Aerosmith mark the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut album on the latest installment of "In The Studio".
Listen to the segment HERE.
Redbeard: Joe, there was one song some 40 years ago that was on the set list for both Steven Tyler’s New York City high school band, which played the Lake Sunapee NH resort clubs in the summer, and the garage band that you and New Hampshire bass player Tom Hamilton had.
Joe Perry: I think it was “Train Kept a Rollin’ “, that Yardbirds song. But the blues in the English form of the word, ya know, the blues that had been already taken and redefined by the English bands. I mean I knew people that were these blues players. In fact, in our band, Tom Hamilton and I had a guy named John McGuire, and he really wanted to play blues. He really wanted to wear baggy jeans and be barefoot and just play Howlin’ Wolf songs and Muddy Waters songs, just the way that they did it. Ya know? We basically made a decision. We said, ‘”No, we want to wear white Capezios and play through big amps and wear tight pants. Ya know, we want to rock.” And at that point he left and stayed up in the woods, up in New Hampshire, and Tom and I went down to Boston to seek our fortunes. So we weren’t really like blues fanatics, I mean we knew where it came from and we were inspired by it. But we liked the energy and the excitement of the rock. So the song that we had in common (with Steven Tyler) was this song called “Train Kept A’Rollin’ “. And you’re right, it is a blues song, and as we kinda learned who did it, and then we listened back and it was actually not even a blues song in the form that basically the Yardbirds took. If you listen to the Tiny Bradshaw version with all the answer backs and the callin’ , it was all like kinda swingy and big band-y and the blues was definitely this kind of thing beneath it all. And I don’t think we realized it, at that point, how important it was to us.
RB: By listening to Yardbird songs from England, even though the song was written by African-Americans, blues was then and is now a common language between musical strangers.
JP: That was kind of traditional in the way bands got together. If it was somebody that you were basically looking for a guitar player or a drummer, you’d first start talking to them and kind of see where they’re at, if you got along and you had some common interests, then obviously you talk about music. And then when you got down to it, the more songs that you knew in common defined what kind of taste you had, and kind of put you in the running to join the band or form a band with these other guys. So for us it was just that one song. ‘Cause Steven’s band was a little more vocal heavy. They had two or three guys that could sing and sing really strong harmony, so they were able to cover Beatles songs and Steve Miller songs and Byrds songs. So they were able to sing more of that kind of pop harmony- driven kind of thing. Whereas Tom and I were more into the crunchy guitar stuff, and to us singing was just something to take up space between guitar solos !
There are a lot of people that make a living at reproducing, or trying to reproduce, the old classics. And we don’t consider ourselves blues players so to speak. And I just wanted to make that clear, that we didn’t and don’t feel like we would put ourselves in that driver’s seat. I mean we’re a rock band and we have been influenced by the blues. I mean all of our pop music that we listen to now comes from the blues. Everything has its roots there. So we just wanted to kind of honor that and then put our own stamp on those kind of tunes. There are a lot of people that hear blues and they think BB King, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy and that’s it. And then the new guys are, ya know, Johnny Lang and medium new guy is Robert Cray. And that’s it. That’s what they think of as blues. I mean they are only exposed to so much . I think the music does the talking. Once you hear it, you don’t have to talk about it anymore.