“America’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band,” as they’ve been famously described, Aerosmith, are cranking up their summer first with spring dates in Europe and then sun-dappled shows across North America to fill out the summer.
The campaign is called Let Rock Rule, and support comes from the Slash (featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators), an apt billing given the stylistic match and also because Slash has always been an outspoken fan of the Boston brawlers (third on the bill should be Spread Eagle—the better GN’R from Boston—but that’s another story).
As usual, look for the set list to be full of twists and turns, although that’s not quite sorted yet, says Tom Hamilton. “We’re probably going to play different songs from the Music From Another Dimension album than what we were playing last tour. And maybe some different deep ones. But you know what? We’re going to do some rehearsing in Istanbul, which is where we’re playing next. And that’s where we’re going to solidify the set list. And so if there’s changes happening--and I hope there are--that’s where it’s going to happen.”
“We’ve got the hits to play,” continues the legendary bassist, “your ‘Dream On,’ ‘Sweet Emotion,’ ‘Walk This Way:’ those types of songs, but I was thinking I’d love to play ‘Lord Of The Thighs’ in the set, would love to play ‘Seasons Of Whither’ in there. ‘Big Ten Inch’ for sure, I would like to see in there. You know, the modern stuff, that’s… the modern stuff is tough; it’s tougher to go deep with the later stuff. People just don’t feel as personally bonded as they do with the early, early albums. But we have some really good songs; you know, ‘Janie’s Got A Gun,’ I’d love to be playing that one. Another old one that I think would be great would be ‘Kings And Queens.’ It’s got a real dramatic powerful vibe to it. Very melodic and musical. Yeah, we play it once in a while, and every time we do, I’m just so proud to be up there playing that song.”
Ah yes, 1977’s Draw The Line, a frantic version of the Rocks album, the “running on fumes” version of Rocks, no?
“Yeah, well, that’s a nice way to put it,” chuckles Tom. “Yeah, that album, to me was... I’m glad we got it out, and I understand there are a lot of fans of that record. But I remember what it was like to make. It was hell to make it, and compared to the direction we had set with Toys In The Attic and Rocks, we were going off the rails.”
But what it lacks in material, it more than makes up in energy... “Yeah, you know, I’m always surprised; there are tons of people with Aerosmith T-shirts with that cover artwork on it. We have people that really are attached to that album.”
But near on 40 years from those hazy, crazy daze of dope and destruction, what is the band like now? What is it like to grow old with Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry? Who has changed the most out of those guys into your 60s?
“Steven has been quite spectacular,” muses Tom. “He gets definitely ‘the most improved’ award. You might remember a few years ago, it got to the point where it was the band versus Steven, and him saying, ‘I’m gonna go out and do a solo album and to hell with you guys.’ We were saying, ‘Well, we’re gonna find somebody else to sing and we’re going to go out on the road.’ And you know, we really pursued that. I don’t think it would’ve been something we called Aerosmith, but if we would’ve had an opportunity to go and put something together that fans would like to hear, and we could go out on the road and tour, we would’ve done it for sure.”
“But Steven was going through a tough time,” continues Hamilton, recently recovered from his own tough times, namely a cancer scare. “And this is all stuff Steven’s talked about. I’m not squealing on him or anything. But he was in bad shape. And the closer we got to pulling the trigger on trying to put something else together, the closer he got to going into rehab—and he did. And he did it just in the nick of time, and he came out of there and just couldn’t wait to get back in the band. And it was a joy. And, you know, he was re-launched as a person. It was great; it was an incredibly positive experience. He went off and did the American Idol thing, and if you read the press, you might get the idea that we were all pissed-off about it. I was kind of rooting for him. I wasn’t happy about how we were told about it or how it came about, but I really thought, wow, nice going. He worked for something and he got it. He got to do it and became a success at it. And it was great for a couple of years, but then I think while the rest of the band was really chomping at the bit to do a record, finally the desire got to him, and that’s when we started to get ready to go and make a record.”
And that record was the current Music From Another Dimension, which, as usual with these guys after some distance, curiously, the band sticks by their work but ambivalently and, arguably, with contradiction...
“You know, it usually takes a while for me to be able to hear an album objectively. And I can now look at it as a little bit more objectively. I think when we finished, we were just so proud of it because there’s a lot of great songs on there, great playing, good performances, a lot of work went into that record—and a lot of emotion. Everybody wanted to get in their shot as far as showing their creativity. So it was a very emotional album. But I find myself wishing we could go into the studio, say, within the next year. And I think I know what I would do differently than what I did—what we did—on Music From Another Dimension. But as far as going back and changing that record, I wouldn’t change a thing. Because I just know, every speck of what’s on that album was pored over and sometimes it was like building a watch. But another thing about it that gives me a really nice memory is that we recorded it with the whole band in the room at the same time. It was not a ProTools album where we built it instrument by instrument; it was just going in the studio all at once. A lot of times, which actually I found frustrating, on some of those songs that are on there, we used the very first, early versions of them. So we would work on a song all day, or for two or three days, and the second we felt like everybody could at least stumble through it from beginning to end, we started recording. And I remember wishing that we had more time to polish what we were doing before we recorded it. But we were going for the raw thing, so that’s the way we did it.”
Is there perhaps any one or more members of the band specifically that wants to make a guitar-heavy old-style Aerosmith album again?
“That’s a tough question. It’s more a product of where you are at the time. You know, you listen to Music From Another Dimension—that’s the record we wanted to make at the time. But I’d like to make a different kind of Aerosmith record, get really deeply into the guitars, make it just a heavy, nasty, energetic, out-of-control kind of thing. And you know, that’s always there. It’s always implied. We want to hear a record that sounds like a Rocks or a Toys In The Attic—that’s Aerosmith. And you know what? That is... those records defined this band. Obviously we have our years where we’ve had like the hit singles and did a lot of music that sat kind of outside of what we were known for. But if you come to an Aerosmith show though, it all goes together, as a hard rock show. So, that’s where... on stage is where gravity takes us to where we really are. And I think when we play, we rock out.”
Let Rock Rule Tour dates include:
10 - Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre - Wantagh, NY
13 - McLennan Park - Kitchener, ON
16 - Xfinity Center - Mansfield, MA
19 - Rock Fest - Cadott, WI
22 - Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH
25 - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre - Tinley Park, IL
30 - The Forum - Inglewood, CA
2 - MGM Grand Garden Arena - Las Vegas, NV
5 - St. Regis Resort-Outdoors - Dana Point, CA
8 - Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena At Harveys - Stateline, NV
13 - Sleep Train Pavilion - Concord, CA
16 - The Gorge Amphitheatre - George, WA
19 - Pepsi Center - Denver, CO
22 - American Airlines Center - Dallas, TX
25 - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion - Woodlands, TX
28 - Phillips Arena - Atlanta, GA
31 - Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, NJ
3 - Prudential Center - Newark, NJ
6 - Jiffy Lube Live - Bristow, VA
9 - DTE Energy Music Theatre - Clarkston, MI
12 - Open Hearth Park - Sydney, NS
Ticket links can be found at Aerosmith.com