On March 9, 2007, Paul Rudd walked into a room in the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin wearing a faded T-shirt bearing the iconic Boston logo from the band's 1976 debut—the spaceship with the blue flame, or whatever. "Dig the shirt," I told Rudd. "It's for Brad," said the actor, on the road to promote Knocked Up. "Brad?" I asked. "Brad Delp," Rudd said, referring to the band's lead singer and co-founder, along with guitarists Tom Scholz and Barry Goudreau. "He was found dead this morning." Rudd was bummed; a hero was gone. We agreed to smoke a joint later that night in Delp's honor; one of us showed, and it wasn't Rudd—his loss, because "More Than a Feeling" sounds best when inhaled through a one-hitter. It sounds immortal, come to think of it—no, invincible, that's it. Delp, of course, killed himself—carbon monoxide poisoning, due to "sadness...from within," said his fiancée days later.
Still, though, the band soldiers on—now with the lead singer from Stryper, which would be hilarious if it weren't so unbearably sad. Truth is, Scholz should have packed it in 32 years ago, as the first album was the only one worth a damn, and fuck those who dismiss it as the perfect distillation of frigid corporate rock. Yes meets Zeppelin, sneered Robert Christgau way back when, before "classic rock" turned into a prepackaged epithet and Nirvana lifted the huge hit single for their own corporate rock chart-topper. The rest of Boston's records have lived down to the nasty rep the first one accrued amongst non-believers. So go for Boston, but not Boston. Nostalgia—that, truly, is more than a feeling.
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