October 7, 2009
The Tampa Tribune
ST. PETERSBURG – “I hate days off,” says Joe Perry. “Days off are the death of creativity to me.”
The Aerosmith guitarist is talking about the upcoming tour with his Joe Perry Project, but he could just as easily be talking about his frustrations with his main gig.
Perry was in St. Petersburg last month chatting up his new solo album, “Have Guitar, Will Travel,” which is being released today. He’s excited about the album, but sounds even more excited about getting back on the road with the Project, which features bassist David Hull, Paul Santo on keyboards and guitar, drummer Marty Richards and a German vocalist named Hagen.
It’s the latest version of the outfit Perry led after leaving Aerosmith in 1979 and before the original lineup reunited in the mid-1980s.
“It was time to resurrect the Project, roll up our sleeves and play some of the places Aerosmith has not played in a long time,” Perry says.
Aerosmith’s “day on, day off” schedule has “made it hard to come back to some cities that helped build the band up,” Perry says. “That’s the heart and soul of our fan base, all those fans who supported us through all those years, through thick and thin.
“I wanted to get back and play some of those places,” he says. “Clubs, theaters, open for other bands, have other bands open for me – that was the mandate: Get out there and play.”
The set, he says, will be a mixture of songs from the new album, cuts from the earlier Project albums and some Aerosmith tunes.
“This band is so good. I can name just about any Aerosmith song and they’ll be able to play it our own way with our own kind of vibe to it,” Perry says.
“They’re road warriors,” Perry says. “They’re into the same thing I am: feeling that energy and translating it through the speakers to the audience and getting it back form the audience.”
Given his love of playing live, this summer’s Aerosmith tour must have been trying for Perry. First, singer Steve Tyler injured his leg, forcing several cancellations, including a show in Tampa. Then Tyler took a spill from a stage in Sturgis, S.D., injuring himself badly enough that the tour was scrapped.
Not long after the St. Petersburg interview, Perry told The Associated Press that Tyler needed to “get his act together. I mean, he and I haven’t written a song together alone in the same room in over 10 years.”
He tempered those remarks to The Boston Herald, saying, “This is my brother, and we’ve been together for 40 years,” adding “We’ve all fallen off the stage at one time or another, maybe twice in some cases.”
In St. Petersburg, asked about the long-awaited next Aerosmith album, the first all-new material since 2001’s “Just Push Play,” Perry sounded cautiously hopeful.
Aerosmith, he said, “just needs to go on hiatus and make sure everybody’s really healthy and everybody’s really got their sights set on the right thing.”
Perry wants the Boston rockers to “really just get back to being five guys who want to make a great record and then go on the road.”
“That’s’ what I want,” he said. “That’s what the goal has always been. Having lost sight of that over the last three or four tours, with shows postponed or shows canceled at the end – that’s not fair to the fans. We owe the fans too much. We need to give ourselves a little time to get some good ideas for new songs.”