Lost Delp track makes a finishing touch for Charlie Farren
The moment he heard Brad Delp's melodic ballad "Tuesday," Charlie Farren knew he wanted to record it.
Delp was the rock band Boston's lead vocalist who committed suicide on March 9, 2007. At 55, he left his fiancee, two adult children, and, among other works either not completed or not released, the unfinished song "Tuesday."
"Brad played 'Tuesday' for me one night about 10 years ago," Farren said from his home in North Chelmsford. "We were at radio station Rock 101 in Manchester (N.H.), judging a songwriting contest that DJ Lisa Garvey had among her listeners.
"When the contest was over, Brad said, 'Come to my car. I want to play a song I'm working on.' I immediately loved it because it reminded me of the Beatles' song 'Yesterday.' " A veteran rocker from numerous bands of yesteryear, including the Joe Perry Project and Farrenheit in the 1980s, but now a solo act, Farren said, "I knew Brad had demo'd that song up a number of times, but he never felt it was finished or ready to release."
Flash-forward to 2013, five weeks ago, and Farren was working on his 16th CD of songs that will make its public debut Friday at the Center for Arts in Natick.
"Interestingly," Farren said, "as I'm working on this record — I usually record, then I'll put it down, go outside for a walk or drive around in my car, listening to my tracks — I'm thinking I need one more song to finish the record. So I'm driving around, the radio came on and what was playing? 'Yesterday.' It reminded me of the song that Brad wrote. So I got in touch with his family members. I asked them, one, 'Do you have a demo of "Tuesday"?,' and two, 'Would it be all right for me to try to record it?' "
The Delp family was enthusiastic and sent Farren two demo versions of the song. Farren learned it, recorded the guitar and vocal, and, feeling that "this is the song that completes my record," brought it to friend and producer Anthony J. Resta (who has worked with Elton John, Duran Duran, and hundreds of others) for the finishing touches.
Once Farren got the "Tuesday" demos and began recording, he estimated it took only two weeks for the song to become CD-ready and released on his own FMan Media label. "Tuesday" became the title track.
"It's a beautiful song, but it's a simple song," Farren, 59, said. "I just loved the melody and the way it kind of skipped over the chord changes, a lot like some of Paul McCartney's better songs."
Farren wrote nine of the CD's 10 songs, co-writing "Filling My Heart With Love" with Resta's wife, Andrea Surova. Credit for "Tuesday," of course, goes to Delp.
"I tweaked one of the verses and turned it into a bridge, but I just think that's an arrangement thing," Farren said. "That's 100 percent a Brad song."
Whereas Farren was strictly a rocker in his early days, his songwriting has transitioned into a variety of genres. The "Tuesday" CD is a wide-appealing, across-the-board mix of songs that feature loud, rocky, and fun offerings, upbeat pop, jazzy-slinky tunes that are a little tongue-in-cheek, smart-alecky romantic ballads and laments, and some bluesy material, too.
Veronica Farren, Charlie's 22-year-old art student/actress/model daughter (to whom her dad adds the element "fantastic singer"), contributed background vocals on the rockish "That Kind of Girl" and on the up-tempo, Spanish-influenced "Middle of My Heart."
Veronica is one of three grown children of Charlie and Marianne, who will celebrate 32 years of marriage in August.
Farren got to know Delp, on a musical plane at least, in 1987, when Farrenheit opened for Boston on a US tour whose 90 shows were all sellouts. Delp's death by carbon monoxide poisoning at his home in Atkinson, N.H., two decades later at once shocked and mystified Farren.
"I knew Brad as a colleague," said Farren, who grew up in Malden. "I was never in a band with him. I toured with him and I knew him as a friend and there was a mutual respect there. But we weren't close enough for me to understand it. I don't have any insight into that. It struck me as a complete surprise.
"He seemed like a very easygoing, warm, generous friend, a really talented guy," said Farren. "He wasn't a rock star-acting guy. He was just a very down-to-earth New Hampshire guy who could sing great. That's the Brad I knew."