Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford: “We all realized what a great thing we had”

Categories:  Brad Whitford

Palm Beach Post, FL
August 9, 2010

When Brad Whitford says he’s excited to be playing at BankAtlantic Center tonight [8/9/10] for Aerosmith’s “Cocked, Locked and Ready To Rock” tour, he’s not just paying lip service to the local crowd to sell a few tickets. He means it – because “we weren’t really sure we would be able to do this again,” says the rhythm guitarist.

2009 was a rough year for the Boston rock gods – Whitford injured hus hand and missed part of their summer tour, and then the tour was cancelled all together after lead singer Steven Tyler fell off stage during a show in South Dakota. Members Tom Hamilton and Joe Perry had had surgeries that year as well, and at the end of it, “we had so many problems. We just didn’t know where we were gonna end up. But I think it was a good phase for us. There was a fair amount of reflection going on, and we all realized what a great thing we had.”

Question: What’s it like being back?

Answer: We’re big fans of being on the road. How do you describe that? It’s been a really incredible thing…The core has to stay strong, uninjured and just go out there and play very true.

Q: With the year you had last year, were you guys concerned about playing to the high standards your live shows are held to, right out of the box?

A: We hold ourselves to very high standards about most things, especially our music, and we’re very proud of what we do, and can do on stage. We just love doing it. We weren’t sure where Steven was at, when he started going through rehab and stuff. When we started to realize that we really wanted to get back together and do what this band does, we all sat down and came to that conclusion together.

Q: So there was no hesitancy?

A: We just knew what we were gonna do, that we have to get there to rehearse, figure out what songs we should do, and just get ready to go. It was a matter of simple logistics. In a way, it was like putting on an old hat. This hat doesn’t get very dusty. (Laughs) It seems to get cleaner! And the band, as a band, they’re such good performers. We’ve come a long way, and it makes it a real joy to be on stage with these guys.

Q: That comes across when you play, if you don’t mind me saying that. It’s so apparent you’re not just phoning it in, even 40 years later, almost.

A: It’s hard to describe what it’s like to play with a really good band like this. It’s a pretty rare situation.

Q: How did you approach the set list?

A: When we were in South America, we came up with a little bit different approach to the set. We were doing actually more of what the people wanted to hear, what we thought they wanted to hear. We wanted to be a little less selfish about the set list (Laughs). You don’t know how many new fans you have out there that night, so it’s kind of tricky for us. We probably fret over it way too much, probably more than we have to. But that’s what we do.We’re kind of real careful about it. We try to make everybody happy, given that it’s about a two-hour performance. It allows us to play around. There’s maybe 21, 22 songs so, you know…We have to many songs! It’s kind of like a showcase, about what are we gonna showcase here tonight?

Q: What would you say are favorite songs, both crowd favorites and your own?

A: I get asked a lot about favorite songs and wow! I can’t really tell! We have so much fun playing on stage with all this material. I know that I hear certain songs on the radio, I love that! One of my favorites is “Back In The Saddle.” I love the production elements, and when it came out it was a very unique piece of rock music. It has one of the coolest Joe Perry riffs I ever heard.

Q: So it’s still a thrill to hear yourself on the radio and think “That song kicks but…and that’s me”?

A: I still pinch myself! Indeed, I do. It’s kind of been this incredible journey. I never, ever imagined that it would go on this long. I think we all sort of feel blessed to keep doing it.

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