Joe Perry, Aerosmith’s famous guitarist might have a new album out, but there’s only one thing his army of fans likely want to know about: What’s happened to his band?
If you haven’t heard, after a November concert in Abu Dhabi, Aerosmith’s frontman Steven Tyler quit the band; Perry found out by reading a story online. Since then Perry and his longtime songwriting partner haven’t spoken — he’s called a couple times, but hasn’t heard back.
“It’s a shame,” says Perry, still confused by Tyler’s departure. “He didn’t say anything to us, it wasn’t planned.”
In fact, the band was working on a record with Brendan O’Brien, but Tyler, says Perry, “didn’t seem interested in it.”
Tyler, who’s now in drug rehab, has said he still wants to play with the group, but Perry’s already making arrangements to keep Aerosmith going without his musical cohort.
“I’m hoping that some of the rumours (of Tyler’s return) are true but we’ll see what happens,” he says. “We are looking for a new singer.”
When Tyler left, the band was forced to cancel gigs and their recording plans. That gave Perry the chance to put together Have Guitar, Will Travel, his fourth solo record. The guitarist admits that it was refreshing to work on this disc, especially since he’s disliked the last few Aerosmith releases.
“We haven’t released a great studio record in 10 years,” he says. “The music we were putting out wasn’t turning my crank. It was material that I didn’t like. We started working with outside songwriters and it was going in a direction wasn’t happy with, so I was inspired to lay down songs that I enjoyed playing and listening back to. I haven’t listened to the last couple of Aerosmith records.”
It’s a good thing then that his new record doesn’t sound like an Aerosmith disc. It’s an eclectic mix of blues and rock with crunchy guitars, speedy solos and classic hooks. While Perry sings on most of the tracks, he did hire a German guy named Hagen — his wife discovered him on YouTube — to lend his vocals to some of the more higher pitched melodies. While he holds his own, he does sound a lot like Tyler.
If anything does resemble Aerosmith (and parts do) Perry says he can’t help it, and he doesn’t mind.
“It’s inevitable that some of the things will sound like what Aerosmith does,” he explains. “I’m one of the two major songwriters in that band, so it’s only natural you’re going to hear that.”