|Guitar Center recently caught up with Aerosmith cofounders Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, who talked about their upcoming album, the recording and songwriting process, and how to stay inspired after 30 years making music together.
GC: What's the band up to now? What are you guys getting ready to do?
Steven: We just found out that we had a chance to write something for the "Spiderman" movie, so during the vacation Joe and I went with Marti Frederiksen to Maui, rented a house and wrote four songs, one of which we submitted to "Spiderman."
Joe: It's amazing that you can go into a house like that with the amount of equipment that we really needed and you can come out of there with tracks that you can record with. Everything we do now is as a finished track. It's really about a performance more than it is anything technical. We used to do that kind of writing with a four-track cassette and then you'd have to go in and record it. But now with the equipment, anything that you put down, if it's the right performance, you've got it. So it's really changed the way everything works. Obviously, if Steven wants to rewrite the lyrics or change the melody he can do that. Or if I put a guitar solo on there and I want to change it, I'll do it. But what goes down on the so-called demo is album quality.
GC: Is that the way you did your last record? Was it pretty much tracked and mixed at home?
Steven: I think that if everybody could, they would do it wherever the inspiration comes from - in the shower, in the back of the car, or wherever. It's like the old adage, "don't f--k with perfection." Why should I go in and do it over?
Joe: It takes a lot of the pressure off. It used to be, you'd gear up and you'd do all of this pre-production and there was this whole thing about putting it in the studio and there was this whole mystique. It's like lawyers; they sit there and invent this language so you can't understand, only they can understand. Just put it in plain English! Well, the equipment has gotten to the point where if you get the inspiration in the shower, that's where you can record it.
Steven: If you think that you've got a great sound in the shower, why not just do it there? If for nothing more, it makes for a great story.
Joe: And the thing is, it's not much different than what we used to do. Most of "Rocks" was recorded at our rehearsal studio with a mobile truck. Now you don't need a truck, you need a couple of hard drives.
GC: When you set out to record this last record yourselves, did you feel the need to live up to an "Aerosmith standard of production"?
Steven: It wasn't so much standard of production as much as it was just to write the classic Aerosmith song. Only we can define that because it's a little bit based on what we did before, a little bit based on what we haven't ever said, and a little bit based on what we'd like to say. In the old studios the machines were there, the two-inch tapes--they were huge juggernauts, huge behemoths of things. What I remember the most was to get the sound you had to have the separation--you had to go in 16, 24, 32 tracks. You've got to have separation otherwise it won't sound good. Pretty much all we worried about was the separation of the songs when they came, that's when the thank you God came and we couldn't get the smile off our faces. The good time turned into a great lead or a melodic thing in a song.
Joe: Certainly, from the technical end of it, we weren't going to allow it to come out sounding s--ty. That wasn't the objective here come hell or high water. Just by doing an Aerosmith record, it was going to have to have a certain standard of technical quality. Steven and I have been there since the first day of the first record, when the tape rolled, until the time when we walked out the door from the last record when it was being mastered. We've always been there, so not much has changed by doing it here. It was just a matter of course that we checked ourselves technically to make sure that when we got in there and started mixing we wouldn't find that maybe there wasn't enough bass on the bass guitar or that there was a hiss at 5k. Technically, we made sure that it was right. We never sat here and said that we were going to record it no matter what. If we needed a specific piece of equipment to get something right, then we needed it. But, we already had all of the basic good s--t--that is one of the things that we made sure of anyway. That was a concern, but it was like, when you're on the road for so many years, you know enough to pack your toothbrush.
GC: So you had a good understanding of how it ought to sound while you're tracking so you're making sure that it's going to be good enough for the mix?
Joe: Whatever the standard is, you always back-to-back it. Whether it is in 1976 and you put it up against a Led Zeppelin record or it's in 1986 and you put it up against a Def Leppard record, just to see - almost everybody does that. Or the "Pump" record, we know people that used the "Pump" record as a technical standard. If their record sounded as good and as fat as that, then they were home.
GC: What do you guys reference against for this record?
Joe: We used a little bit of "Get a Grip" and a couple of Brendan O'Brian records. There was some rap things that we put up there that had some really killer bottom. It wasn't like we were going to record it here no matter what and then throw it over to some guy to mix and have him pull his hair out. We were checking ourselves from the start to make sure that we were getting what we needed.
Steven: We were so intoxicated by the whole writing process and the creativity, that as it was going down we kept thinking, "is this really happening?" We were coming up with these songs and putting them down so fast. The energy went from our excitement right on to the tape.
Joe: I've always had a studio in my basement. Even in the 70's I had an old Scully 8-track. I remember in the mid 80's taking some of my tapes up to Little Mountain and spending some time on the demos and wanting to use some of the guitar solos on there. I put it up next to what we were recording up there and they sounded a little thin. That's when I said, "f--k this", if I am going to put this much energy into this and use these performances then I had better get the s--t. So that's when I got a Neve board and a better tape machine and I learned a lot more about engineering and what it takes. I went to lawyer school real fast. That's why we knew that we were going to get the sound we wanted, so it became the fun part of getting the music to play.
Steven: The bigger you are and the longer you've been around, the more mistakes you're allotted. If you make enough mistakes and you own them, it's considered to be your style.
GC: What equipment was in the studio?
Joe: We felt like we were beta testing Pro Tools the whole time we were here. It worked pretty amazing. It was the first time we did a whole record that way. We recorded "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" on Pro Tools. I couldn't believe that it sounded so good coming off of the hard disk--that was the first time we did a whole piece of music using Pro Tools. This was the first time that we said let's go for it. We AB'd it. I have a Studer A800 down here with all the bells and whistles and we AB'd some guitars on it and I'll tell you, the creativity that comes with doing Pro Tools just swept us away. We just didn't have time to fool with the tape machine.
Steven: We'd get our ideas back so fast that it was like instant gratification. Conversely, you also knew when something sucked and could move on a lot quicker instead of trying to polish a turd and do something and get it down and cut tape and edit that together and then two days later decide that it doesn't work. I could put a scat chorus down and we could immediately fly it into all of the places and fool with it and while you're having fun fooling with it, a monster is being born. It's just so much fun, your brain is an ocean and all of the fish are ideas so anything you're using is a drift net. If you can catch those thoughts and the quicker you can get it played back to you through some speakers - it's flipped out! It's like a whole new day for us, especially in creativity. Thank God we've invested in this and have it in our back yard!
Joe: It really works. I think that it opens it up for a lot of people. I've also seen a lot people say if I could just edit with Pro Tools like that, my record would sound like that. Well, you still have to write the song, you still have to come up with a chorus, you still have to come up with a melody, you still have to come up with the guts of what makes people able to listen to it because it really doesn't matter what you record it on. Having been doing this for so long, anything that tweeks our interest or makes it move faster, we're on top of. But, we still started off in a room with acoustic guitars and either a little voice recorder or a mini disk recorder and the songs started like that - most of them did. Some of them started with some loops that we generated, but it still has to have that and then you can go in and record it on it. I still talk to people today that swear by tape and then they bounce it over to Pro Tools. I think that the next thing I want to do is use tape to record the guitars. It just naturally sounds better. You can make up for that stuff because Pro Tools or any one of those top end digital things, they record exactly what they hear, tape doesn't. Tape turns around and puts that sweet compression on it and accentuates those harmonics and certainly there are ways you can do that. That was always something that bothered us in the early CD's. Even now sometimes we make a CD or listen on a DAT and there is that digital kind of harshness that naturally just doesn't happen in tape. In some instances you don't want that, but I think that for guitars and sometimes with vocals and certain instruments you want that, so it becomes almost a piece of outboard gear. I know guys that will actually run the tape machine and keep it running the way we used to run it, by recording through the 24-track and right on to Pro Tools and use it like a kind of a compressor or something.
GC: On to tape and back off again?
Joe: Yeah exactly! There's that way to do it. I mean there are different ways.
GC: Is there other stuff that you would pre-process things with before you hit the computer in order to get that warmth? Like tube stuff or anything?
Joe: I have a Neve console from the 1970's that has been totally re-built and everything goes through some kind of old piece of gear except for the Distressor. That is probably the most used new piece of equipment we have.
GC: Now what's that?
Joe: The Distressor from Empirical Labs. It's a compressor. It was probably the most used in his vocal chain.
Steven: And I use my FocusRite and the Manly Lab's VoxBox.
Joe: You definitely have to hit it in front. Like I said, it records exactly what it hears, but you got to get it when going in. I mean you can't make up for having no top end, you know, because of bad mic'ing. And if you are, you're already starting behind the eight ball.
GC: So what's in your traveling vocal rig and does that mean you were able to do vocals at home as well?
Joe: Yeah. Steven did everything like that, he had a AKG C12 with some Neve EQ.
Steven: I've got 8 Neve strips.
Joe: Whatever I use on guitar here, that's what I brought on the road with me, so I actually played through the same front end on stage as was down here. We had matching C12s. Steven was singing at his house and it would match up with what he was singing here. The same gear at both ends. So with the hot-swap hard drives, you could just pop the hard drives out and plug it in over here and mix or do whatever. We couldn't do it if we had 24-track machines. You just can't move those things around that easy.
GC: Pretty soon you might not even have to swap a hard drive, you'll be able to just e-mail the whole song over to a new place and keep working.
Joe: It's really close to that.
Steven: We've done that, too. On the ISDN line. We both have those in our studios.
Joe: We did string sessions like that.
Steven: If you want to really get technical and anal about it you just record it there in L.A. and then ship it back and track it here. Or you can be the engineer on the other side of the glass, so to speak, and the other side of the country. Or you can play together. Again, I'm just saying it's more about tweaking and having these toys. I have the Sony IC recorder in my bag. I'm just digging it.
Joe: It's probably just as important as any piece of equipment, any out-board gear.
Steven: It's just having that little recorder that I can plug into my computer and down-load it. We also found this Samsung voice pen. You know, you just hit record and you got, I don't know, 30 or 40 seconds or a minute of ideas and it was mostly just ideas of words and choruses and it was always around my neck, and I got everybody one. I probably did half the lyrics to "Jaded" that way! The other thing I do, if there's no other option, is call myself and leave a message - just sing into the phone. Marti Frederiksen and Pink and I came up with some ideas during a limo ride once and we had to do that.
Joe: That's why the big equipment is like a secondary thing, I mean to me it's a hobby, I love having all the gear, and I love to be down in my studio. I just bought another Ampeg ATR so we can do flanging, cause there's nothing like the real thing and I just got another Lexicon reverb. And then we just upgraded Pro Tools. We recorded some stuff on that in Maui. I think that it sounded better. I think it's going to be faster because it links up better with the tape machine.
GC: What instruments and amps do you use in the studio?
Joe: It's all about what the song calls for. I have a pretty good collection of old stuff. It's like a guitar museum around here. I have a Fender Twin, serial number 006, so everything from that to the newest. I've got a Soldano, I've got an Ampeg B-15, I've got a really nice 50-watt Marshall Plexi, and I got a 45-watt Plexi. You know, I've got a good array of everything. A lot of times when I want something really big and fat and heavy, I'll go more with the newer Les Pauls 'cause they just seem to have a little more ping and a little more meat than the '50s Les Pauls, like the classic old ones.
GC: So you used a whole bunch of different things?
Joe: You have to. For example, Steven and I were talking to somebody and they said that they worked with this band and described it like, the Les Paul through the Marshall sound and that's it. They don't even mess with the volume control and that's - I can't imagine being in that space. I mean I love that sound, you know what I mean? And if I had to live with one sound for the rest of my life, that's probably as close as you're going to get to it. But I'll tell you, to live in that box is just so scary. We use 12 string balalaikas. We used everything.
GC: So why limit yourself.
Joe: Well, of course, you hear the sounds on there. Some of those things you can't even tell what they are. The keyboards sound like guitars and the guitars sound like keyboards.
Steven: Telephone dial tones
Joe: Dial tones, we are not snobs about that stuff. I mean, we've had a saying now for 15 or 20 years, if it makes a sound, it has a place.
GC: So how about effects and pedals?
Joe: Well, probably a Rat pedal is a kind of a standard into the front end. A lot of combos. I shy away from master volume-kind of amps. Whatever you get from having that kind of gain, you lose in tone. I would rather use an amp that you have to turn the thing wide open to get the sound or you turn it down a little bit and plug a fuzz tone into it. It seems you get more tone out of it. I lean towards that less compressed sound. You get more percussion out of it and you can control it better. You want to get that heavy distortion you get it, but then you use your hand on the string to get the percussion. But we use everything, especially when we're making a record. Which is one of the reasons we're doing this interview, because Guitar Center has been a really big asset. Chances are you guys have it if it's new. You have a really good branch in Boston and it just works.
GC: Did you feel the need to go out to a big drum room or studio somewhere to do the kit?
Steven: That's another one of those things that is subjective and objective. Some songs really warrant that presence, that bigger presence, because nothing beats samples. It's proprietary, it's singular, it's huge, but if you can get a drum set to sound like that (it's great). There is a place we like to record at called Longview Studios out in Massachusetts. It's got a huge room that was built as a soundstage. The (Rolling) Stones rehearsed for a tour out there. Plus it's a barn, so you know it's right up our alley as far as where our roots come from.
||Joe: I think it was built in 1918. They really haven't done anything in there, refurbished it or anything. It's that old wood, there's nothing like that huge sound. Not huge in the like 80' kind of like wide open sound. It's open is what I mean. So the cymbal is breathing and you can mic 25 feet away and hear what the drums really sound like.
Steven: Well again, it has to do with when you are putting a part down. The vigor and venom you put it down with and the excitement in you as you're writing or playing it. If you listen to the front of "Drop Dead Gorgeous," the drums were in my workout room in my barn. I said, "let me just throw something over this track." If you listen to the drums and the room, it's nothing but the thumbprint of the room. It's got a character you can't buy.
Joe: It sounded great. But the most important thing is the feeling you get when you hear it come back. When you play the instrument and it talks back to you, then that's the place to record it. When Joey recorded his drums it felt amazing to sit there in that room and just the way the drums feel. That's the most important thing.
Steven: That's right. The organ in "Wolly Bully." If you can catch the enthusiasm in the performance, then bingo. All you have to do is call it yours and you got it.
Joe: It's really about how it feels when you play it. If it feels good to play it in the big room, it's going to have that sound. It's going to have that feel. What's really going to come through is the enthusiasm of the guys playing it. That's what you're really looking for.
GC: Do you take the Pro Tools rig up there in order to record drums on the same recorder that you were using at home?
Joe: Actually we did. We had three systems. We had the system that stayed in my studio. We had a system stay in Steve's studio. And then we have a traveling one that the band has. Pro Tools has a removable hard drive, so we would leave the system out there and then just bring the hard drives back. It just kept it really mobile.
GC: I've read a little bit that you guys built a separate mixing studio. What's in that studio that's different from the tracking studio?
Joe: I've heard rumors of a Digidesign mixing console. We felt we needed to be able to break out after Pro Tools to get to some outboard gear. The preferred instrument for that was an SSL. We were in the middle of trying to choose a mixer. This house next door was just sitting there empty so we moved an SSL in there. We were able to continue recording here and continue working while mixing over there. I don't know if we'd ever do it again. Putting the thing in was a science project and a half. When I found out what the air conditioning, it was a lot. It was really a lot. If we did it again, apparently some of the new digital mixing consoles will have the break-out capability. You wouldn't have all the mechanical problems that we had moving it in. The house is like 200 years old and the floor almost collapsed when we rolled in there. They did it though, and it was great.
GC: So you came out of Pro Tools and mixing in analog at that point?
Joe: We did it in three different formats. We mixed it onto DAT. One on the half-inch tapes. And back on the Pro Tools. We had these ADD converters that were all handmade to make sure it's right. Some songs sounded better coming right off the hard drive. Some things sounded better coming off tape.
GC: You've had an amazingly long career. At various points through the arch of your career, at various albums and things like that, have you felt pressured to change your sound or writing? Or repeat what you've already done?
Joe: I don't know if we know how to go back. The only thing we hear is that people would like to hear a record like the old days. I don't really know what that is. I think the '80s are the old days sometimes. And I don't want to make records that sound like that again. At this point, I think we may have a new slant on where the next one's going to go. But it's really just about making the best music we can with all the tools. We just don't want to stay in the same place. There are some people that just never change. That would be so boring and deadly for us.
GC: So you're just going to do what you do and not really worry about if it's the same or different than it was in the past.
Joe: It stays within a certain parameter. We're not going to start playing jazz. It's going to stay under the vast umbrella of rock and roll.
GC: How do you or the whole band settle differences about how something might sound or should be?
Steven: That's a hard one because I'll do a demo and look at Joe and say, "This is great." But then you've got to take that sound out of the box and bring it to the band. Then they have to replay everything. Sometimes it changes everything drastically and then I have to swallow it and say, "I've got a band. I can't take them off, but I also can't leave it as a demo." That's why we try to do as much as we could with everybody there. We don't all write like we used to anymore. Joe and I pretty much write together or separated. The other guys come in and learn the parts. That's what it's gravitated to. In the old days, we would rehearse together in a room so we kind of wrote the songs together. But we couldn't get as many songs out as we could today like we do.
GC: Because you can work separately?
Steven: Separately from the whole band. If you start inviting people in, they have their take and then it slows. It's just difficult. Then there are egos in a band. Fortunately, the band's been around long enough where Joey accepts my drums on the front of the song or if I grab the bass guitar, Tom's all right with that if I play something. It's just a process.
Joe: It gets harder and harder to write songs. It just does. It is like magic that we've been able to keep coming up with new music within the confines of rock and roll without sounding the same. It's because we've morphed our style of writing and allowed it to go places that some people wouldn't. Whether that means including other people, like outside songwriters, that's what we do because that's what it takes. Otherwise you end up sitting in the room, grinding away on things. I remember Steven and I would inevitably have the majority of the guts of the songs in the old days. We would work to the point where we would get like, six songs and then we'd go in the studio and then piece together whatever else was lying around. That's why some of the records had only eight or nine songs on them because we would work until we had just enough songs. Some of them turned out to be classics and some of them were never to be heard. Now, we look at it differently. We try to make every song worth something. That's why we end up writing 20 or 30 songs per record now.
GC: So you've done a lot of writing with outside writers as well as writing alone, you talked a little about why you use outside writers because maybe it brings new ideas or so you don't wind up writing the same thing again and again. Is it a problem to make sure that a collaborative song still stays Aerosmith-like? Does the stuff that's too left field just not make it on the album? Is that how that works?
Steven: No, it's personal. It's really personal. I've worked with producers that had me re-sing my vocals 20 times and then do a composite. And I'd say, "Why? What's wrong with that vocal?" And you've got to look out for these producers that go, "Well I can hear the difference." Well good, that means that only one person can. The masses never will -
Joe: They can get to be too anal.
Steven: They really can! And what we look for in this band is that if you can catch the enthusiasm in a performance, you know you've got it. And our passions match our emotions. You know I'm writing these things down as we're saying them, Joe, because it's so true! If you can get your passion, wherever you may be, to match the emotions and the performance then you got something! I think that an outside writer is nothing more than Keith Richard's fuzz tone on "Satisfaction." -
Steven: - It was just the inspiration for the song! Wherever you get it, it could be the smile on your face walking out and seeing the spring after living six months in the kind of weather we have here in New York and in Boston. I mean, we did most of our albums in the winter. Remember that Joe?
Steven: In the dreary, cold, one of the reasons they say so many people drink up in Canada and Maine is cause it's dark and dreary and the sun goes down at five o'clock at night. And then comes the summer which is so inspirational to us. We wrote "Nine Lives" in Florida. It was so beautiful with parrots and thongs and girls and flowers and smells! It's all where you get your inspiration. And I hear so much about people trying to take the piss out of you for writing - whatever your inspiration, whether it's a carrot juice or getting laid or whatever it is that you can get it from to make your muse pop - Guitar Center! Walking in like a child in a candy shop! Whatever it is, people like to label it and blame. And it's not about that. It's the fuzz tone in "Satisfaction." - (mimicking the intro to "Satisfaction") - What a great thing!
Joe: And the thing is the template that you have in your own brain that gets you off, I think that's what's seen us through all these years. Most musicians have a template in their head that goes "I like that" or "I don't like that." Some people have a really wide one. Some people have a really narrow one. And ours is pretty wide. We still love to rock. You know what I mean? I'd say that's the biggest thing in the template but there are so many other flavors and sounds that we allow in. An Aerosmith record is only going to sound a certain way because there are places we naturally go and places we're not going to go there. It's a gut thing. It's not some kind of book of rules that we have up on the wall. It's just a natural feel for what it is. That's what an Aerosmith record is and will always be. It will always be some kind of template of what's going on inside. The point is that we let a lot of stuff in. That's why we got the constant stream of Fed Ex trucks down here with new s--t in them because you never know what's going to inspire you next. You never know what foot pedal is going to come along and make a sound that makes you go "We got to write a song around this!" Or some new f--king vocal sound. Just something that makes you go, "Wow we just got to use this."
Steven: Plus once we realize how to get what we want, we just go off on it. You know we lost it fifteen years ago, our whole muse went down the drain from our abuses. Then we realized that "Ok the secret to this is: you go in a room, you lock the door and you don't leave until you've got something!" Joe used to push me so much I hated him! You know "Just sing something!" And I'd say "Come on, I'm not ready! The song! I need the inspiration!" We're still fighting all the time. Joe wants me to sing something so he can put his guitar down and I want him to put his guitar down so I can sing something. But if one of us jumps in first, we got it! It's like we both - Joe used to walk around the lake with rocks around his belt with a fish tank over his head so he could breathe under water! Then we both got scuba certified. Now we're into rebreathers! So it's never enough. There's always more. And I think that is so good for the creative spirit of where we could possibly go with this band and how much further we can get into this, what songs we haven't written yet. It's just a great trip!
GC: In that sense do you think that your Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction was premature?
Steven: I think that we're all mistaken if we're thinking that the Hall of Fame is like the end of something. It's not the climax of a life, it was just them tipping their hats to us. That's how you've got to look at it. Still, though, we were surrounded by people that would be considered, you know - I looked over and saw, like, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and I thought, "Why did you stop?" I'm looking at him and I'm thinking "Well Jesus!" I didn't say this to him but he fell off the face of the earth! What happened? You know did his music go out of style? No!
GC: So he reached a certain high point and then stopped?
Steven: Wait a minute! In my book you're not supposed to let that happen. Of course, he could come along and say "How dare you? I do what I want to do! If I wanted to be over, I was over!" I just look at it as "I missed him." Maybe he was out there singing maybe for himself and making money maybe for his family, or maybe doing it for his own ego. But for all of us who listened to Frankie Valli and used his singing as a background to our growth in high school, sucking face and making love and all that we ever did, we missed him dearly! I don't know why he stopped, why he didn't join some other band. His voice was so great! He just rested on his laurels. I may be looked at for the rest of my life as an asshole, but I see a lot of people as - you know - Jeff Beck, where is he?
Joe: You know that he just won a Grammy?
Steven: No kidding! He finally stepped up to the plate!
Joe: You know he's nominated every year for an instrumental. I mean almost every year!
Steven: Look at this guitar player that just stepped up to the plate. Not "Surfing With The Alien" that's Satriani. Not Satriani but the other guy! Steve Vai! OK, look what happened. He played at the Grammy's and he's so good. The guy is so busy, he shoots himself in the foot all the time. But when he's sitting with someone who can sing, like Nelly Furtado, and it's just him by himself, he's a virtuoso!
Joe: Well he's a virtuoso anyway, but he doesn't know how to f--king focus it! You know what I mean?
Steven: But someone was smart enough to let him just do it. I looked over and everybody was going, "Wow, who is that?" It was brilliant! That was one of the highlights of the show for me!
Joe: You know what? I'm looking at his last record right now. It probably sold like 20 records, you know what I mean? The guitar guys love it and he's totally amazing! He's so innovative! He is brilliant! He is a f--king prodigy, but he doesn't know how to write a hit song. And unfortunately in our business it's almost all or nothing. There is so much music out there that you never hear about that isn't in the mainstream. On the other hand there are so many people out there that you can still have a career even if you're not on MTV. It's tough and you'll only get so big, but you can have a career even if you're not willing to play the game. Frank Zappa was the king. He was so outside the mainstream, but he still got rich and was able to support his art! But he was one of the first ones to do that. He had his own record label, he owned his own P.A. system you know what I mean? He just went out there and he did his own thing and he had his own following, but you can only be so big. If that's where your art takes you, more power to you. The same with Steve Vai, he'll do something like that and get some noteriety and maybe someone will pick up his solo record. He's got a small record label now and he'll do really good. But we choose to try and stay in the mainstream and it's tough.
Steven: We learned early on that if we didn't do something on the record to take it to the mainstream it wasn't going to get heard at all. Aerosmith was famous for album oriented music and there were radio stations at the time that played nothing but album oriented music. And so much got heard that was out of the mainstream. You listen to the early 70s stuff and it's brilliant. So much more so than today's music. Not just one thing, you know, blues and rap. But so much diversified other stuff. And there's just no room for it anymore because corporations took over and were looking for only the hits. When we climbed out of the ashes, we thought, "Let's try writing with some outside people because we need another 'Dream On'". So we wrote "Angel." It forced people to buy the record for "Angel" and then hear the other stuff, you know, what they call deep album cuts. That's a big hoot for us! But we've turned in our schlocky stuff and it's all subjective anyways. A lot of people hate Aerosmith. They think we're soppy and ballady, but a lot of people love it for just that. So we're not trying to please everybody - that's the kiss of death. It's just how do you get it out there? How do you turn kids on? One of the best things about the Internet is that kids can download music they would never, ever have heard because they can just get in there. They feel like they're doing something wrong. They're checking it out! They're climbing a tree, climbing different branches for different fruits! That's great. Not necessarily good for people that are like Blodwyn Pig. There's not a guy in the band that wouldn't do something really strange for a little bit of money right now, but they're not going to get it because Joe's son is downloading they're music! But maybe someone is hearing it. And if that's what it takes, then so be it! But it's unfortunate that the problems stem from the corporations wanting to make money, money, money! So Sony invents an MP3 player. Whoops! What about all your artists? That's looking out for our futures. But it was all about money. It's a corporation and money. Of course Sony had to do it because if they didn't, someone else was on to the technology. What are they going to do? Do they want to fail? So just release it now! Quick get it out now! So they released it six years ago without thinking that we were going to get downloaded and lose our back catalogs. It's not good. But it's a necessary evil in the world that we created which is called capitalism. But it's the only world we got!
Joe: Well we're going to work it out. It will be a big balancing thing, an evening out. It always does, every technology. It's nothing new and it's always new.
Check out Aero Force One, the official Aerosmith fan club, to get access to VIP seats and opportunities to meet Aerosmith: www.aeroforceone.com.