Aerosmith: Get Your Wings (Columbia)

MGM RECORDS wasn’t necessarily misguided in its big Bosstown hustle of 1968, they just flubbed up and signed the wrong bands. Why would you want to hear the Beacon Street Union when you could go across the street and catch the J.Geils Band, or, a season later, the incipient Aerosmith? Premature promotion thus forborne, the latter two Boston bombers came up the classic payin’-yo’-dues ladder, and finally began raking in their deserved commercial successes last year.

Much as I love the J.Geils Band to death precisely for their antiquated blues-mit-showmanship epijive, I’ll have to give the nod to Aerosmith as the worldbeaters of the future, as they’re hitched much more firmly to the star of the Seventies. Aerosmith derive their sound from two potent traditions, the first the primordial punk of such early Boston bruisers as the Barbarians and the Remains, and the second the Lizardian Dynasty founded by the late Jim Morrison, held briefly by Alice Cooper until he abdicated for the bitch goddess he loved, and finally devolved upon Aerosmith.

So Steve Tyler is the new Lizard King, long live the king & etc., but don’t tell him just yet, as I’d like to see him and Aerosmith whip the shit out of a few more of those English bands they always get second-billed to. ‘Train Kept A Rollin” is the sole such English invasion mopperupper on the new album, Get Your Wings, and includes both studio and live sections to insure the total dismemberment of the Yardbirds mythos. That’s only so much smartassing, though, as the heart of Get Your Wings lies in signature cuts like ‘S.O.S. (Too Bad)’, ‘Pandora’s Box’, ‘Lord of the Thighs’, and ‘Woman of the World’, which sound like nothing so much as Alice Cooper at his finest moment: i.e., they share the killer kineticism, nose-thumbing existentialism, and unreconstructed male chauvinism of Coop’s ‘Under My Wheels’.

Having Bob Ezrin along as executive producer of Get Your Wings may have helped bring a Cooperian sound out of Aerosmith, but it’s probably more a case of a band whose time has invincibly come. Alice Cooper sold his birthright for a mess of pottage (i.e., panties for album liners), and now it’s up to Aerosmith to redeem his failed vision. Soon we can reverse the allusion, and talk about how much Killer sounds like Aerosmith. Or maybe we won’t, as Aerosmith could thrust forward in any one of a dozen powerful directions, as exemplified by the nouveau-Chess (Willie Dixon lyrics and jiving horns) of ‘Same Old Song and Dance’, Get Your Wings‘ biggest hit thus far.

In any event, I feel secure that Steven Tyler should enjoy a long reign as the Lizard King, and not be found dead in a bathtub at 27. As I watched Aerosmith leaving for their hotel after their recent Cincinnati appearance, while the assembled groupies were chattering about the divine-ness of Tyler’s orange velour midicoat and blue satin pants, I noticed that he had quietly covered his baby-blue ballet slippers with functional, plain black Totes for the trek across the wet and raw streets outside. Now here’s a dude who minds his old lady and takes care of himself, kids, and you should too. Pick up on Get Your Wings without fail.

© Richard RiegelCreem, August 1974

Leave a Comment