Like many musicians, Joe Perry connected right away with This Is Spinal Tap, but his Aerosmith bandmate Steven Tyler had a much different reaction.
“When we watched Spinal Tap, my wife and I saw it, and we fell on the floor,” Perry tells Spencer Kaufman of Loudwire. “It was great, every bit is brilliant as it was supposed to be, so good. Even then, we had been through it all six times. I told Steven the next day, ‘You’ve got to see this movie! It’s so f—ing good. It’s hilarious.’”
But when they returned to the theater, with Tyler sitting one row closer, Perry and his wife found themselves in a surprising situation.
“He was squirming and squirming, and he did not laugh the whole time,” Perry says. “It was like he took the band’s side on everything. It was like he did not – he didn’t get it. He got indignant. And it was like, I couldn’t believe it. So, my wife and I were cracking up – and we’re watching Steven.”
Tyler expounded on his reaction in a rare Library of Congress interview made public back in 2012. “That movie bummed me out,” he said, “because I thought, ‘How dare they? That’s all real, and they’re mocking it.’”
That said, This Is Spinal Tap has a way of drawing out memories for rockers, and Perry is no different. His goes back to a period in which Aerosmith were using a small private plane to ferry from show to show. Then one night, something went wrong – and a bunch of inebriated band members got very muddy.
“Some of those little airports, the landing lights – they go on because the guy signals them on the radio,” Perry recalls. “Well, the landing lights went off on the taxiway, and he ran the jet off the tarmac into the mud. So, we all had to get out of the plane and push it back onto the taxiway. You know, it’s not a huge plane, [but] it was 2AM after a show, and we’re, like, you know half in the bag. So, we push this thing back onto the tarmac and then we took off. So that’s, like, pretty Spinal Tap right?”