Bradford Phillip Delson (born December 1, 1977), is a musician, lead guitarist, and one of the founding members of nu-metal band Linkin Park . He is also the A&R for Machine Shop Recordings.
Delson graduated from Agoura High School in 1995 and formed Xero, which would later become Linkin Park, with Mike Shinoda and Rob Bourdon who he has known since the seventh grade.
Delson entered UCLA in 1995 as a Regent Scholar. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he graduated summa cum laude and with college honors from UCLA in 1999, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a specialization in Business and Administration. He decided to forgo law school in order to pursue a musical career with Linkin Park.
While at UCLA, where he shared a dorm room with bassist Dave Farrell for three years, Delson had the opportunity to intern with a member of the music industry as a part of his studies. He ended up working for Jeff Blue, an A&R representative at Warner Bros. Records. Blue offered constructive criticism on his demos. Blue introduced Chester Bennington, the current lead vocalist of Linkin Park to the other band members.
Delson also worked as a bouncer at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, as confirmed by "The Breakfast with Linkin Park" hosted by Kevin and Bean of KROQ 106.7 Los Angeles, which can be heard KROQ.com.
Before forming Xero with Mark Wakefield, Delson’s first instrument was the trumpet. His first band was called the Pricks, and he later played in a band called Relative Degree with his fellow Linkin Park bandmate Rob Bourdon.
Delson can usually be seen wearing a very large pair of headphones on stage which are made by Shure and act as his monitors. The headphones are designed by him and Shinoda and change with every Linkin Park release. Delson has not alluded to an exact reason for the headphones, but has admitted that it channels him into his own personal "matrix" while performing; he has not divulged further into what this "matrix" actually entails. Delson has not given a serious answer as to why he wears the headphones, instead quipping, "If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you." In a recent interview, Mike Shinoda said that Brad wears shooting range headphones for hearing protection, then gives them to Shinoda who then makes sticker designs that are applied to the headphones.
Delson has been known for his anti-social behavior on occasions. In high school, he used to dye his hair a variety of colors, or as in earlier days of the band, he generally kept it shaved. In recent years, Delson has been seen sporting a jewfro, which is also seen on the front cover for Minutes to Midnight.
Brad married Elisa Boren on September 16, 2003 in a private ceremony. Brad is of the Jewish faith.
In 2004, Delson and his wife established the Delson Scholarship Fund at UCLA which annually awards four-year scholarships to extraordinary students from Huntington Park.
In 2005, Brad signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and free lessons to children in public schools throughout the United States. Brad has personally delivered instruments to children in the program and sits on the organization’s board of directors as an honorary member.
Guitar playing style
Delson has been sometimes criticized for playing simple guitar parts and never performing solos. He says that he "doesn’t like to show off," giving reason to the fact that performing solos is a rare act for him. He has explained that this is due to the nature of the band, and that he tries to make his guitar playing sound like a keyboard or strings to try to fit in with the hip hop and electronica sounds of the band. However, Brad put a few solos into their new record, Minutes to Midnight, after his bandmates encouraged him to do so.
In the early days of Linkin Park, their usual bassist Dave Farrell was unavailable due to touring commitments with Tasty Snax. So in Hybrid Theory, Delson also became the band’s bassist during recording. He also plays the keyboard during Hands Held High while Phoenix plays the electric guitar.