Up 14 spots for 2015, just because of the day…
The whole album was fueled by drugs and discontent, and booze, and puke, and withdrawals, and blame, and guns, and motorcycles, and fast cars, and “Tommy Guns”, and more drugs, and Shotguns, and more drugs…
Even drugs in the food… Cocaine was an everyday thing. It’s a known fact that David Johansen was their heroin courier, just so the guys wouldn’t go out and get “street dope”. 6 weeks, everyone in different rooms, only coming out to meet a supplier, or take a spin, or shoot. Jack assigned each of them to different rooms within the seminary to work on, and record their parts of the songs for the album. They almost barely saw each other. It took another 6 months and 1/2 a million dollars to complete it, and that’s a lot of cash in ’77! They came to the “Cenacle”, (The seminary) right off the road. No rest, no songs, and zero ideas!
The generic thought of the time when this album came out, was that the name of the record, and title song had something to do with cocaine. The thought was that it implied “drawing a line” of coke. The ironic thing is that IT DID have everything to do with cocaine, but rather than drawing a line with it, it was about drawing a line from it. The name of the album, came from a buddy, a roadie of the band named “Rabbit”. The story goes; The band got an ounce of coke from the mob, but it was bad, so they decided to return it, but then Steven gave it to another guy and told him to hold it. The guy put it in a manila envelope and then switched the envelopes, because he knew that Steven would want it at 4:00 in the morning. The next day Steven was all pissed off and asking “where’s the fucking blow?!?!”, asking the guy why he switched the envelope. Rabbit jumped in and said “Steven, you don’t know when to stop! You don’t know when to ‘Draw the Line!” And there you have it.
After 5+ years of this band constantly on the road with one another, and their wives, it was apparent to some that Steven was becoming the “Star” of the band. But this was Joe’s band, right? Wasn’t it? Elyssa wanted Joe to be everything he had the potential to be, even if that meant doing it alone. She had already driven a stake into the heart of the band, and the new junkie that used to be Joe, didn’t give two shits about this album, or any Aerosmith album at the time. Jack Douglas, the man who was sometimes the calm in the rough seas of Aerosmith, couldn’t even get Joe to open his eyes long enough to cut sounds. Later in life, Joe was quoted as saying; “We used to be musicians dabbling in drugs, then we became drug addicts dabbling in music”.
When the album came out, it was met with the worst reviews of their careers, even worse reviews than the first album, and after coming off of the successes of Rocks and Toys, this was a very difficult thing for them to deal with. I mean they actually put a cover out without the name of the band on the cover. Saying to the world; “We are as big as Zeppelin, We rank with the Beatles! You should know who we are!” Personally, I think the album, and specifically this song were 10 years before their time.
Kerrang! Magazine listed the album at #37 among the “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time” that might have been the only good review they got. Rolling Stone, who never seemed to be too impressed with these guys weren’t so friendly. The following are excerpts from Rolling Stone writer BILLY ALTMAN:
Since Aerosmith’s name and logo don’t even appear on the outer sleeve of Draw the Line, someone obviously feels rather secure about the band’s position in the hard-rock sweepstakes. The group is famous now — that’s the message transmitted by Abe Hirschfeld’s front-cover drawing. But fame and security don’t always mix. Draw the Line is a truly horrendous record, chaotic to the point of malfunction and with an almost impenetrably dense sound adding to the confusion. This album shows the band in a state of shock, caught for the first time in the quandary of the meaningful encore. Those who remember times when riffs rolled hot and heavy from the Joe Perry/Brad Whitford guitar team will probably be the first to wonder what happened. For a riff-based band to come up with only one outstanding guitar hook for an entire LP is beyond belief, yet the title track features the only memorable guitar line here — and that riff is summoned back, in slightly altered form, for side two’s “The Hand That Feeds.” “Critical Mass” sounds as though Perry missed the session that day, leaving lead singer Steven Tyler to squawk the almost unintelligible lyrics amid too much empty space.
It actually gets worse as he writes. I will spare you the rest, and only say that I whole-heartedly disagree! Yeah, there are some not so good ones, but I absolutely love Critical Mass, and Hand That Feeds, and Milk Cow Blues, as you will see, and Kings And Queens is a Blue Army favorite… So you know what, Billy Altmon and R.S.? (in my best deep Boston accent accent) F*** YOU!
Ultimate Classic Rock, who are actually on the bands side, didn’t say much better;
“Not that the album was entirely bad by any means. The title track ‘Draw the Line‘ was classic Aerosmith, and has figured prominently in their live set ever since. But much of the album consisted of should-have-been-great-but-not-quite tracks like ‘I Wanna Know Why,’ ‘Get It Up,’ and ‘Sight For Sore Eyes,’ all of which featured important elements of the classic Aerosmith sound, but somehow didn’t quite catch fire.
‘Critical Mass,’ with its bizarre harmonica parts, sounded almost like a band trying to sound like Aerosmith instead of the actual group, while Joe Perry’s punk-y solo offering ‘Bright Light Fright‘ was a somewhat misguided attempt to bend with the times, and ‘The Hand That Feeds‘ was a disjointed noisefest in search of a real song. ‘Kings and Queens‘ was an odd departure for Aerosmith that sounded more like a Queen b-side or even a lost Rush track, which music critic Robert Christgau called “synthesized medieval pomp-rock.”
I could go on with bad reviews; “The music on Draw the Line is murky and uneven”
“The album was recorded in an abandoned convent outside of New York City called The Cenacle. However, this former holy place set the scene for the devilish situations which had an adverse affect on the album.”
That’s enough, I still want you guys to like the song!!!!
Like I said; “10 years before it’s time”. I think the fans reviews were the best; Certified Double Platinum.
There may have been, and still is, more star power in this single song than any other they have ever recorded. It’s got that typical, but awesome backbeat rhythm, but it’s also a highlight for Joe and his love for slide guitar, which would morph into a brilliant solo show on tour. But not to be outdone, Steven’s trademark primal screams in this song, brings the audience to their knees, by going further than he had ever done before. Further than One Way St., further than Toys, further than Saddle… There are certain shows on tour, where in the middle of Joe’s solo the band will break into a brief interlude of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, before Steven climaxes the song. This particular song in concert can easily be the highlight of the show in so many different ways, the song is a show within a show!
What is a “Wet Nap Winner”? Any guesses? She never left the store? What store?
Yeah, it’s got something to do with sex, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
I love this song so much I’m gonna give you 3 versions, all awesome in their own degree. One of which is a video I created. You’ll figure out what the store is at least. Have fun, watch them all… Sooooo worth it!
The 1st is a Blues version by Tad Robinson, my daughter Cristina stars as “Carrie”. Keep in mind, the lyrics are a cleaned up version. No vials being passed here…
But after that it’s all Aero!
“The Indian summer Carrie was all over the floor
She was a wet nap winner and rarely ever left the store
She’d sing and dance all night and wronged all the right outta’ me
Oh… pass me the vial and cross your fingers it don’t take time
No where to draw the line…”
“Checkmate, don’t be late
Take another pull
That’s right impossible
When you got to be yourself
You’re the boss of the toss
The dice, the price
Grab yourself a slice
Know where to draw the line…”