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Interview:
Aerosmith still has its wings after more than four decades
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK



Aerosmith's current Let Rock Rule Tour is about some unfinished business for guitarist Joe Perry.

Two years ago the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group from Boston released "Music From Another Dimension!," its first new album in eight years and first of all-original material in 11. It debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 but did not maintain its momentum. So while the quintet is playing material from throughout its 41-year recording career --15 albums that have sold more than 150 million copies around the world -- Perry says Aerosmith is also vested in making sure "Dimension!" gets its due.

"My feeling is we really didn't get a chance to tour much behind it when it came out," Perry, 63, says of the album. "We didn't tour the States, really, to push the last record until now, and I still think it's got some life to it. So we'll play a few more songs from it this summer and remind people it's out there."

That's not keeping Aerosmith from hatching a slew of future plans, however.

With Let Rock Rule trek wrapping up on Sept. 12 -- and drummer Joey Kramer is back in the saddle after being sidelined from some shows after undergoing a heart procedure -- Perry and frontman Steven Tyler are both eyeballing solo projects. Tyler, who spent two years as a judge o "American Idol," has been working on his for some years; he released a single called "(It) Feels So Good" in 2011 and this year voiced a character in the animated movie "Epic."

Perry, meanwhile, is gearing up for the Oct. 7 publication of his memoir "Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith," which comes in the wake of the best-selling 1997 band biography "Walk This Way" and autobiographies by Tyler and Kramer.

"I just felt like it was time to do it," explains Perry, who co-wrote the book with author David Ritz. "Joey put his book out and Steven put his book out, and I was getting to the point where I was starting to feel like there was a reason and a time and a feeling for me to do one, too.

"It's not the kind of book where I'm out to blame anybody for anything; I certainly take my part of the responsibility for the ups and downs, but I'm sure there are going to be people who look at it and go, 'No, I don't remember it that way,' " he notes with a laugh.

"Overall I think people are going to be surprised by the book. It's definitely not your VH1 'Behind the Music' kind of a book."

Perry will be including a variety of "odds and ends" as part of "Rocks," including an appendix with extensive details about his equipment -- "Some real technical stuff that may not have any interest to a lot of people but guitar players will love it," Perry says -- as well as some music, including "some of my favorite songs from some of my solo work that I know people haven't heard...maybe some video links to interviews and things like that."

Beyond the book, Perry has also "written a bunch of stuff" for his next solo album, the follow-up to 2009's "Have Guitar, Will Travel," which he hopes to record and release in 2015. "I've been inspired in a way that I haven't been inspired for other records," he reports.

Aerosmith's next album situation may be a bit different, however. Perry says he and his bandmates -- including bassist Tom Hamilton and guitarist Brad Whitford -- are well aware that the group's fans primarily "want to hear some of the old songs from the 70s and some of the medium-old songs from the 80s and 90s." That, he acknowledges, makes it challenging to create new material that finds a lasting place in Aerosmith's repertoire.

"We're over-songed at this point," Perry explains. "So as far as feeling like we need a new record...I know we're going to want to go in and make new music at some point, but I don't know if that means waiting until you have 12 songs you think are good enough. Maybe it should be two or three songs and then you release it, and awhile later you put out a couple more songs.

"People don't buy records the way they used to, so why should we make 'em the way we used to? I don't know how many tours we've got in us or how many more times we're going to play, so do we really need to go out with a new record and put all that time and energy into that when we can be playing places we've never played before and playing one of the 50 songs we already have out there that people would be interested to hear?

"These are questions I can't answer yet, so we'll just see what happens."

Aerosmith and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township

Tickets are $49.50-$149.50 pavilion, $36.50 lawn

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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