Toby Goldstein talked to Mr Tyler and Geoff Barton went to Canada to check out the band. Who’s thoughtful then?

SURPRISE. Steve Tyler, born Steven Tallerico from the Bronx, is a lively, whizzing bundle of energy, witty, enthusiastic, and amazingly unpretentious.

We take a short stroll (maybe run would be more appropriate) down Sixth Avenue to a lush Chinese restaurant adjoining the mammoth CBS complex. Tyler cuts an unusual figure on the street, top heavy in a black and white patterned, shoulder-padded jacket, translucent black shirt, and laced up black trousers that mould to his string bean legs.

“I gotta put some meat on the bones before the next tour,” he points at himself. “Too thin.” It’s a jovial, honest remark, but shocking in its own way, as I have never EVER been privy to an artiste griping about his real or imagined bodily imperfections. Tyler’s hair is a natural wash of curls cascading down his, back, and, clear complexioned with nary a touch of facial makeup, he looks more like a clowning cherub than some depraved lookalike.

No one recognises him, and he looks relieved, taking in the scenery of the day as only New York can offer with such diversity. A young mother is propping her little boy against a fire hydrant, and the kid is pissing for all he’s worth. Tyler takes a glance at the scene, yells out a mighty roar of “DISGUSTING!”, and laughing hysterically, takes my arm to guide me past the scene of the crime.

That outburst gets him a few looks from stolid businessmen, who wonder about this skinny character with a footlong feather dangling out of his right ear. Fortunately, it’s too early for school to have let out, or we might have been dodging an array of maniacal fans. Particularly in his home town, there are any number of people who knew him when.

“They go, ‘I remember you back when’ and yadda yadda yadda. A lot of ’em just congratulate you, I suppose. Yeah, you got it, that’s exactly what they say — ‘I never expected to see you like this’ — so I say, ‘Wha’d you expect, a plumma?’

“I always knew I was a musician, I just never thought it would happen like this, growin’ by leaps and bounds. Most of ’em can’t believe that I’m real. But that happens to anybody who’s in a direct line with the Press, the mass media. You get a lot of coverage like that. When we played the outdoor Schaefer Stadium here, they ripped my clothes. It was very nuts. Very nuts.”

We have now arrived in aforementioned plush restaurant, and the rest of the conversation is conducted amid a great profusion of chomps, slurps, smacks and gulps. For a skinny kid, Tyler is blessed with a healthy appetite and, no kidding, I’m inclined to think it’s natural juice that keeps his adrenaline working. He injects a Bloody Mary with a triple shot of vodka, “I’m an alkie from the start. Wake up and have a beer with my Rice Krispies. Oh yeah, wanna hear them talk? Snap crackle and pop, shooting stars. It’s those effervescent bubbles. OK, what else is new?”

Obviously, their first British tour, which commences October 10 in Liverpool. I’m amazed to learn that Tyler, an admitted Anglophile from way back, has never even visited you folks as a private citizen. He did however, meet one of England’s finest, star of stage, screen and whatever, who is definitely not his older brother, Michael Philip Jagger.

“My idols sure have lived up to expectations. I just met Mick last week. I spent two days with him. Blew my head. Quite the gentleman. We had a blast. Got along real well. In LA, out in Malibu, out at Woody’s house. Incredible. I’m going to the fight (Ali-Norton) with him tonight. And Woody’s in town, and Bobby Womack.

“Me and Woody are the best of friends and have been for years, but I’ve never met Mick before. It blew my head. He was just climbing out of the sauna; he was standing there in a towel and went ‘Steven!’ just like that. It was beautiful, I was very happy.

“Oh, we had a blast. WE HAD A BLAST. We talked about, you name it. We sat around all night singing songs, makin’ up songs. He was playing guitar. Woody was playing the guitar. Just sittin’ around singing and shootin’ the shit. Had a long talk with Krissie, too. Beautiful, and pretty upstairs. They all are.

“Woody — I can’t tell you I know a better person, a musician. And Mick — oddly enough, after all you hear, anyway. He was right there. We had such a good time, like old home week. He’s got to know our music, he has to read the trades, he has to know who’s filling the halls that he’s not this year, because he’s not touring. If he was, he would be, but he isn’t.”

Tyler accepts the idea that one day, sooner than any of us know, he may be discussed in similar terms to Jagger, a 1970’s rock ‘n’ roll legend. The role wouldn’t come as a surprise to him; neither would it find him unprepared. What might sound like an overnight success is disproved, as almost all instant phenomena are, by Tyler’s life long concentration on music, and on living the rock ‘n’ roll life.

YONKERS BORDERS New York City to the north, only one quick step away. It’s the suburban scene, private homes with basements for practice rooms rather than the one on one mass of apartment dwelling. Tyler’s family left their Bronx home before he was in his teens for such a musical haven. His father continues to teach music at Cardinal Spellman High School, a very well-regarded parochial school. Classical music.

“He loves what I do. He’s the one who turned me on. It was his piano. He used to teach lessons, so he’d have practice all day. I was a kid then, and I’d sit under the piano. I got it drummed into my head, so to speak. He just didn’t like my hair too much, being long. I used to play the drums with this band up in New Hampshire and had to wax it back with Pomatex or whatever they call it. No, you’ll NEVER see a picture of that…”

At which point Tyler abruptly explains to the service table in search of soy sauce (as printed — RBP Ed). His publicist explains that he used to be a waiter. “That’s it,” Tyler declares, “This guy is a P-U-T-Z, putz. No tip.” You can take the boy out of the Bronx, but…

According to the dictates of most Press commentaries and plenty of people who’ve seen Tyler onstage, his formative experience in rock had to have been early exposure to the Stones, particularly Jagger’s physical presence. According to Tyler, that experience did happen, and was certainly memorable, but it was rather a result of him already living enmeshed in playing music.

“I watched ’em on a television show in 1964. It was late at night, about 1 a.m., one of those talk shows where they interview people. There were the Stones, looking just as dumb as you please, but great! I couldn’t believe it, I said, YESSS! someone’s doing it. I thought Jagger was beautiful. They were doing it again. Nobody else was, the Shirelles maybe, the Shangri-Las with their big hit, ‘The Eater Of The Crack’ — well it was just us guys, y’know. Howdja think I got to write songs?

“We had a whole clique of people from school who loved the Stones. We used to get a hotel room in the same hotel upstairs from them. That’s how crazy we were. You know what we did? I was with my friend Alan Stromeyer, who was in a group with me back then called the Strangers. And Alan’s a blonde, looks just like Brian, and you know who I pass for.

“We came drivin’ down the street and the fuckin’ kids nearly turned the car over. Broke the windshield, ripped the antenna off. Right at the City Squire.”

Now hold on a minute, Tyler. I was one of those crazies hanging outside the City Squire ready to pounce on the first limo I saw. Not only that, but there was this kid sitting next to me at their 1965 concert who was a ringer for Brian Jones and he got almost as many looks as the genuine article. “That was probably Alan. He was there.” NOW he tells me.

“I was there. You bet your ass I was there for every one of ’em. I was also at the Brooklyn Fox for all of those shows.” The Murray the ‘K’ shows? “Every one of em.” The Alan Freed shows? “Every one of ’em.” Come on, Tyler, you’re showing your age. My father took me to the Alan Freed shows.

“I was at all of ’em, swear to God. I have all the brochures at home, you know, the pamphlets they hand out when you leave. Duane Eddy? Sure. Yes ma’am. I wasn’t very old. My sister turned me on to Duane Eddy. I think he had a show of his own up at the County Center in Yonkers. I got stampeded by white bucks.

“When we first saw the Stones, I was in a band playing rock ‘n’ roll. I was not lead singing; I never had any idea I would be doing that, I can tell you that. I was playing drums and, all of a sudden, we were doing ‘In My Room’ and it was in my basement in Yonkers and they were singing so bad I went, gimme that. Brought the mike over and I started singing behind the drums. Worked out quite well. For the longest time.

“Six years ago I was out in Southampton,” (a luxury resort town), “in a group called William Proud, a singing drummer. Right after that was when I quit those guys and went right to Sunapee,” (the New England town where Aerosmith conceived themselves).

“And that’s why we got nominated ‘best new group’ this year on the Rock Awards show. I went out there and saw The Captain and Tenneeeele, lemme tell you. Right in the audience. Jeffrey Beck was with me.” His put-on campiness is good natured, and very very funny.

The rest, with a slight variation, is history. Aerosmith signed to Columbia within approximately a year of forming. Their early albums, ironically enough, were considered “progressive” critical successes, while failing to put a dent in the teenage commercial market.

Without anyone quite understanding why, after three years or so, a definite reversal took place. The Press grew less tolerant of Tyler’s stage antics and the group’s heavy rock orientation. At the same time, tunes like ‘Same Old Song And Dance’, ‘Toys In The Attic’ and particularly ‘Dream On’ caught the fancy of a million adolescents.

Last December, Aerosmith opened Madison Square Garden for Black Sabbath. In May, they returned to the Garden as headliners. The albums go platinum with certainty. The same Press who foretold great things now hate their guts.

“The Press sucks, but they’ll learn. Not too many young people are sent out to see us. They always put the old staffers on us, the ones that go, ‘Heyyy, he looks like fuckin’ Jagger!’ They sic the old dogs on us and they write smart things like ‘the Tyleresque Jagger’, I mean ‘the Jaggerseque Tyler’, I won’t drink anymore, I promise. I can give you quotes up the Yinyang. They make no sense. In fact, if I was ever quoted as saying something like that, I’d be embarrassed. I don’t care if they’re gay or not…”

AEROSMITH ARE inescapable now. When they’re not on the road, they’re in the studio; when they’re not recording, they’re rehearsing. Tyler maintains two residences to try and stay sane, a house in Boston where he can just about jump off an airplane and be home, and a hideaway retreat for himself and his lady, Julia, in New Hampshire, a quiet place, off the beaten track, with their cat, Polly, providing sufficient company. Tyler in no way denies himself the finer things in life — he recently gave his father a healthy cheque for a new car, but unlike my admittedly prejudiced first impressions, he has put in far more than banker’s hours for his keep.

“I lose four pounds a night on tour, so I’m kinda zzzzzzz after the show. It’s nuts. We don’t usually get much time to rehearse before a tour. What we do is, we start the tour out in one or two small houses, which of course, probably won’t be able to happen any more, and then do a lot of sound checks. Come in at 5.30 and rehearse for an hour until they open the doors on us. They did that so many times. Oh, God. Towards the end of the tour we finally got our own security people.”

All at once Tyler accidentally switches down a bit too hard on my ageing Sony and off it goes. Visions of Rod Stewart, who once conducted a pas-de-deux with an umbrella and the tape recorder, dance in my head. Tyler finds the tale fascinating, but he apologizes for his unintentional routine. “It’s road warp. It’s all of a sudden, it’s this box that’s picking you up and you just wanna go — DOWN! You lose contact when you go from airplane to hotel room, from limousine to hall to hotel and that’s it.

“This last tour we had a couple of days that were so far away from each other we needed travel days for the crew. So we had X amount of days off in between. That was fun, we got to see a bit of Colorado. Salt Lake City — I couldn’t believe it there, I sat in the room all day and played with myself.

“We got to see a lot of wildlife in the mountains but we stopped at the Salt Lake and it was a pool of stink. It stunk worse than the Hudson River in August. I used to swim in the Hudson River when I was a kid. Saw all these little rubber balloons go flyin’ by.

“Two more years like this and I’ll be in a silly farm. No, I can’t say when. The touring will be cut down a bit. We’re going out for five months next year and that’s it. Five or six months. And the rest of the year will be dedicated to going water skiing in Lake Sunapee and writing songs for the new album. As opposed to, tour, three months off to do an album, then after the fuckin’ album we’re right back out on tour.

“This last album I couldn’t even stay for the final mixes. We had already cancelled two weeks of dates because of some final mastering. I insist on being there. I know what went down. Since having so much to do with the songs, I wanted at least to be able to mix the songs a little bit. I want to know where the edits are going. It shouldn’t all be left up to your producer, although we have the finest producers in the world.”

Like I said, Tyler is no dummy. If there is a resemblance between himself and Jagger, it’s as much in his approach to leading the band as in any physical similarity. Tyler is the one with his pulse on who’s filling the thousands of empty seats left in the wake of our recession. He’s read enough of his bad press, and probably the good, to be able to sum up arguments as well as any journalist. He’s the first to acknowledge the lack of proper sound facilities or communication problems in the hall, as was the case in our mutual putdown of the Pontiac fiasco.

WHEN AEROSMITH play Britain, you will see first hand the total absorption of Tyler into the rock ‘n’ roll role. He and his microphone, a friendly third leg, are woven together in colourful costume, dominating a stage with the exclusivity of a Jagger, a Daltrey, and few others.

“Myself and a girl named Francine Larnis do the costumes. She should get an awful lot of credit, because she never gets credit for anything. I go through old books from the library. I need things that’ll give, I like the open front to a certain extent, I like having a tail. I like things that flow.

“Why do I drag the microphone around? Cause if it’s not there when I go for it, I got nothin’ to sing into. I get so disoriented onstage sometimes I go to grab for it and I forget where I left it. It’s my toy, it’s my thing, that’s why I put scarves on it. It’s my friend. It gets cold. I take good care of Mike.”

Tyler knows what to look for, the essence of the tightness of a performance, in himself, and for that matter, in those who might move in on his domain. “I can smell it right off. Derringer is a really super group. Great live. I would almost venture to say that perhaps they need a front man but Rick does so well.

“We got a progress report about England. On a lot of shows the tickets have gone on sale already and we’re doing real good. We’re gonna knock their tits right off their chests. I know that nobody’s rockin’ out over there. It’s a shame.”

He starts throwing longing looks at the door, and excuses himself to go off shopping with a friend. “I’m getting a present for Julia. A rocking horse with a vibrating saddle. I think the vibrating saddle won’t come cheap.”

He chews intently into the tape recorder to make a special message for the SOUNDS audience, and comments about how much he’s looking forward to seeing Ali and Norton go at one another, his first in-person bout. “This fight I am especially, cause I wonder,” what do you wonder, “Oh I wonder, wonder who, bee doo doo, who, who wrote the book of lovvvve, oh shit,” as the tape recorder gets another inadvertent crack.

“This concludes our broadcast,” says Steve Tyler, and remember, dream on, kiddies.”
— Toby Goldstein

A lot of bands we used to tour under are now asking if they can tour under us which is really strange’
— Joe Perry

SUDDENLY, THAT pounding, menacing theme music from the movie Jaws thunders out of the PA system with the force of a shark’s body colliding with a frail fishing boat and splintering it in two. Then — “AWWWWWRIGHT!”

American — or, as in this case, Canadian — concert comperes are great, completely over the top, egotistical. They savour their great moment of introducing the headlining band like nothing on Earth. Modern-day circus ringmasters, they whip up an audience into an uncontrollable frenzy.

“To-ron-to,” he continues, placing heavy emphasis on each syllable, “are you ready to rock?”

“YEAAAAAH!” comes the resounding cheer.

Alright! Let’s all get together right now” — sounds of the drummer testing his kit — “and give a warm welcome to the boys from Boston. Ladies and gentlemen —


Tension dispelled in a split second, 50,000 arms shoot up into the air simultaneously and begin to clap furiously. With a WIRRRRRANG! of feedback and a glare of white light, Aerosmith blast into their first number with the destructive power of a megaton bomb.

It was going to be one of those hot nights.

IT SEEMS that Ms. Barbara Charone, having recently returned from a Canadian jaunt during which she talked to Peter Gabriel, was not in the least enamoured with the city of Toronto. ‘An enormous duty free shop from a futuristic airport’, she called it.

Me? Well, with just about the whole of the US and Canada still like some huge unopened Christmas stocking, I loved it.

Smoothly descending down over the city in the aircraft, I must have looked like one of those apparently dim-witted foreign tourists who we laugh at so much over in Britain. Mouth held wide open, eyes staring in glazed wonder. I couldn’t believe the size of Lake Ontario — it looked like some major ocean rather than the lesser of the four Canadian Great Lakes.

Toronto itself was vast, hyper-modern and spotlessly clean, its freeways making the M1 look like a bicycle track, its giant concrete communications needle — lifts crawling up its side like tiny bugs — humbling our own Post Office Tower, its neon computerised advertisement hoardings the most complex in the world.

I was awed, overwhelmed and impressed, I can tell you.

The hotel bordered Lake Ontario. I had a plush, russet-coloured room. The Aerosmith tour man hoped I didn’t mind, he said he’d try and change it for a blue room if I really wanted. I hammed it up, put hand to ‘fevered’ brow and said, “No, blue makes me feel so depressed,” but he just nodded solemnly. He was serious, it appeared.

Kind of sums up the whole current Aerosmith success deal, all the same. Hottest band in the land and still growing with astonishing rapidity, they can afford a luxury life on the road and they certainly do it in style.

The briefing from SOUNDS is to get a Steven Tyler interview and this I try to do. His room is rung but, unfortunately, the telephone’s, tinkling wakes him from a deep, deep sleep. Understandably, he declines to talk and puts down the receiver abruptly. He ‘rested’ right up to about half an hour before the night’s concert.

Undeterred, we elect to go to the gig early and catch a support act or two. Chauffeur waiting in a black limo in the hotel car park, we’re whisked off down a multi-lane highway and, before we have time to relax and appreciate the auto’s wallowingly superior suspension, we zip between a couple of heavily guarded chicken wire gates and arrive backstage at the C.N.E. Stadium.

C.N.E. stands for Canadian National Exhibition (Centre) and the stadium is slap bang in the middle of it. Covering a large area, the C.N.E. complex is like the New World’s Fair (at least if that Elvis Presley film is anything to go by), Olympia, Wembley Stadium and Disneyland all thrown into one. I’m told that it all only springs into full life about two weeks every year, so much of it at this time is closed.

It looks rather spooky — the roller-coaster without any rollers coasting, stalls boarded shut, a general air of lifelessness pervades. The Stadium is the only exception to the rule, being a hive of activity.

Football, American style, is the game for which the place caters. There’s lush green, springy Astroturf stuck over the tarmac, and the rugby-style goal-posts are shaped like forks without the middle prong. They’re made of plastic.

The stage stands on the edge of the Astroturf, about a quarter of the arena being used for backstage facilities — caravans for the bands, truck parking spaces, equipment stacking, etcetera. The remainder is full to overflowing with 25,000 screaming Aerosmith fans.

Weaving our way across the tangling power cables and between some of the most stunningly beautiful groupies I’ve ever seen, we find our way on to the stage to see the Rick Derringer band play a couple of numbers.

Now, despite what one Mr S. Tyler says in the Toby Goldstein interview, I thought the diminutive Rick was pretty ordinary. His set revolved around old Edgar Winter Group Numbers, notably ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Hoochie Coo’, and culminated with a self indulgent version of ‘You Really Got Me’.

Derringer got a couple of encores anyway, and mid-way through the second one Tyler appeared behind the onstage amps, obviously checking out the vibes for Aerosrnith’s forthcoming set. Now fully awake, he looked pretty nifty in a black satin jumpsuit edged with gold braid.

Derringer finishes, Tyler disappears and it’s down to the equipment changeover. I talk to one of the roadies and he murmurs something about the ‘ridiculous sum’ of money it takes to construct the Aerosmith stage for outside gigs. 27,000 dollars or something, he says, and this without a proper canopy or the blazing ‘A’ for Aerosmith shining in the sky — an effect which, unfortunately, the band won’t be using tonight due to technical difficulties.

At around 10 p.m. I clamber on top of some scaffolding to the side of the stage so’s I can get a good view of Aerosmith’s performance. A little later, two black limos drive the distance — a mere 50 yards or so — from dressing room-caravan to stage, out hop Aerosmith and, like I said — WIRRRRRANG! They blast into their first number with the destructive power of a megaton bomb.

AS A LIVE act, Aerosmith are very, very good indeed and, on the evidence of their C.N.E. stadium showing, fully deserve their position as the big American band. They’re slick, professional and have an abundance of style. Britain be warned. As a front man, Steven Tyler is one of the best — his Jaggeresque quality has by now been well documented, as has guitarist Joe Perry’s Keith Richard-Ron Wood resemblances, but so what?

About a month ago, one British rock weekly commented, dumbly, that the only reason why Aerosmith have made it to the top in the States is because they’re lucky enough to have a couple of members who look like two of the Stones. Nonsense. This has probably contributed one per cent of their rise to stardom, maybe even less. Tyler doesn’t sing like Jagger, doesn’t move like Jagger, doesn’t dress like Jagger; Perry doesn’t hit those strings like Richard or Wood — he’s more like Jeff Beck, if anyone.

And besides, where’s the Charlie Watts of the band?

No, the real reason Aerosmith have four platinum albums and sell out concerts like nobody’s business is that they are a fine rock ‘n’ roll band. A helluva fine rock ‘n’ roll band.

Their Toronto set was fast-paced, the raps kept to the barest minimum. Numbers ended and numbers began with a moment’s gap in between, keeping that adrenalin running.

Tyler, dressed in well-tailored rags, his microphone stand tied with a coloured scarf to complement his outfit, cavorts continually about the stage, tossing the ‘stand like a flag on Empire day, flinging it around like a majorette’s baton, shoving it beneath his crotch and moving sensuously.

Joe Perry isn’t as flashy as Tyler, but next to the vocalist he’s the one to grab your attention. Moody and mean, he contributes cutting licks, evocative solos and is a dab hand with the voice box.

The other Aerosmith members are less interesting. Wispy blonde haired bassist Tom Hamilton is solid enough, his looks should appeal to Rick Parfitt fans; second guitarist Brad Whitford, surprisingly, stayed very much in the background — except for one occasion when he did venture forward to play a short and largely disappointing solo; Joey Kramer, called ‘the best drummer in the universe’ by Tyler, is actually not quite so good, seeming to me to be rather too cocky and arrogant. His drum solo was one of the two low spots in the show.

The other was, funnily enough, the band’s rendition of ‘Dream On’. This song, in many ways, is Aerosmith’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’, being balladic, atmospheric and climactic. It was also the number that, more than any other, aided Aerosmith in their rise to transatlantic fame and fortune.

At the C.N.E. Stadium however, ‘Dream On’ was played in a thoroughly half-hearted fashion, Tyler’s vocal work in particular lacking any real conviction. It seemed as if Aerosmith must have grown tired of having to play the tune so often — and this suspicion was borne out a few weeks ago by Justin Pierce’s review of the band at the Anaheim Stadium, where they stopped playing ‘Dream On’ almost as soon as it started, Tyler saying, “Stop it, I’m getting sick of that fucking song”.

Other numbers were played with blinding enthusiasm however, the best of which being ‘Sweet Emotion’, ‘Last Child’, ‘Walk This Way’, ‘Sick As A Dog’ and the rousing encore ‘Toys In The Attic’.

IT’S EARLY morning now back at the hotel and that Aerosmith interview is proving to be rather elusive. Steven Tyler is ‘resting’ once again, though it does seem as if there’s a chance that I might get to converse with Joe Perry, even though Richard Ogden (not a man to give up easily) doesn’t hold out much hope.

But, lo and behold, at about 2.30 a.m., it eventually does come together and, grabbing cassette recorder, I travel down two floors from my room to meet up with the Aerosmith guitarist in his luxury suite.

I feel as if I’m imposing actually, because Joe, his stack of black hair in scraggy disarray, the rings under his eyes dark and seemingly indelible, looks frail and wasted. I’m a little the worse for wear as well, having travelled from Austin, Texas to New York to Toronto at a fair pace and having acquired a bad drinking habit at Max’s Kanas City a while back. Called a ‘Ramone’, the drink is made up of ‘your favourite local beer, molested by a straight shot of whisky’. Although it sounds quite awful, it is in fact rather good, completely compulsive and dangerously lethal.

So, the interview was rather garbled. But here are the best bits —

I wondered if Aerosmith’s climb to prominence in the States had been the result of a slow, steady growth of popularity or whether it had in fact been quite sudden.

“The former” says the deep-voiced Joe, proving himself to be an extremely affable person, “When we recorded our first album we did lousy for a while, but the thing that really turned it around for us was when ‘Dream On’ was released as a single about four years ago. Then things started to pick up, we came out of New England and started to move. It hasn’t been a big leap, it’s been a slow hard ride, constant work and stuff.”

Aerosmith’s latest album is an excellent one called Rocks. I asked Joe how he viewed it in comparison to the band’s previous three LPs AerosmithGet Your Wings and Toys In The Attic.

“Well, it’s better, with every one we’re getting better, the songs are getting more unified and the whole band’s coming up with worthwhile ideas. I’m looking forward to the next one because I know it’ll be better again. We’re managing to get into a groove in the studio now and we’re trying to keep it that way.”

I mentioned that Aerosmith played less emphasis on numbers from their Rocks album than I thought they would at the C.N.E. Stadium gig.

“This is only the second time we’ve played Toronto,” Joe replies, “and seeing as how most people in the audience would have only seen us once before, we played lots of the old stuff too. Actually, although I say ‘most’ people in the audience, it was probably more like ‘a few’. When we last played this city we were put in a 4,000 seater hall. Tonight we played to 25,000.”

That’s quite a jump.


Not only do Aerosmith find themselves playing successively larger venues, but recently they headlined over Jeff Beck, Joe Perry’s all time hero. That must have been strange.

“Yeah…” Joe’s voice trails off. “A lot of bands we used to tour under are now asking if they can tour under us which is really strange. When I think about the times they’ve given us shit when we’ve been supporting them…”

But Beck?

“Yeah, well, it’s better for him and it’s better for us if he plays on our bill. I’d rather have him than almost anyone else. In fact, on one occasion when he was supporting us, he played ‘Train Kept A-Rolling’ as an encore and I’m sure half the kids in the audience thought it was our song, which is funny. And he does it good. Real good.”

I pluck up the courage to bring up the Stones lookalike syndrome.

Joe laughs, “I know all that hasn’t got anything to do with our success. Over in the States the Stones audiences averages 25 years of age, whereas ours evens out at about 17 or so. They still call Steven ‘Jaggersque’ over here, but that’s about it, all they do is watch us play and they don’t talk about it.

“In fact, I haven’t been asked about the ‘lookalike’ thing in years.”

Finally, some thoughts on Britain.

“We’ve been waiting to come over for a long time” he says, “We nearly made it on a couple of occasions in the past, but they would have been lightning visits and we didn’t want that. We want to have some time over there and spend a while really checking the place out.

“I’ve heard a lot of different reports about Britain, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m not really coming over with any preconceptions. I’m trying to keep an open mind.

“I’m looking forward to it, definitely. Looking forward to having lots of British beer.”
— Geoff Barton

© Geoff Barton, Toby GoldsteinSounds, 16 October 1976

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