July 20, 2012
The future was uncertain for Aerosmith two and a half years ago.
It appeared the band and vocalist Steven Tyler were moving in different directions.
Tyler spoke about moving on and guitarist Joe Perry called him on it during an interview. He said the band could replace Tyler as it was marking its 40th anniversary.
“It was something that we really talked about doing,” says Perry. “We didn’t know what he was planning to do. We acknowledged that we had a great band. We said, ‘So we have this band and we’re not going to do it anymore?’ I would have been fine doing the project (without Tyler). It would have been quite exciting, but we never got that far and we’re still Aerosmith, which is where I would rather be.”
Despite the friction between the band and Tyler, who served as an “American Idol” judge for two seasons until he quit the Fox reality show last week, Perry calls the period “a blessing in disguise.”
“It all worked out since we realized that we needed a break from performing year in and year out,” he says while calling from Boston. “I got down to writing and we finished off an album that we tried to make three times over the last 10 years.”
“Music From Another Dimension,” which will drop in November, will be previewed when Aerosmith plays Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and Tuesday at the Izod Center in East Rutherford.
“There are a lot of different flavors on it,” Perry says. “But it sounds like Aerosmith. For every ballad on the album, there is a kick-ass rock song.”
That’s been the Aerosmith formula since the band made a remarkable commercial comeback with 1987’s multi-platinum smash “Permanent Vacation.”
After stumbling through the early-’80s in a drug-induced haze and plenty of internal issues, Aerosmith proved to be incredibly resilient and became more popular releasing the pretty “Angel” next to the rave-up “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”
“We proved that we could take a punch and get back,” Perry says. “We’ve been able to weather storms and get back to where we need to be. We do what we have to do to be the best that we can be.”
That’s part of the reason Aerosmith is the most successful American rock band of all time and has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide. The group, which also includes guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer, has 21 songs that have hit Billboard’s Top 40.
But it’s not just the hits — it’s the respect the band has garnered with influential albums such as “Toys in the Attic” and “Rocks,” which had a huge impact on members of Metallica and Guns N’ Roses during the ’70s.
“It’s been an amazing run over these 40-plus years,” says Perry. “We really have had it all. We’ve written so many songs.”
So many that it’s not easy to write a set list, particularly with a new album on the horizon.
“It’s not a breeze to put that list together, but we do our best,” Perry says. “We play the new, but we also go back to the earlier days.
“It’s a lot of ground to cover. It’s a lot to figure out when making a set list, but it’s a good problem to have. It’s something I would like to figure out for many years to come.”
Aerosmith appears Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia. Cheap Trick will open. Show time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $49.50, $79.50 and $149.50. Information: 215-336-3600.
Aerosmith appears Tuesday at the Izod Center, just off Exit 16W of the New Jersey Turnpike, East Rutherford. Show time: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $49.50 to $149.50. Information: 800-745-3000.