressed to it by Delp's friends, family and acquaintances about the pressures that Delp said he was feeling near the end of his life.
According to the testimony of Delp's close friends and former bandmates, Delp told them in the months leading up to his suicide that he was "terrified" of being sued by Scholz and that he desperately wanted to quit Boston for good but was afraid that if he did Scholz, who had been involved in litigation with numerous people associated with the band, would sue him.
Court records indicate that Delp's doctor has testified that in late January 2007, about six weeks before Delp took his life, Delp came to see him complaining of heart palpitations and shortness of breath, and told him that the band and Scholz were increasing his anxiety, and that he was thinking of quitting the band.
Friends testified that Delp told them that he felt like a "wimp" for not being able to confront Scholz and that Scholz had financially mistreated him by taking band revenue and using it as his own "expenses." According to a summary of pretrial testimony, Delp told his former wife that Scholz was "a man who believed his own lies," and that he could not speak to Scholz.
Scholz sued Delp's former wife, Micki Delp, claiming she defamed him in statements made to the Herald after Delp died. A superior court judge has dismissed those claims.
A former band member, Fran Sheehan, testified that Scholz had admitted to "screwing" Delp out of credit for Boston's most famous song, "More Than A Feeling," for which Delp had written the title and refrain, according to Sheehan, and that Scholz had instead given Delp credit for another, less lucrative song.
Scholz asserts that he and Delp were "best friends," and notes that Delp had quit Boston in the past and that Scholz had never sued him. He denies financially mistreating Delp and asserts that Delp was free to quit the band if he wished to.
Scholz has pointed to a personally embarrassing incident that occurred between Delp and a close friend in late February 2007, as one that greatly upset Delp and asserts that that is the reason Delp took his life.
According to the summary of testimony on file, Delp had already begun purchasing the items that he used to take his life the day before the incident.
Court records reflect that in 2004, on Boston's last tour before Delp took his life, Delp was deeply depressed at being with the band and told close friends that he wanted out of Boston and wished that Scholz "would just quit." According to one former band member, Delp said on that tour that one way for him to get out of the band would be to commit suicide. The band member testified that he asked Delp if he were serious, and that Delp had looked at him, said that he was, and just "walked away."
The summary of pretrial testimony had been compiled by the Herald's lawyers. Scholz's lawyers took the step of filing the summary with Superior Court Judge Frances A. McIntyre in connection with their emergency motion to strike it as too long. McIntyre denied the motion. Scholz has not yet responded to the Herald's summary, and has 60 days to do so.