WALK THIS WAY
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WALK THIS WAY
America's all-time top-selling rock 'n' roll band
Aerosmith, is heating up the Las Vegas Strip with their headlining residency, AEROSMITH: DEUCES ARE WILD. Visitors will get face to face with America’s Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll band in one of the most immersive, state-of-the art audio and video technology experiences in Las Vegas. The show will feature never-seen-before visuals and audio from Aerosmith recording sessions. You gotta move to get your live show tickets! [email protected]
Memorabilia from 50 years of Aerosmith is on exclusive display at The Park Theater and available to the public separate from the show. Buy Tickets Aerosmith Museum Tour
A trip through rock 'n' roll history. . .
The band came together in 1970. Guitarist Joe Perry, drummer Joey Kramer, lead singer Steve Tyler, bassist Tom Hamilton, and Brad Whitford also on guitar. Boston was home base by the end of the year. An old van got them through two years of club dates before they got a break-out contract with Columbia Records.
“We weren’t too ambitious when we started out. We just wanted to be the biggest thing that ever walked the planet.” – Steven Tyler
Making their mark. . .
Power ballads were redefined with “Dream On” a single release off the 1973 self-titled Aerosmith debut album.
Albums don’t build fan bases. Touring does. And supporting other bands with very different sounds makes a band refine their own sound. Aerosmith worked hard to do it and it paid off.
Talking about the band around the time of Get Your Wings, producer Jack Douglas recalled that they “…came on in stage clothes – very glam but still very street. I’d seen the Jimmy Page Yardbirds, and that night I thought I saw the American Yardbirds…the real thing. A hard-rocking blues, R&B rock group….”
Gold and Platinum, baby!
Aerosmith created a distinctive blues/metal rock sound that was gritty without being dark and keen as a knife blade; an edgy, relentless blend of blues-inflected riffs and orchestrated swaggering rock backbone.
They have 25 gold, 18 platinum, and 12 multi-platinum albums, the record for an American band.
Polishing the mirror. . .
Subsequent albums, especially Toys in the Attic, display sound and lyrics that are hard, stripped, and in the pocket. Breaking into the Top 40 pulled earlier albums back up the charts, and the re-release of “Dream On” made the Top Ten.
Sometimes change doesn't work. . .
Joe Perry left the band in ’79 and Brad Whitford followed in ’80. New guitarists Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay weren’t enough to get the band back in the groove and Rock in a Hard Place was never considered a “real” Aerosmith album.
And sometimes change doesn’t last. Perry and Whitford returned to the band and Aerosmith boogied off on their Back in the Saddle reunion tour.
Behind the scenes, the private challenges crashed through the glossy, headlong exterior when Tyler collapsed mid-performance. For many bands of that era, creativity and being always in the spotlight were fueled by drugs and alcohol.
Said Tyler of the era: “Today I listen to those albums, some of our best, and all I hear is drugs.”
Purification in pain and struggle. . .
The infamous siren call of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll has an inescapable allure. And the only way for many to be in it, be part of it, was to surf that killer wave.
The thing about great bands is that they come back, maybe not completely healed, but there’s purification in pain and struggle. Done with Mirrors saw Tyler and Perry graduate from rehab.
Collaborations produced a string of hits from multi-platinum albums Permanent Vacation, Pump, Get a Grip, and the Geffen-years compilation Big Ones.
The Best bands almost always have good managers who try to steer artists clear of their worst impulses, stoke the creative fires, keep a schedule, and guide success. Kind of like Mom, but there you are.
When the formula for what works quits working, it can be disastrous. Studio dates are plagued by false starts and inner strife – and too many cooks! Nine Lives was gob-smacked with a revolving door of producers and songsmiths – and the dismissal of Manager Tim Collins _smack_ to forehead! Amidst (strongly denied) allegations of a relapse by Tyler and mixed reviews, the album plummeted from its number one start.
Looking back on happy times. . .
The 2001 MTV Super Bowl halftime is considered by some to be the best halftime of all time. Pop icons and rock gods shared the stage to perform their hits. And fans erupted at Aerosmith, NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly struttin’ it up on “Walk This Way.”
Early Spring saw Just Push Play catapult onto the charts. David Fricke for Rolling Stone writes: “New century, same old Aerosmith. Same five guys. [The] same iron-boned riffs and crack-the-sky choruses. Same dripping-body-juice metaphors, too…. Count your blessings – and theirs.”
This is thirty years in! Thirty years of bigger-than-life rock, drugs, fortunes made and squandered and rollercoaster charts. Fricke thinks they should all be dead or addled, and instead “Aerosmith are our most treasured and reliable warrior clowns, the original Ol’ Dirty Bastards.”
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Just enough raggedness to keep things interesting. . .
The next few years until 2006 saw a mix of work from the band. “Unrespectable blues covers” (Jon Pareles) on Honkin’ on Bobo proved they could still rock blues; a live DVD You Gotta Move went 4x platinum; Rockin’ the Joint another live DVD of an intimate set at the Hard Rock was a “tight performance with just enough raggedness to keep things interesting” (Lou Friedman). Another best-of compilation took the place of a delayed new studio album that saw the band dogged with throat surgery (Tyler), treatment for throat cancer (Hamilton) and more conflict with their record company.
As happens with many bands performing at this level, life takes a toll. A world tour in 2007 was followed by the frustration of more unfinished studio sessions. Another tour in 2009 to support Aerosmith’s special edition of Guitar Hero saw Tyler fighting a leg injury and falling off the stage a month later. The rest of the tour was cancelled.
Writing on the wall. . .
After that, Perry went solo. So did Tyler, to work on an autobiography and his own solo album. From 2010 to 2012 he was a judge on American Idol, which boosted the band’s image despite objections from the band. Tyler’s memoir “Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?” did better than singles he released during the period.
The long-awaited studio album, shelved nearly seven years earlier, was finally released at the end of 2012. Music from Another Dimension makes the mistake of dated production and ballads that…well, as Rolling Stone says, “…Tyler and his bandmates aren’t on the same pge, or the same planet.”
This was their last release. After 46 years together, Aerosmith announced that they were breaking up and doing a farewell tour in 2017. Said Tyler, “Look, there’s two bands that still have the original members, us and the Stones. I’m grateful for that.”
But not goodbye. . .
Aerosmith redefined the power ballad, created some of the grungiest, purest guitar riffs known to man, and gets away with wordplay that other bands couldn’t get out the door…we mean, the farewell tour was titled Aero-vederci Baby! and projected to last three years.
A continuing legacy. . .
MusiCares announced on October 4th that Aerosmith is their 2020 Person of the Year. The honor recognizes their philanthropic efforts over many years, and their enduring contribution to American music.
Of special note is Tyler’s initiative Janie’s Fund, for which he received the UN Humanitarian Award in 2016. The fund supports young women who’ve been traumatized by abuse and neglect.
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