The 45th anniversary of Aerosmith’s “Rocks” album is being celebrated by the syndicated radio show In The Studio With Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands.
The show’s host had the following to say about shared an excerpt interview with Joe Perry: Forty-five years ago, Aerosmith Rocks was a declarative statement in Spring 1976 with no equivocation. If Toys in the Attic a year earlier had been the definitive mid-Seventies American hard rock statement, then Aerosmith Rocks made it musically imperative with “Back in the Saddle”, “Sick as a Dog”, the clever sequel to “Toys…” with “Rats in the Cellar”, and another infectious Steven Tyler/Brad Whitford hit, “Last Child”.
At the Hartford radio station I worked at then, we rushed the plain white test pressing of Aerosmith Rocks so fast into the control room and onto the air that it had to be over a year before I ever saw what the actual cover art looked like. The whole band weighs in on the forty-fifth anniversary of this diamond-hard classic.
This is not the first time in the band’s almost fifty years that Aerosmith has been on hiatus, Joe Perry took time for this classic rock interview to discuss the challenges of maintaining the same personnel over the long career arc of this seminal American band.
Redbeard: Joe, there was one song some fifty 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 some 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.” Read more and stream the episode here.
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