Experience Hendrix Concert Review – Brad Whitford

Categories:  Brad Whitford

March 20, 2014

by Brent Owen

Something magic happened on-stage at Whitney Hall on Tuesday night. For lack of a less generic term, I believe the Experience Hendrix show could be defined as transcendence. I sat there watching 3 hours of Hendrix music, played by what one might only describe as the greatest cover band in history, and not only did it never feel stale or dated. And there were quite literally moments when I felt like I was watching myself watch the show*. I could close my eyes, and let my brain wonder off into the ether with whatever guitar virtuoso was shredding the room at any given moment.

The show was stolen early by a young up and coming guitar player with all kinds of swagger, named Eric Gales, who grabbed “Foxy Lady” by the pigtails and took off running with it. I had never heard of him before, and I will not make that mistake again. Zakk Wylde’s raucous rendition of “Purple Haze” and Buddy Guy playing Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues” were other shining moments throughout the night.

However, pinpointing my two favorite moments of the show, moments that lifted my entire being to another plain – was seeing Zakk Wylde, Johnny Lang, and Brad Whitford (of Aerosmith) all on-stage for searing version of “All Along the Watchtower”. Immediately following Lang’s set, Kenny Wayne Sheperd came out for the second peak of the night, when he wailed through the honey drip blues of “Voodoo Chile” and the rock-wah of “Voodoo Chile (slight return)” back to back.

The Experience Hendrix Tour as a whole is a failsafe formula: you take the greatest guitarists you can find and convince them to play selections from the single greatest guitar songbook in history. How can the show fail? Even the unnecessary cheese of 60’s flower-child effects pulsating on a screen above the stage, couldn’t detract from the magic that was happening on-stage.

*Note – I feel it’s worth stating that I had only consumed one beer previous to entering this show, and no other chemical enhancements were consumed prior to, during, or after said performance.

This Day In History

Categories:  Brad Whitford

February 23, 2014

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Peter Fonda is 74. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 71. Author John Sandford is 70. Singer-musician Johnny Winter is 70. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 68. Actress Patricia Richardson is 63. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 62….

Experience Hendrix Riverside show added April 4th with new special guests including Brad Whitford

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Journal Sentinel
January 20, 2014

If you didn’t get a ticket for the now sold-out Experience Hendrix tribute concert March 16 at the Riverside Theater — featuring Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang and others — you’re in luck. A second Experience Hendrix show has been added for April 4.

And if you did get a ticket for the first Experience Hendrix concert, you might want a ticket to the second one anyway. That’s because it’s a different show, with some different musicians.

New additions for the April 4 date include guitarists Robby Krieger (the Doors), Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Rich Robinson (the Black Crowes) and Mato Nanji (Indigenous). A special guest will also be announced later.

Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, Doyle Bramhall II, Chris Layton (drummer for the late Stevie Ray Vaughan), and Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Billy Cox will perform at both shows.

Reserved seats for the April 4 date are $45 to $65. Tickets are available for purchase beginning at noon Friday at the box office (116 W. Wisconsin Ave.), the Pabst Theater box office (144 E. Wells St.), by calling (414) 286-3663 and by visiting pabsttheater.org.

Video: Brad Whitford sits in with The Roots – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
November 19, 2013

Watch full episode:  (here).

Brad Whitford to perform with The Roots on Tuesday – ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’

Categories:  Brad Whitford

November 17, 2013

“Watch my dad play with the @theroots on @jimmyfallon Tuesday night 11/19 #aerosmith #jimmyfallon #theroots”

Brad Whitford performs with The Roots – Showing: Wed, Nov 20, 12:36 AM EST – Channel: NBC

More:  (here).

Brad Whitford Featured in Guitar Player Magazine’s December Issue

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Aero Force One
October 23, 2013

Be sure to pick up the December issue of Guitar Player magazine as Brad discusses Aerosmith’s two-guitar magic in the “Riffs” section.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

“Two-Guitar Bands are tough,” says Brad Whitford. “It takes a certain level of communication, and, when it’s good, you know it when you hear it. I watched Eric Gales and Eric Johnson play together on the Experience Hendrix tour, and they had people in tears. They were communicating on a whole different level. You hear something like that, and you realize what is possible. It doesn’t happen on a speaking level. It’s about vibing with somebody in a strong way, and it requires an amazing amount of commitment to the music.”

Pick up the issue and check out the rest of what Brad has to say!

Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford Interviewed On Brazil’s ‘Wikimetal’ (Audio)

Categories:  Brad Whitford

October 7, 2013

Brazil’s Wikimetal podcast recently conducted an interview with Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford. You can now listen to the chat using the link below.

Out now is Aerosmith’s latest concert film, “Rock For The Rising Sun”. The concert doc was filmed during the band’s 2011 Japanese dates, which closely followed a massive earthquake, a monstrous tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The film’s director, Casey Patrick Tebo, was able to zero in on Aerosmith’s now 35-year relationship with its fans in Japan and chronicled how the band — who was advised not to play the dates — helped their fans heal from the triple tragedy.

Last year’s “Music From Another Dimension!” set marked Aerosmith’s first collection of all-new material in 11 years. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard album chart, selling 63,000 copies in its first week of release.

Listen:  (here).

Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford in Tokyo

Categories:  Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton

August 9, 2013

From Donny Wightman’s Twitter…

“@THaerosmith and @BW_Aerosmith hangin on the day off Tokyo #aerosmith Global Warming Tour.”

Photo:  (here).

Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford Looks Back (Interview)

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Rock Cellar Magazine
August 2, 2013

Guitarist Discusses the Band’s Endurance, Legacy, and Impact

Since their ‘70s breakthrough, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry have received the lion’s share of attention from fans and press alike – and that’s just fine for the band’s guitarist Brad Whitford.

An immensely talented guitarist and gifted songwriter, Whitford is more than comfortable away from the glare of the white hot spotlight but when it comes to the essence of what drives Aerosmith, his standing is irrefutable, his contribution immeasurable.

After years of in-fighting between Tyler and the rest of his band mates, a new CD, Music from Another Dimension and a brand new DVD – Rock for the Rising Sun - the Bad Boys of Boston are clearly back in the saddle – much to the delight of their loyal “Blue Army” fan base.

Brad was kind enough to speak with Rock Cellar for a new interview, which you can enjoy below.

Rock Cellar Magazine: The new DVD Rock for the Rising Sun was filmed while the band was touring Japan in the fall of 2011, months after a tsunami, earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, which devastated the country. In essence by playing that show you were offering a way for people to forget their problems all in the name of loud rock and roll.

Brad Whitford: That’s exactly what we were thinking. We thought the Japanese people needed a little spirit-lifting. The opportunity came up to play shows in Japan and we felt we owed it to our fans over there to show them that despite all the tragedy, let us come over and play for them. Japanese audiences are so great anyway. Our Japanese fans are very unique. When we first went over to Japan in the mid ‘70s it was a very unique experience at that time because the audience was unlike any others we’ve ever experienced.

They would settle down and be just stone quiet and wait for a song to start and listen very intently while we played and maybe they’d sing along. And then they’d graciously applaud at the end of the song and then go quiet again when we kicked into another song.

They did this because they didn’t want to miss anything so that was unlike any concerts we’ve ever played because there wasn’t the usual background din of noise that you get in those big buildings. It was just remarkably quiet. (laughs)

RCM: Playing for a Japanese audience under those conditions must force the band be at the top of your game because they’re really listening.

BW: Oh yeah, you really do have to up your game a little bit because you get the sense that they are really listening and want to hear the music done really well. So that’s unique and I think that set the tone for our relationship with Japanese audiences through the years. That’s reflected on the new DVD too. You can sense how much they appreciate the music and that makes you feel great. They really have a different level of appreciation than other audiences.

RCM: Looking at the set list for the new DVD, it’s not a greatest hits jukebox tour, you’re dipping into some quality deeper cuts like S.O.S. (Too Bad) and Rats in the Cellar. Does that keep it fresh for you?

BW: Yeah. That’s the primary motivation behind doing those deeper cuts. Part of it’s about keeping us on our toes, “We’re gonna do this one, do you remember it?” Then someone might say, ”How’s that one start?”

“When you haven’t done a song for a while, the first time you play it it’s kind of like the first take in the studio.”

You don’t start to over think it. You just dive into it and that’s usually when you get great performances. So yeah, it helps keep our set fresh and a little more interesting. Almost every night when we’re touring we’ll have a basic skeleton of a set and we’ll throw different songs in to change the energy for ourselves. We’re only playing a fraction of our library in our live set so it’s exciting to pull out some of these album cuts that we haven’t played for many years.

RCM: Are there any songs that the band has never played live that you wish you would perform?

BW: Yeah, there’s some that we talk about those kind of things but we still haven’t pulled them out of the freezer yet. (laughs) We always talk about doing Round and Round from Toys in the Attic.

We play the song Somebody from our first album—we always do it in rehearsal and it just kicks butt–but it never makes it to the stage. I think we’ll continue to break out more obscure songs because it’s a lot of fun to play them. A lot of times it’s a challenge to play those as well because you go, “Oh my God, I haven’t played that for a while, how does that one go?” (laughs)

RCM: I’ve always felt that a band of Aerosmith’s caliber should do a tour incorporating the performance of an entire classic ‘70s Aerosmith album. Has that topic been broached?

BW: We talk about it all the time. A couple of tours ago we almost had the whole Toys in the Attic album down pat but the band collectively kind of lost interest in the process. I think it would be a very interesting way to do a show that would set it apart from anything we’ve ever done before. We talk about it, but we just haven’t stepped up to the plate yet.

RCM: Compared to the band’s Seventies heyday, is the 2013 edition of Aerosmith better as a live entity?

BW: I think we’re playing far better than we ever have. It’s really incredibly fun to plan an Aerosmith show now because we do it so well, if I say so myself. (laughs) I think the musicianship in the band has gone up quite a bit and I think with everybody playing a lot better and being a lot more accomplished at their instruments , it’s easier to bring back sort of that original attitude.

“Just go out there and play it like you’re playing it for the first time and don’t worry about getting right, it’ll just happen.”

RCM: In November of 2012, Aerosmith launched the new studio album, Music from Another Dimension!, with a free show outside of 1325 Commonwealth Avenue, the site of the apartment you shared with the band in the early ’70s. When you think back to those struggling days, what are your most vivid recollections?

BW: I think it was just the struggle. We were committed. We were a committed group. We were living from one show to the next and unable to pay our rent and we were barely eating. The level of commitment we had was great. I see some new young bands that are that way and that gets me excited, it’s like, “Aw man, just go for it!”

“That’s what it’s all about. It’s about jumping into a station wagon and driving all over the country.”

You just want to play your music. Although we struggled in those early days, I look back really fondly at that period of time. They were great times. We never questioned that we weren’t going to make it. That didn’t come into play in our minds. We were just going for it. We didn’t think about not making it. All we thought about was expanding our audience and just rocking.

RCM: With all the tumult happening a few years back with Steven Tyler wishing to pursue a solo career and band the looking for lead singers, were you worried that Aerosmith was going to fall apart?

BW: I think about that probably on a weekly basis and probably have from the first day of being in Aerosmith because it’s always been a tenuous situation with this band.

“It’s volatile and that’s what makes the music so good. It’s all that volatility.”

RCM: Did the press amplify the enmity happening within the band when it was reported you were holding auditions for a new singer to replace Steven?

BW: I think the press had a bit of a run with it. We seriously were talking about it. Steven was a little bit tired and fed up with the way things were going. But we just felt like we couldn’t just let the band fall apart. It never went any further than kind of talking about it. We spoke to maybe one or two singers about the idea but that was about as far as it went.

I don’t think anybody in the band was terribly keen about getting in a new lead singer. I think we were all just thinking about survival at that point. We weren’t ready to give up on the band.

RCM: What turned things around for Steven and the rest of the band?

BW: I’m not sure if there was a defining moment. Maybe after the American Idol thing, we did some shows and felt a renewed sense of energy around the band and a new level of commitment. We had a feeling among us of, “We’re gonna do this!

This is a great band. This is what we’re meant to do” kind of thing. It was just pretty obvious we needed to stick together. We felt we had plenty left in us and there was no sense in doing anything else. We’ve had different experiences with people off doing some of their own music here and there and that was fun but it doesn’t come close to the Aerosmith experience.

“We realized that our chemistry is so huge. You can’t explain it or put your finger on it, you just know that it works.”

RCM: Let me throw out a few Aerosmith songs you co-wrote and allow you to share a story behind their creation. Let’s start with Last Child.

BW: That was really a lick that I had. Steven and I wrote that together. He sat down behind the drums. He’s a drummer and he liked it. That’s where it started. He likes some oddball things sometimes, kind of out of the way riff. This was kind of a funky riff and he sat down on the drums and in short order we created Last Child.

RCM: How about Kings And Queens from the Draw The Line album?

BW: I think I came up with some parts of the basic chord structure. A bunch of us sat down and worked on that. Our producer, Jack Douglas, was a writer on that song, too. I think it’s a classic tune. It’s a very interesting tune. It certainly blows away a lot of other songs, not our songs, but a lot of other material that was created in that era (laughs). It stands heads and shoulders above a lot of other stuff that was being recorded at the time.

RCM: When Aerosmith reunited in the mid-Eighties, how confident were you that it wouldn’t self-destruct again?

BW: Oh I didn’t think it would self-destruct. I don’t know why. There were certainly some incredible low points. But it just seemed like somehow we would get through this. All that stuff then was really just all about getting out of the drug lifestyle. That was really what was in the way at that point. A lot of the creativity just couldn’t happen because people couldn’t think. Your brain has got to be free, you gotta be alive to be able to write and perform music. You’ve got to be healthy. That was dwindling at different rates for each individual (laughs). So it was that process which took quite a while to finally deal with and go through. But somehow we were doing it. We were just doing it. We were doing what we had to do to just try and keep the band together and be able to perform.

RCM: Discuss the unique guitar interplay that exists between you and Joe Perry.

BW: It’s always been second nature. Joe and I never sit down and work out a part. We literally create the parts on the fly. Joe will come up with something and I will build something around it and that’s pretty much how it’s always worked. It might take me a while to find the right part but I usually find it. So it’s always been this kind of organic approach to it. We still surprise each other.

There are things we do on the guitar that just keep getting better. A lot of that happens live, the spontaneity of live performance. We create some spaces in the show where we have a lot of improv going on, especially with the guitars. It’s never the same so it makes it a lot of fun.

RCM: When learning to play the guitar, was there a guitar solo that you aspired to master and said, “Man, if I can ever learn to play this solo I know I’m on my way to becoming a good player?”

BW: Sunshine of Your Love by Cream, was one. Even to this day, every time I hear (Eric) Clapton’s solo, it’s just awe inspiring to me. Another one is Communication Breakdown by Led Zeppelin or any number of Hendrix songs. Also, anything that Jeff Beck ever even thought about doing. (laughs) We have a love and appreciation for that stuff, I guess it gets worse. The affliction continues to grow. (laughs) Maybe getting close to at least being able to sound like you knew what you were doing (laughs). We were so inspired by all of that British hard rock and we never really lost that foundation with players like Jimmy Page and all those guys. We just kind of continued to perfect what we were perceiving in our heads as to what they were doing.

RCM: It’s well documented that during the ’70s the band was in the throes of major substance abuse; Steven and Joe are labeled by the press as the “Toxic Twins”. Looking back, do you think the drug use enhanced your creativity?

BW: I would say that some of that stuff written until the influence was definitely creative but the majority was not.

RCM: So the creativity happened in spite of the drug use, it didn’t enhance creativity?

BW: I think it was much more of a detriment. Like a lot of bands from that era, we got so busy becoming avid drug users and the music was falling into second place. That’s just backwards. It’s not what happened when you’re 12 or 13 years old watching your favorite bands on TV. We weren’t sitting home in our parent’s houses doing drugs and watching TV. It was totally pure and drugs got in the way of that pureness. I think there’s a side of it where you think it’s more fun—I guess it’s just the rush of it all.

“In this business you can tend to get hooked on rushes, the rush of an audience and all the things that kind of go along with it. But then you realize, I’ve gotta limit those, I’ve got to keep it to the music and the performance and the rest of it just takes away from that.”

It doesn’t add anything to what you’re doing.

RCM: Away from touring and recording, what occupies your time?

BW: I did a lot of driving, go kart racing and stuff like that which was a similar adrenaline rush to performing. But I don’t find a need for that stuff much anymore. It’s more about finding quiet time and then that leads to the creative space.

RCM: You have a nice collection of guitars. Hypothetically, you’re broke and you have to pawn them all and only save one, which do you choose?

BW: At this point it would be a Stratocaster because I’ve just found it to be the most versatile tool in my collection. I’ve managed to make it sound like all of the things I needed it to sound like and it does it so well. I love Les Pauls but the Strat is just more versatile; you can do more with it. I have this ’54 Stratocaster that if it was on a rack in Guitar Center you’d think it was brand new. It’s that pristine. So I would probably have to hang on to that one. (laughs)

Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford: ‘We Always Seem to Make Plenty of Our Own Drama’

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Ultimate Classic Rock
July 19, 2013

In more than four decades of being a band, Aerosmith had made many trips to Japan, but their visit in December 2011 was special on a number of levels.

The Boston-bred group arrived in Japan as the country was in the middle of regrouping from a year filled with tragedy. An earthquake and tsunami coupled with a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant (the largest of its kind since the Chernobyl incident in 1986) had left the residents of Japan with a lengthy list of issues and uncertainties to contend with.

Outsiders were being urged to stay away because of the disorder and radiation-related health concerns, but that was hardly a deterrent for Aerosmith, who decided to push forward and bring their gift of music to Japan.

The band had faced its own series of challenges in the recent few years — perhaps more accurately described as “just another day in the life of Aerosmith.” But as the new DVD and Blu-ray ‘Rock for the Rising Sun’ reveals, the Japanese shows found the veteran band in the middle of a creative rebirth and looking good despite the health issues and internal strife that had seemingly threatened to drive them apart for what could be the last time.

The return to action ultimately produced an album’s worth of long-awaited new music after a lengthy drought from recording (last year’s ‘Music From Another Dimension’), continued touring and, most recently, some rumblings that even more new music might be lurking around the corner.

These are good times for Aerosmith, even with every set of odds that might seem stacked against them. Guitarist Brad Whitford took a few minutes to dig into things a bit and let us know the current lay of the land and what might be ahead for the group.

Over the years, Aerosmith have done concert films and documentaries — this one is a mixture of the two. What was the stimulating factor behind documenting this particular trip and the related shows?

It was really because we were coming [to play shows] so soon after the tragedies in Japan. We thought that it was going to be an interesting time to be there. Most of the stuff [that was filmed for the documentary] is from Japan. It felt like a small musical historical moment for us. We’ve been going to Japan for years and years and just have a really faithful following there. We hadn’t really done any concert videos in a long time, so we just thought it would make an interesting video to [capture] some of these live performances and include a little bit more [video] behind the scenes. We’ve always kind of done that and people seem to find that interesting.

This film documents an interesting period for the band, because you guys were in a bit of a rebuilding phase, taking things back out on the road and also at the same time, working on a new album. What are your thoughts as you look back at that time period?

Oh, wow. I don’t know, it’s more of the same thing. [With] Aerosmith, we always seem to make plenty of our own drama. I guess we’ve always been really good at that. We went through some strange times when Steven [Tyler] was putting together this deal to be on ‘American Idol,’ and we’d never been faced with a situation where somebody was going to be really unavailable for quite some time. So it was like, “Oh, what’s going on?” We didn’t really know what to make of it at first. It created a lot of weird moments for us. So it was after going through all of that and we were just going back to [being a band again]. It’s easy for us, you know? Aerosmith is kind of just like getting in a car and turning the key — you don’t have to do much — just get the guys together and start playing and there you are!

I know that you kept busy during that time period where things were strange, with doing the Experience Hendrix tour and some other things like that. Was there ever a point for you where you thought that perhaps you had done your last show as a member of Aerosmith? Did you have those kind of thoughts?

I have those thoughts on a routine basis, actually! You never know. I think at times you might think that, but I don’t know when we’re going to get to that chapter of our history. We always seem to make it come back.. Because like I said, it’s easy to do. But yeah, I guess there are certain times where I’ve certainly had those thoughts. But it doesn’t seem to linger too long.

One of the best things about this touring run has been not only how great the band sounds, more than 40 years on, but also, how deep you guys are going into the catalog, pulling out some really nice album cuts. For you, what are the songs that you’ve really enjoyed playing on this run?

I enjoy playing all of it, I really do. Whether it’s something we haven’t played in a long time or we’re playing ‘Walk This Way,’ [with] how many ever times we’ve performed that. I truly enjoy playing all of the music. It’s fun to pull out some of the ones that haven’t been around for a while and you kind of have to revisit, “Oh gosh, what key is that in?” and “What happens during the chorus? Oh yeah, yeah, yeah … ”

So it’s fun to at least challenge yourself a little bit because a lot of the stuff that we do in Aerosmith we know awfully well. It’s fun to pull out something you haven’t done in a while and whenever you do something for the first time or something that you haven’t done in a while, there’s always a special kind of energy that surrounds that. It’s kind of like the first take that you do in the recording studio that always seems to have the most natural feeling to it.

When you start thinking about it too much, you lose some of the spontaneity that comes with doing something for the first time. It’s just great. It helps us spice up our performance a little bit for us and the audience. There’s so many deep cuts that we have which we have so many requests for all of the time, and we don’t always get to satisfy all of those needs of the fans because we’d have to do a four-hour show, I think!

Is there one that you’d really love to pull out that you guys haven’t gotten to yet?

I think probably some of the older stuff that we never seem to get to. We go through it in rehearsal and it never makes it to the stage, like some of the old rockers, even off of the first album. There’s a song called ‘Somebody’ on the first album that always kind of gets overlooked. It wasn’t a hit or anything, but the way the band plays it now, it’s just such a great rock song and it has a very clever solo by Joe Perry with the harmony that Steven does with him.

It’s just a nice rock song — I love playing it and like I said, we do it in rehearsal and then it never makes it to the stage! I guess we feel that maybe too many people will go “What’s that?” Which I don’t think that matters — I think there’s always a certain element in the audience that’s going to go “Oh man, that’s so cool — I can’t believe they’re playing that one!” That’s fun, and I think that’s when you’re really getting into it.

I think that’s what has been cool about this tour though is that there are some good “what’s that?” moments in the set for folks who are maybe more casual Aerosmith fans. But you talked about the energy and I think there’s a lot of energy that was captured in this film. One moment that I love in the film is where the band is discussing playing ‘Hangman Jury’ despite a lack of rehearsal and somebody points out that the fans don’t care about the mistakes — they’re just happy the song is being played. I think that’s a good reminder to not be too analytical about things, but at the same time I’m sure that is hard for you guys to do sometimes.

You know what, we definitely think it out and too much deep thought goes into something that’s pretty straight forward. Despite the worries about mistakes [on ‘Hangman Jury’], I don’t think we actually made any. But yeah, it is more important to just jump into it, and a lot of people love that spontaneity — I mean, I do. I love it when we play something like that we haven’t done in a while.

We’re not going to play anything we really don’t like, and we have a few of those duds in our arsenal that we kind of look back and go “Why did we ever record that song?” But you know, we’ll pull those out … there’s always some kind of a little gem in some parts of the song that made it what it is and it’s great to revisit.

If you had to point to one of those duds, what would one of those be?

There’s just some of them that I look back and think that some of the stuff, like on ‘Done With Mirrors,’ when I listen back to it, it doesn’t sound like we really finished it. It’s kind of like, “Oh well, this is good enough!” Now I look back and go “Man, we shouldn’t have done it” or “We could have done a lot more with that,” but that happens over a career that spans 40 years. If they were all hits, we’d be up there in the Beatles league!

There’s been talk about a new Aerosmith album, which suggests we might not have to wait as long for the next one as we did for the latest one. What sort of discussions have there been about a new album?

Every time you do a record, the first thing that we do shortly after it’s completed is to start picking it apart [with] a lot of song criticism, “We should have done this” and “We should have done that.” You’re always trying to do the best you can, and I know it’s Monday-morning quarterbacking, but we always think we can do a better job and maybe go in some different directions [with the next album] that we haven’t [done before].

So we were talking about it while we were doing this record, because we were accumulating so much material. It was a very creative time, and I think we’re still in that space although we have no current plans on the calendar to get into the studio and start again. But those kind of things can happen with a single phone call, and then [after that] we’ll be in the studio and start doing something.

The new album is out there, but you guys haven’t had the chance to play a lot of material from it live, for one thing, because the band is so busy and has been on the road fairly nonstop. I’m curious to know how you guys feel collectively as far as how the album has been received?

I think we were genuinely disappointed. We’re old-school and albums just aren’t what they were. The whole process has changed, and they don’t sell like they used to for almost all bands. So everybody’s kind of rethinking about what is the best way to get your music out there and what’s the best way to present it? It’s not like you have to do an old-school album anymore. You can simply get tracks onto iTunes and see what happens to them. But yeah, we’re still in that old-school mode, so it’s all new territory for us and we still haven’t gotten accustomed to it.

Brad Whitford of Aerosmith Talks “Rock for the Rising Sun”, Japan, and So Much More

Categories:  Brad Whitford

July 18, 2013

Aerosmith have pretty much conquered the entire world at this point. That’s an indisputable fact. Impressively, the Boston legends remain as focused and fiery as ever on recent tours. A lot of that fire comes from the interplay between guitarists Brad Whitford and Joe Perry.

Nobody can ever forget those big Aerosmith riffs, and there’s nothing like hearing them live and loud. One country the band has a special relationship feels that same enchantment. Japan is totally crazy for the boys, and it’s all chronicled on their raucous, rowdy, and rollicking new DVD, Rock for the Rising Sun , out July 23. It’s essential viewing for all rock fans…

In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Brad Whitford of Aerosmith talks Rock for the Rising Sun, the band’s special relationship with Japan, and so much more.

What was your first tour of Japan like?

Our first time there was around 1975 or 1976. It was our first time playing in front of a Japanese audience, and it was really unique and different. We were used to playing in front of all of these rowdy crowds. They were completely the opposite, and they were very intent on listening to the music. We’d play a song. They’d applaud. Then, they’d go completely quiet anxiously awaiting the next song. They’d listen very intently through that with no noise. I thought, “Wow, these people are not letting anything interfere with the experience”. We developed a great appreciation for that audience over the years.

Is it a different kind of energy to feed off of?

Well, it was different initially getting used to the fact that they were just listening and not doing anything else. We weren’t used to that. It’s definitely a different kind of energy. I guess it’s more cerebral. It did take a little getting used to for sure. We’re more used to a chaotic setting for sure [Laughs] It’s far less chaotic.

How has your relationship with Japan grown over the years?

Because of that element of appreciation for the music and their fondness for it, we have probably some of the most loyal fans on the planet there. If we’re over there, we always travel around the country on the Bullet Train. We’ll have an entourage of fans that will come and see every single show. We have some Japanese fans who travel around the world to see our shows. Probably the most infamous is a friend of ours named Nobu. He’s seen somewhere north of 200 shows over his career as a fan [Laughs]. That’s pretty incredible. I can’t imagine having seen The Rolling Stones or someone 200 times.

What songs do you love to play the most?

I think I have a greater appreciation for the songs. A great song is so much fun to perform, whether it’s “Walk This Way” for the thousandth time or whatever. It’s never dull. We’re break out things like “Back in the Saddle”, and they still get my heart going. I’ll hear it on the radio, and it doesn’t lose its fire for me. I have to say. I enjoy playing all of it.

Was there a favorite show from Rock for the Rising Sun?

Well, the band is playing so well these days. We don’t have too many flat moments anymore. They all have a different energy about them. I don’t know what it is whether it’s what you had for breakfast or a pretty girl standing in front of you. I don’t know what the elements are. It’s always a great energy and communication that you have with the audience. It’s always a great experience. It’s a privilege and to be able to do that.

Is it important to capture that live energy in the studio?

It was always a show for us. It wasn’t a collection of songs. We designed a lot of material that we would feel one-hundred percent comfortable playing in the live setting and had a certain level of excitement we wanted to create for ourselves through of the live shows we did in the early days. You test the waters, and you find out what things work and don’t work. We’ve always maintained that sensibility about our music. You want to feel to get up and play it in front of a little club or a large arena. It had to pass our litmus test to end up on a record. That didn’t always work [Laughs]. There’s some stuff in the library that we’ll never play again. I guess that’s what happens. They can’t all be hits!

What does Aerosmith mean to you in 2013?

It’s been my whole adult life. It’s intertwined with everything that’s happened. My relationships and family have all been intertwined with Aerosmith. There are a lot of special moments associated with that. Two of my sons have performed with Aerosmith in live situations. A lot of the women in my life wouldn’t have been there without Aerosmith [Laughs]. Just because, that’s what I did from the time I was nineteen until now. I have a great appreciation for it, and I think we all do. I think we really honor what we have by getting out there and doing the best possible performance we can. We’re really enjoying it now more than ever.

How did “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” and “Lover A lot” on Music from Another Dimension! come about?

They fit like a glove. That’s the mentality about being on stage and trying to marry one good song and having a flow that means something or seems to mean something. It’s not disjointed. We’re always thinking about that. Every single night before a show, we’re revisiting our set list and asking, “Is this working? Is that working? Do we want to do something different?” We’re always looking at that. It’s partly for ourselves and the audience.

What’s next for you?

We’re about to head back to Japan in a couple of weeks. We’re doing our first couple of concerts in China in August. That should be pretty interesting. We come back and play the Harley Davidson anniversary. Then, we’re going to South America. That will probably take us through to the end of the year. Next year, we’re hoping to go back to Europe and also play some dates in this country.

Brad Whitford Interview – We Thought We Owed It To Our Fans

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Guitar International
By: Rob Cavuoto
July 8, 2013

Aerosmith are truly one of the great rock acts of all time and this incredible concert film, Rock for the Rising Sun, brings together tracks from across their storied career.

This is the band’s first live video release in nine years, since the You Gotta Move in 2004 and it offers a unique behind the scene look at life on the road with Aerosmith combined with superb live performances from Japan.

Despite advice to the contrary, Aerosmith brought their “Back On The Road” tour to Japan in the fall of 2011 after the country was beset by a huge earthquake, a monstrous tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

A country with which they’d always had a special relationship. The Japanese fans came out in droves and Aerosmith responded with some of the finest shows of their distinguished career.

After seeing the film, legendary Aerosmith producer, Jack Douglas, called this film a “love letter to the Japanese fans.”

The DVD features: “Love In An Elevator,” “Livin’ On The Edge,” “Last Child,” “Walk This Way,” “Draw The Line,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Hangman Jury,” and many more. As bonuses, the DVD includes extra live tracks, “Lick and a Promise” recorded at the Hiroshima Green Garden Arena and “One Way Street” taken from the Tokyo Dome.

I had the pleasure to sit down with Aerosmith guitarist, Brad Whitford, to talk about the importance of the DVD, the evolution of the band, and the next Aerosmith CD.


Robert Cavuoto: The DVD really captured the energy and emotion of the Japanese shows. What were your thoughts when you first saw the video?

Brad Whitford: I lived it, so I kind of knew what we were going to see. The Japanese fans are some of the most unique fans on the planet. It’s always very special to go there and play for them.

We thought this was a very special time, and when the opportunity came up, we thought we owed it to our fans over there, to give them some sort of relief from all the tragedy. It was a great time for us. Hopefully, some of that feeling comes through the DVD.

Robert: It truly does. Was there ever a point where you and the band were concerned about radiation exposure?

Brad Whitford: Certainly, we had our concerns. Anybody would, but I think all the places we went really weren’t subject to much contamination. I guess the thing you worry most about is some of the food and where it came from.

Japanese people thought they’d been lied to about the whole situation. They were, I guess. We were a little apprehensive, but in the end, it’s probably not much more dangerous than anyplace you could go in the world these days.

Robert: You’re probably right about that. Aerosmith is pretty unique in that you change the set list around for almost every show in order to give the fans a better experience. How important is it to you as a performer not to be locked into the same 13 songs every night?

Brad Whitford: Well, it’s great for us and the fans. We like to shake it up a little bit. It puts a different energy to the show, and you have a different mindset when it’s not the same thing every night. Every show, even if you are doing the same material, is different; the energy is different, the combination of performers and audience. Anything else you can do to help bring some new life to it, we always welcome that.

And the other thing is, we have such a body of work to choose from. I mean, we can’t even approach it in two or even three hours. If we did that, we still couldn’t do everything. We have all these songs. We’re like, “Ok, let’s try and break out some stuff maybe we haven’t played in a while.”

In the future, I hope we’ll continue to do that and maybe play some stuff that people haven’t heard in a long time, including us!

Robert: I think most fans like to hear the more obscure songs. I have to imagine the songs from the ‘70s and ‘80s have evolved from the way the band originally recorded them. Do you find that’s the case 30 plus years later?

Brad Whitford: Most definitely. Songs tend to naturally evolve from when we initially did them. We played anywhere and everywhere in the early days. We would often times adapt songs to the live performance and do things in a song that wouldn’t be on a record. Sometimes those changes evolved – they come, they stay, they go. The tempo might change a little bit. A lot of times, things might generally be a little more up-tempo than the original songs. And then, the original track. I might play a kind of a modified guitar part then what I did on the record.

Something that’s more representative of the actual, final mix. So sometimes I might be playing one of the parts of the recording, and then I might be playing something that Joe did on the record, while he’s doing something else. It’s like we listen to a track and trying to make it as close to the original concept. Sometimes we just assign, hey, you do that; I’ll do this. I’ll make it sound like what the final mix is, so whatever it takes.

Robert: We talked a little bit about how some of the songs have changed. How have you seen the band change and evolve from the ‘70s?

Brad Whitford: It’s changed a lot. You know, we’ve all gone through our own personal lives and also through different journeys. I hope we have a much better appreciation that we’re all still the same group of guys doing it, which is pretty much unheard of in that business.

People have to stay inspired. Everybody worked at it more and wants to be a better player. That just benefits the group. Everybody’s musicianship has just continued to blossom. I think there’s a sort of friendly competitive spirit about it in that band. I’m gonna try to knock your socks off.

If I can knock the socks off somebody in my band, I know I’m on the right foot. [Laughter] And I think we all kind of do that a little bit, and it keeps upping the game. It makes for wonderful performances these days. It’s a delight to be part of it.

Robert: Last time you and I spoke, we talked about how long it took to make Music From Another Dimension with all the false starts and stops. Now the big buzz is that Steven Tyler is going to be doing a solo album. Do you see another Aerosmith album in the future?

Brad Whitford: Hmmm. Not a clue.

Robert: I appreciate the honesty.

Brad Whitford: I don’t know what Steven’s waiting for. He’s been talking about a solo album for – I don’t know – 20 years. I don’t know if he needs a permission slip or something. Just go do it; stop talking about it. [Laughter] Nobody cares.

He should go do it and have fun. Go enjoy it. I really don’t know as far as the next Aerosmith album. It could come as a phone call. Next January or February I could get a call from Joe, “Hey, let’s go in the studio.” And it’ll happen like that.

Robert: Are you prepared with new songs if he calls you up?

Brad Whitford: I don’t have a whole lot. But we still have some ideas from our last record. I’ve always got a few things sitting around, but I’d like to approach those things from ground zero and just collaborate.

Robert: I know you’re a big guitar collector. What would be the one guitar that you would grab running out of a burning building?

Brad Whitford: Wow. It’s probably several. I would try and carry more than one out [Laughing]. I’ve got two ’59 Les Paul that it would be an awful pity to lose and then I have a ’54 Strat. It would be just a terrific tossup. I don’t know what I’d do. If I can grab three, I’d probably take the two ‘59s and the ’54 Strat, and stumble my way out of the burning building.

Robert: I know the feeling. I’d be tossing my guitars out the window hoping for the best.

Brad Whitford: Well, if they were Strats, they’d probably survive. If they were Les Pauls, you’d probably have to fix a lot of necks. The one thing about a Strat, it’s almost impossible to break it.

Robert: I spoke to Derek St. Holmes about a year-and-a-half, two years ago. He said you and he were considering doing some work together. Did anything ever come of it?

Brad Whitford: We’re neighbors. We both live in the same town in Tennessee. Yeah, we’re together all the time, and actually I’m probably going to be joining him onstage in a couple of days for a concert here in Nashville. We’re always playing, but we haven’t figured out what it’s going to be yet. I don’t know what we’re waiting for.

Robert: Maybe waiting for Steven’s solo album, right?

Brad Whitford: Maybe you’re right. Maybe it would take Steven saying, “I’m not going to be available for the next eight weeks.” And we’d say, “OK, let’s do it then.” A lot of times it’s scheduling. I’ve got to go off and do these shows, and then all of a sudden, he’s going out with Ted Nugent. We’re both very busy. It’s sometimes hard to get that stretch. You need a chunk of time, where you can go do it.

Robert: Regarding the Songwriter Hall of Fame in New York. How come the whole band wasn’t included with that award?

Brad Whitford: You know what? It never even occurred to me. I never even thought about that, I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. I think it was just probably the number of songs and maybe some of the hits they both penned together. But, no, I don’t really know.

I wasn’t even invited, [Laughter]. I’m proud of those guys. I’m glad they got it. It’s a pretty cool thing, but, no. When you listen to some of the stuff that they’ve done over the years, to me it gets more impressive as time goes by.

Robert: Are you going to do the Experience Hendrix Tour again?

Brad Whitford: Well, I try to do it every time, but the last thing I heard was that they’re going to be doing it in October of this year. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in South America with Aerosmith. That’s one of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had is going out with that group. We have a great time and I think that just comes across to the people sitting in the audience. Everybody’s having fun.

Brad Whitford Interview: Aerosmith still going strong after four decades of rock

Categories:  Brad Whitford

The Charleston Gazette, WV
July 4, 2013

A lot of big-name guitarists have one special guitar. It’s their “weapon of choice,” a guitar they return to time and again, and when you see them live, odds are, at some point in the evening, that guitar is going to find its way into their hands — if it hasn’t been there all along.

Guitarists can be sentimental about these instruments. Country legend Willie Nelson, rocker Neil Young and blues great B.B. King all gave their favorite guitars names. Kenny Wayne Shepherd had his favorite guitar cloned and keeps the original at home.

Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford loves his guitars, too, but he doesn’t have a “main ax” — at least, he doesn’t have a special guitar he takes on the road with him.

“I have what I like to call my tool box. Basically, it’s a Les Paul, a Telecaster and a Stratocaster,” said Whitford, whose band performs Saturday as part of the Greenbrier Classic Concert Series at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Fairlea

But the 61-year-old rocker doesn’t just have just one of anything.

“I might have five or six Strats that I really like to play, the same with the Les Pauls,” he said. “They’re ‘58 or ‘59 designs, but basically newer guitars.

“Occasionally, I’ll break out a vintage guitar. There’s nothing like playing the vintage stuff, but I just don’t feel comfortable carting them around. I just couldn’t bear to lose one in a stupid way.”

There are a lot of stupid ways to lose an instrument. Some highlights include leaving them on buses, cabs or trains. There’s also the possibility of instruments getting broken or lost by airlines, plus the usual chances for theft.

Whitford said there’s a whole bunch of his band’s equipment at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

“We did a European tour once, and all of our equipment traveled by boat,” he said. “After the tour was over, the boat sank.”

Whitford said he doesn’t remember losing any really important guitars on that boat, but he remembers losing pedals and amps. Those, he misses.

“I hate to lose anything,” he said. “You get attached to all of it.”

Whitford said he has quite a little collection of guitars and amps he’s built up over the years — a lot of it stuff he probably wouldn’t take on tour — and the collection just sort of grows.

“I probably have everything I need, but it never stops,” he said.

Recently, a friend who works in a music store emailed him a picture of an amp someone had brought in to sell. Along with the photo was the message, “Here’s a picture of your next amp.”

“It was a 1956 Fender Twin Reverb,” he said. “Oh, my God. Here’s a ‘56 Twin that Keith Richards hasn’t bought yet.”

He laughed then sighed, “It never stops.”

Whitford’s ability to afford new gear doesn’t appear to be in any kind of real jeopardy. With more than 40 years in rock music, Aerosmith is still considered one of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll.

Last November, the band released its 15th studio album, and 30th record overall, “Music from Another Dimension!” The band shows no real signs of being interested in retiring, although singer Steven Tyler keeps talking about doing a solo album.

“I keep asking him what he’s waiting for,” Whitford laughed.

Otherwise, everybody is more or less fine — a few health problems here and there, but it’s nothing they can’t handle.

“Everybody is still hanging,” he said. “I suppose we’re maturing — or growing old together.”

Maturing doesn’t necessarily mean slowing down, but Whitford acknowledges that the band’s live show might not have exactly the same level of energy it had 20 or 30 years ago.

They’ve cut back, he said. They don’t work as much, and when they tour, they try to break up the shows with a day or so in between to give Tyler a chance to rest his throat.

“Primarily, because he puts so much into his performance,” Whitford said. “He just doesn’t think that he could do it at that level with back-to-back days.”

Still, Whitford thinks Aerosmith is playing better than ever.

“Somehow, we conserve our energy and save it for the concert,” he said. “They’re still pretty high-energy shows.”

Buddy Guy teams with Keith Urban, Kid Rock, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford

Categories:  Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler

USA Today
June 13, 2013

Blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy, 76, will release a double-disc album, Rhythm & Blues, on July 30, and he has enlisted a bunch of younger admirers to join him on the project.

The follow-up to 2010’s Living Proof — which earned Guy the latest of his six Grammy Awards, and his highest position ever on the Billboard 200 albums chart (No. 46) — features such notable guests as Keith Urban, Kid Rock, Beth Hart, Gary Clark Jr. and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford.

Rhythm & Blues was produced by Guy’s longtime collaborator Tom Hambridge, who also worked with him on Proof.

Brad Whitford Performs at Oklahoma Benefit Concert

Categories:  Brad Whitford

June 7, 2013

“Great time performing at the Diamond Ballroom with one of our special guests and a great friend Brad Whitford of Aerosmith .. More photos to come!”

Photo:  (here).

Kenny Wayne Shepherd to Host Oklahoma City Benefit Concert – Brad Whitford To Perform

Categories:  Brad Whitford

June 2, 2013

Multi-platinum blues/rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd is hosting a “We Can Help Moore” benefit concert on Friday, June 7 at the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City featuring performances by Shepherd himself, as well as Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, Grammy-award winning Contemporary Blues sensation Keb Mo, and the incredible Kansas City Blues siblings Trampled Under Foot.

The evening will also offer a silent auction that includes an autographed Oklahoma City Thunder basketball, a package from the Renaissance Hotel and Spa and a special Kenny Wayne Shepherd Fender guitar.

Profits from the star-studded event will be donated to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in support all of the Oklahoma communities it serves in the wake of the recent tornadoes.

Tickets ($30 each) are available online at www.dcfconcerts.com, at Buy For Less stores, and by phone at 866.977.6849.

Brad Whitford to Appear on The Tonight Show 3/12

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Aero Force One
March 12, 2013

Brad Whitford will be making an appearance tonight (Tuesday 3/12) on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Be sure to tune in and check out Buddy Guy and The Experience Hendrix All Star Band, featuring Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Brad Whitford, Chris Layton, Manto Nanji and Marty Sammon.

This Day In History

Categories:  Brad Whitford

February 23, 2013

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Peter Fonda is 73. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 70. Author John Sandford is 69. Singer-musician Johnny Winter is 69. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 67. Actress Patricia Richardson is 62. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 61….

Photo Credit:  (Bob Cohen).

Marshall Law: Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford is equally fond of classic Gibsons and Fenders

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Guitar Aficionado

Enjoy this excerpt from the new January/February 2013 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine:

Marshall Law: Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford is equally fond of classic Gibsons and Fenders—but only those that sound good through a cranked British stack.

By Ted Drozdowski | Photos by Roderick Trestrail II

Electric guitars have always proved both fascinating and inspiring to Brad Whitford. “My father had some intuition about my playing music,” the Aerosmith guitarist recalls, sitting on the back porch of his gorgeous hillside horse farm, nestled in the hills just outside of Nashville. “At first he brought home an acoustic guitar and set it by the piano we owned, but I didn’t touch it. Then he bought a $25 Japanese-made Winston electric, and I couldn’t put it down. Within a year I’d surpassed what my teacher could show me, and then I was off on my own.”

Whitford started playing gigs at 14, armed with a now long-gone Fender Jaguar and a Fender Bandmaster amplifier. Inspired by Cream, Jimi Hendrix, local Boston-area outfits like the J. Geils Band, and eventually Jimmy Page, he attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music (he stayed for a mere two semesters) and developed his chops and sound. By the time he joined Aerosmith in 1971, he was plugging a 1968 Les Paul “Gold Top” with P-90 pickups into a Marshall stack and letting it fly.

Over the ensuing four decades, Whitford bought and sold more than a few instruments, and today his collection numbers around 60 or 70 pieces. “I know what I like, and that’s a Les Paul or a Stratocaster plugged into a 100-watt Marshall or into a newer amp inspired by a Marshall.” That would include models made by 3 Monkeys, the amp company in which Whitford is a partner. “That kind of setup has been my preference ever since I saw Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin in 1968 at Frank Connelly’s Carousel Theater in Framingham, Massachusetts. So the majority of my guitars are Les Pauls and Strats.”

These days, Whitford prefers to keep his vintage instruments safely stored in closets at home or at Aerosmith’s Pandora’s Box studio, in Massachusetts. “Years ago, after one of our overseas tours, we decided to ship everything back on a freighter, and it went down at sea with all our gear aboard, including some nice guitars,” he recalls.

Lately, Whitford hasn’t had much time to commune with the guitars that he keeps at his bucolic homestead. He’s been touring hard with Aerosmith and ensconced in the studio making their long-awaited new album, Music from Another Dimension! It’s the group’s first disc since 2004’s blues-roots tribute Honkin’ on Bobo, and it’s their first album of originals since 2001’s Just Push Play.

“There were times when I had doubts that we’d make another album,” Whitford says, acknowledging the series of false starts and conflicts that kept the group from tracking a new disc over the years. “There were writing sessions that didn’t work and trips into the studio where we just couldn’t get our vibe. But about a year and a half ago, we decided we wanted to work with Jack Douglas again. Jack’s so alive, and he gets so into it. He loves music so much, it’s like it’s coming through him. He knows how we work best, and the ideas started flying right from the start.”

The reunion with überproducer Douglas, who helmed the classic Seventies Aerosmith discs Get Your Wings, Toys in the Attic, Rocks, and Draw the Line, was part of the group’s campaign to get back to its career-defining sound. The album’s first single, “Legendary Child,” blows in on the kind of sirocco riff that originally put the band on the map. Tracks like “Oh Yeah” and “Lover Alot” keep kicking up dust and tap into the vein of down-and-dirty rock and roll that all five members share as their first and deepest bond.

Not surprisingly, at this point in his career, Whitford needs to feel a similarly deep connection with an instrument in order to deem it worth keeping. “A guitar has to be fun to play,” he says. “Otherwise it’s just firewood. I’ve got a bunch of firewood I’ve been selling off lately on eBay. People say, ‘You’re selling guitars on eBay?’ But that’s where you sell guitars these days.”

For the rest of this story, plus photos of eight of Whitford’s classic guitars — including Les Pauls, Strats, Teles, Les Paul Juniors and more — check out the new January/February 2013 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine, which is available now at the Guitar World Online Store. It’s the one with Eric Clapton on the cover.

Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford on too many guitars, Joe Perry and Music From Another Dimension!

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Music Radar
December 5, 2012

Between illnesses, surgeries, injuries and rehab stints, along with an extended, well-publicized squabble between singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, a lot of people were betting against Aerosmith during the last few years. When asked if he ever had serious concerns as to the future of the band, guitarist Brad Whitford lets out an amused sigh and says, “For us, it all becomes second nature.”

For years, Whitford has been something of a secret weapon for the Boston-based quintet, churning out locomotive-like rhythm guitar, taking more than the occasional stand-out solo and, as a writer, putting his stamp on fan favorites such as Nobody’s Fault, Last Child and Permanent Vacation. On Music From Another Dimension!, Whitford’s name is on a trio of massive rock beasts (Lover Alot, Sweet Jesus, Beautiful) and a catchy-as-the-flu country-style power ballad (Can’t Stop Lovin’ You) that features Carrie Underwood. “Hey, I try,” Whitford says with a chuckle. “I’m getting better, I guess.”

Several weeks ago, Joe Perry sat down with MusicRadar to talk about the new album and the state of union that is Aerosmith, and now it’s Whitford’s turn. In the following Q&A, the guitarist weighs in on band drama, trading licks with Mr. Perry, working with longtime friend and producer Jack Douglas, and whether he ever feels overwhelmed by owning so many guitars.

The turbulence in the band was such news leading up to the new album, but you seem to take it in stride.

“You know, we still have our original members, and we’ve seen our ups and downs – Tom with his throat cancer and, you know, a general volatility. But volatility is a unique issue, because when I first joined the band, back in 1971, there was tumultuous fighting going on. There was even a period where I’d come off stage, grab my bag and my clothes, and I’d go somewhere other than the dressing room to change. It got pretty ugly.

“But we were battling technology at the time. There wasn’t much in the way of monitors for Steven, and Joe and I were playing out of Marshall stacks. We had a tendency to play pretty loud. We had a lot to work through. Steven would have to fight to hear himself. There wasn’t a lot of compromise on the guitar players’ parts.”

How would you describe your relationship with Joe Perry as guitarists?

“We’re very intuitive. We have a natural ability to complement each other’s playing. It’s kind of come full circle, actually. Joe is playing as well as I’ve ever heard him. He’s been through some rough periods in his life, and it affected his playing, but now he’s on top of his game. It makes my life a lot easier when we can both work together the way we do. Certain guitar players I’ve worked with, either you blend very well or you clash.”

After all these years, a lot of people think of you as the band’s “rhythm guitarist,” which isn’t true at all. How intact is your ego?

“I don’t have an overblown part of me that has to stand in special light or do something that I don’t feel has anything to do with my true passion, which is just performance. I don’t have to stand on the nose of the stage or on the tallest part of the building… or any of that.

“What people understand and what they get is honesty in your music. That shines through stronger than anything. It’s just like witnessing a great performance by a great actor. It’s a matter of letting go and allowing the artistry to shine through. I think I always knew that, the idea that I didn’t have to be a flash in the pan. I just needed to concentrate on the gift that I’ve been given.”

When I spoke with Joe, he told me that he finds it hard to tell his guitar parts from yours on the new record. To him, this is a good thing – he likes it all to sound like one guy.

“I think that’s because we’ve learned so much as players from each other. Our techniques and approaches are really quite different: The way we create music, the way we analyze it, the way we hold picks in our hands, or what we choose to play as far as notes – stuff like that.”

How about your choices of guitars? If you pick up a Les Paul, will Joe automatically go for a Strat or a Tele, and vice versa?

“We’ve always kind of done that. I’ve always been very aware choosing different guitars. But there are times when we’ll both play Stratocasters on the same song, because we’ll know that it’ll work, as well.”

Continue Reading:  (here).