CONCORD, N.H. - The band Boston spoke to people's souls during the 1970s with smash hits like "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind." But two weeks after lead singer Brad Delp's suicide at his New Hampshire home, bad feelings abound. Current members of the band, including the chief songwriter and founder, Tom Scholz, were not informed about or invited to Delp's funeral, which was attended by early band members who opposed Scholz in a 1980s legal battle.
Last week, Delp's ex-wife Micki was quoted on a radio station saying Delp was distressed about the conflicts in his professional life and became despondent after a longtime friend, Fran Cosmo, was cut from Boston's summer concert lineup. The story spread online, where fans trying to figure out the reason for Delp's suicide took up the cudgels.
Scholz, who called Delp his "closest friend and collaborator in music for over 35 years," said he was crushed by Delp's suicide and his exclusion from the funeral. Now he feels he is being unfairly blamed for Delp's death.
"It went from devastating on the initial phone call to an absolute nightmare," Scholz told The Associated Press on Friday in a tearful telephone interview, his first since Delp's death on March 9. (An interview conducted by e-mail was published earlier in Rolling Stone.)
"We had been told it would only be his immediate family (at the funeral), and of course it wasn't," he said.
A lawyer for Scholz sent a letter to Micki Delp on Friday demanding a retraction. She did not immediately respond Friday to an e-mail message from The Associated Press via the publicist who has handled statements for the family.
Boston has canceled its summer engagements, and Scholz said he still hopes the rift can be mended and the band can be part of a public memorial service that Delp's children, their mother Micki, and Delp's fiancee, Pamela Sullivan, said last week was in the works.
Sullivan said no one intentionally excluded the current band members from the funeral.
"It was about getting the children through it as quickly and quietly as possible with the people they were up to facing at the time and the people who could be the most comfort to them," she told the AP in a telephone interview.
Tensions between Scholz and some of the early band members date from the early 1980s, when CBS Inc. sued the band over delays in recording new albums. The company's Epic Records label recorded the band's first two releases: "Boston," in 1976, and "Don't Look Back," in 1978.
Scholz countersued for the rights to the band's name and music. Three members of the original band - Barry Goudreau, Sib Hashian and Fran Sheehan - testified for the record company, which lost. Goudreau is Micki Delp's brother-in-law, and she reportedly remains close to the ousted band members.
Delp, the only band member besides Scholz whose name was on the CBS recording contract, remained friends with everyone, touring and recording with Scholz and the others over the decades. He also started a Beatles tribute band, Beatle Juice.
Scholz wrote, engineered, and laid down nearly all the instrumental tracks on the first album, but he said Delp helped him refine the songs and brought his music to life.
"It went from a guitar lick that didn't mean a thing to a real song as soon as he opened his mouth. That was always the case," Scholz said. "We had a very, very close working relationship. I swear it was like we were hooked up by a cable. We didn't even have to talk most of the time."
Scholz and Delp were both vegetarians and pacifists, both dedicated their money and talents to causes they believed in, and both proposed to their longtime girlfriends on Christmas Day 2006 by putting rings in their stockings - only learning about the coincidence in a conversation afterward.
The band's first album was wildly successful, and remains one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, according to Billboard, selling more than 16 million copies. Boston's early music also remains a staple on classic rock stations, especially in New England.
96.5 FM ("The Mill") in Manchester plans a two-hour tribute to Boston on Sunday featuring excerpts from the station's interviews with Delp over the years. Program Director J.C. Haze said he remembers hearing the first album.
"Tom and Brad, they made such a unique sound it just took the world by storm," Haze said. "Nothing ever sounded like it, and nothing ever did since."
On the Net:
Boston's official Web site: http://bandboston.com/html/bd-html.html
Major fan Web site: http://www.gonnahitcharide.com