Everyone knows that I'm a shameless classic rock devotee. I love it for its actual irony (the literary, clever, lyrical kind, not the kind that fuels an apathetic and artless lifestyle), its take on Lemons, American Bands and Highway Stars and of course, its killer riffs. I've gotten used to that look when people discover this about me: the look that waits for the punchline or some ironic jab at hippies then slowly fades into something resembling a mix of confusion and pity.
But here's the truth:
My first album was Van Halen II - thanks mom & dad!
I was introduced to the finer points of notebook art copying the logos of Rush, Def Leppard and The Grateful Dead
The first song I learned on bass guitar was Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimmie Three Steps"
And my first concert was Boston.
It was the 6th or 7th of their nine sold-out dates at the Worcester ("Woostah") Centrum supporting their much-anticipated "Third Stage" album. I remember not much caring for the hit ballad "Amanda", but the rest of the record pretty much blew my mind. The show was no less amazing. Hometown boys back in the game after 10 years, crazed and sweaty fans screaming along gleefully, my young ears getting their first dose of concert deafness. I literally bought the t-shirt.
Brad Delp seemed like a nice guy, in the general scope of Nice Guys of Rock, no doubt a club with few members. He was born in Massachusetts and died in New Hampshire, a 40 minute drive, round trip. Everyone seemed to like him, he had one of the most improbably high and clear voices in music (Geddy Lee who?) and he had a pretty killer 'stache. In the end, can a man ask for anything better?
You could say he just closed his eyes and slipped away, but I like to think that he finally hitched a ride on that huge rocket-guitar spaceship and didn't look back.