Joe Perry on Receiving the NAMM TEC Les Paul Award, Aerosmith’s Touring Plans

Aerosmith legend Joe Perry was bestowed with the Les Paul Award at the recent NAMM TEC Awards in Anaheim, Calif., and Loudwire was given the privilege of sitting down with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist just prior to him receiving the honor. In addition to speaking about the award itself, Perry talked with us about Aerosmith’s ‘Aero-Vederci Baby!’ trek, his take on farewell tours in general, the band’s recording plans and the future of his all-star group the Hollywood Vampires. Check out our chat with Joe Perry below:

Congrats on receiving the prestigious Les Paul honor at the NAMM TEC Awards. What does that mean to you personally?

When I started reading about the [NAMM TEC] Awards and looked at the people that were receiving it, or had received it I was a little bit taken aback. It’s kind of one of those awards that – it’s not like some of the awards, they want to build up the ratings and they invent an award. It doesn’t mean as much as something like this that’s actually from the industry. It’s not like you campaign for something like this. It means a lot, the people have recognized what I’ve done over the years. Some of it good, some of it not so good but I’ve been around a long time. Hopefully, the scale has tipped over on the good side.

Aerosmith announced the Aero-Vederci Baby! tour set to launch this year, but your bandmate Brad Whitford said in an interview that it may run several years. Even though the name implies that it’s the band’s final tour, is it fair to say there’s no end in sight yet?

The feeling is right now is gonna be in semi-tour mode for the next few years. We’ll be taking time off here and there, but we really want to play some of the places that we’ve maybe played once before, maybe never before. Kind of go around and hit all the spots you can. We’re much closer to the end than the beginning, I’m not going to say after the U.S. tour that we’ll never play the States again. I’m not going to say that. I feel like at this point every show could be the last show. You just don’t know. I’ve been through so many ups and downs over the years … I mean, I never thought we ever left anything on the field. We always give it 100 percent. I always have this attitude, it’s gotta be as good as it can be that day. That said, we don’t have a day planned where we say, “OK, this is the last show.” You can’t picture that. On the other hand, I know there will be a last show just like there’s a one last time for everything in life.

With bands like Motley Crue and Black Sabbath and eventually Aerosmith ending their touring careers, do you see any younger acts that can carry the torch for rock music?

How many times have we seen farewell tours, then there’s the reunion tour. I’m a little too jaded to take any of that s–t to the bank. The Who have been doing the last tour now since 1968. The Rolling Stones have never said they’d do a last tour, but … I can remember sitting on a curb with my friend [telling me about having] extra tickets to see The Stones in 1969 or something and they’d say, “You never know, this could be their last time.” It was 1969 or 1970 or something, and back then it was we either see them that night or go see Fleetwood Mac, and I wanted to see Fleetwood Mac, so I didn’t go. I didn’t buy into that “this could be their last one.” In two years [I wouldn’t be surprised if] Ozzy gets up and says, “Let’s do a couple of more gigs.” But then there is that thing where this may be it. Everybody is gonna go and do their own thing and they’re done. I’ve seen that happen many times. Listen, at my age to have the five guys — the original guys — there are not many bands that can say that. To have that and every time I look across at everybody I go man, I can’t believe it. I’ll milk it for everything it’s worth. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Along with this tour, will there be a final Aerosmith album or even more than one album?

I’ve been talking to Steven [Tyler] a little bit about going into the studio and maybe even just getting one or two new songs. But I also know we’re going to be looking at some of the archives and pulling out some of the more outtake things and some live stuff. Stuff we’ve never recorded, so I don’t know. I’d like to think we’d get at least one more [time] going into the studio [before the tour]. But right now, just getting through this European tour and booking the U.S. tour is what’s on deck.

Shifting to the Hollywood Vampires, you played some great shows and released an album with Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper. What does the future hold for that band?

We’re trying to get some stuff together for March. We’ll see how that pans out, but I’d like to grab some more gigs. I know there was a lot of energy going into 2018. [We’re] talking about doing a new record. Alice is just finishing with his own solo record right now. In fact, I heard some of it last night. There’s talk about another record and a lot more touring. We’ll balance that out with Aerosmith; Johnny with his movies; Alice with his solo stuff and his golf.

Our thanks to Joe Perry for the interview. The Hollywood Vampires ended up playing a gig at the NAMM TEC Awards. You can see our exclusive photos from that show here. And stay up to date on the latest Aerosmith tour dates here.
By Spencer Kaufman for Loudwire