New Brad Delp foundation to help budding musicians

By Susan Morse

A Hampton resident and friend of the late Boston lead singer Brad Delp has co-organized a foundation to help other musicians get their start.

The idea for the Brad Delp Foundation came from the singer's adult children, Jennifer and John Michael, as a way to honor their father, said Bill Faulkner, who serves on the foundation's board of directors.

Faulkner lives in Hampton and works for ERA The Masiello Group on Route 1.

The first event to raise money for the foundation will feature some of Delp's former band mates in performances by Boston, Ernie & The Automatics, Fahrenheit, BeatleJuice, Godsmack, Orion the Hunter and RTZ, along with guest vocalists Michael Sweet of Stryper, Mickey Thomas of the Jefferson Starship and Sammy Hagar. Tickets are $35 plus a $5 venue charge and are available through TicketMaster, the box office and

"Come Together" will be held at 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 19, at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston.

Proceeds will go toward grants for in-need school systems, teachers who provide music education and individuals who desire to continue their own music education.

"He enjoyed doing things for people, he was very well read, intelligent," said Faulkner who knew Delp for close to 30 years. "If there were things I'd want people to know about Brad, it would be that apart from the public persona, he was as nice, caring, funny, intelligent and empathic a guy as you were ever likely to meet. One of a kind. He was often referred to in the press as 'the nicest guy in rock 'n' roll' and that's not far off base."

Delp, a complicated man, also had a dark side, according to Faulkner.

Delp died by his own hand in March at the age of 55. His fiance Pamela Sullivan, whom he was to marry in a few weeks, found him at his home in Atkinson.

Faulkner was to have been the justice of the peace at the wedding ceremony.

"He was a troubled soul, tormented inside," said Faulkner. "It was depression, depression killed my friend. It's a disease ..."

Faulkner and Delp communicated every day for 20 years, he said.

The day before his death, Delp told Faulkner he had found the perfect high definition channel, one that showed sunrises from around the world. Delp particularly liked the one from Antarctica that featured penguins.

Delp loved high-tech sound systems and large TV screens, which is how he and Faulkner met. Delp, who is from Danvers, Mass., and Faulkner, from Nashua, ran into each other in a Tech Hi Fi store in Manchester in the late 1970s. Faulkner ran the chain of stores. Delp had just come back from his second Boston tour.

Delp ended up spending two hours in the Manchester store. He wanted a home theater system, equipment that was not yet available, said Faulkner. Delp invited him to his home to watch movies. Delp's favorite film, said Faulkner, was "The Exorcist." Delp had at least 85 paid admissions to the movie and he often went to the theater while on break during a tour, said Faulkner, who told the following related story: On tour for the group's phenomenally successful debut album, Boston was traveling the country with Black Sabbath and front man Ozzy Osbourne. With time to kill, Delp took Osbourne to the theater to see "The Exorcist." Osbourne was so frightened, said Faulkner, he went AWOL.

"Ozzy disappeared," said Faulkner. "They had to cancel the next day's show."

That first Boston album was slated to sell 100,000 copies, said Faulkner. The group set out on a six-week tour that kept getting extended as the album sold a million, and then 2 million, copies.

Boston originally opened for Black Sabbath. By the end of the 14-month tour, Black Sabbath was opening for Boston, said Faulkner.

"They ended up selling 18 million or so of that album," said Faulkner.

The truth was, he said, Delp was not a huge fan.

"Neither one of us were crazy about Boston's music," said Faulkner.

Delp's first love was the Beatles. The day after they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, Delp went to Sears and bought an inexpensive electric guitar, the kind that had the built-in mini amp, said Faulkner.

Delp sang in the Beatles cover band, BeatleJuice. He met Ringo, said Faulkner, and also Sir George Martin.

During one tour with Delp, Faulkner played conga drums in about 100 shows, he said.

Delp did not have the rock 'n' roll ego, said Faulkner. He was a humble man, who never forgot his roots or that his first job was working in a factory making heating coils for Mr. Coffee machines. He knew how lucky he was to have gotten a break in the music business, even if it did come after years of rejection by seven record companies before getting a nod from Epic Records.

"Brad was a very private person," said Faulkner. "He was never comfortable with that level of success, ... he was embarrassed by success. He got lucky. Pamela said he was often disappointed other talented people didn't get the chance he got."

That's the reason for the foundation, Faulkner said.


What: "Come Together" A Tribute to the Life of Brad Delp

Where: Bank of America Pavilion, Boston

When: Sunday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.

Tickets: $35 plus $5 venue charge available at the box office, TicketMaster and LiveNation com.