Aerosmith‘s Joe Perry recently released a special holiday EP aptly titled Joe Perry’s Merry Christmas. The four-song collection features instrumental versions of the yuletide standards “White Christmas” and “Silent Night,” as well as the guitar great’s take on Chuck Berry‘s “Run Run Rudolph” and Elvis Presley‘s “Santa Claus Is Back in Town.”
The guitar legend says the release of the project was almost a spur-of-the-moment decision and he’s surprised at the amount of attention it’s been garnering, noting that it “exploded in my face.”
“Four weeks ago I had no plans of doing it, and then we did it and we were just gonna put it up on my webpage,” he explains to ABC News Radio. “And then it went on iTunes and then it’s everywhere.”
In addition, his label prompted him to do a promotional video for “Run Run Rudolph,” and then Fox picked up the song to use in its NFL coverage.
“So it kind of exploded in my face,” Perry notes. “I mean, I really did not expect it to have the impact it did, but as long as people have fun with it, I’m cool.”
Perry recorded the EP in Los Angeles, where he was spending time promoting his recently published memoir, Rocks, after the end of Aerosmith’s 2014 tour. He worked on the project with a variety of talented session musicians at a studio belonging to Johnny Depp, and he even got the Hollywood star to lend his musical talents to one tune.
“We realized that ‘Run, Run Rudolph’ needed another guitar on it. And I figured [that] the whole idea about this was to get to work with other talented people, and he’s definitely one of ’em,” explains Joe. “And he’s a Chuck Berry fan like I am, and so he laid down the other rhythm track for that song and it really helped it a lot.”
The EP’s lead track, “White Christmas,” meanwhile, kicks off with an interesting vocal effect that will be recognizable to Aerosmith fans.
“It’s the same piece of equipment that I used on ‘Sweet Emotion’ back in the ’70s,” Perry reveals. “I’ve been wanting to use it somewhere over the years and I keep forgetting to plug it in. And this time it gave me a chance to use it, and it turned out to be a really cool echo from the past, so to speak.”
Joe Perry’s Merry Christmas can be purchased on CD for $4.99 — shipping not included — at UnisonMusic.com, and digitally for $3.99 at iTunes and $3.96 at Amazon. Perry tells ABC News Radio that some of the proceeds raised by the EP will be donated to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which supports music-education programs in public schools.
“It’s important for the fans to pay for the music,” says Joe, “because…it gives us a chance to give some of it to charity and help all the way around.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio