Let’s get out of the gate,
Without the obligatory hate
New to the list, new to the book. Shouldn’t have taken this long…
During the making of, in my opinion, one of the best albums they’ve made, Joe told MTV News; “I have a lot of motorized vehicles and plenty of firearms. It was a good time.”
Well I guess those types of things help when you have 5 guys together for awhile in a basement, some with OCD, Some with ADHD, and one with LSD.
Joe goes on to tell MTV News about how it came to be, albeit I’m sure something like this record had been in the processes and desires for quite some time. Joe remembers it like this;
”“It’s kind of a response to what a lot of fans have been asking for …People come up and say, ’Wow, I like your new stuff, but when are you gonna’ make a record that’s really raw, and that sounds like the old Aerosmith?’ With this one, we tried to keep the songs more immediate and not really think about what’s on the charts. It was very reminiscent of the Rocks era.” “We wanted to do something we haven’t done before and that excites us. That’s what makes us want to do another record. Otherwise, we’d say, ’OK, we’ve done everything we can do, so why bother even going in again?
In my opinion, I think they accomplished exactly that. They found the “Raw” energy that is at the band’s core! No, not in genre, not even so much in sound, but just more of the “jamming” type of sound. It seems to me, they were able to reach into the glove box, and find the glove that fits them so well, with this album… It is the spark that ignites the engine. Without this type of energy, this feel, this groove, from vocals to guitar to drums to harmonica, without that, there is no point to jump off from. It’s this type of music, their understanding, their interpretation of the classics, and an even a new one that gives them the fire within to be creative.
In order to not only find, but keep that original “bite”, Jack was brought back into the studio… (well, Joe’s basement) to keep it simple, to capture the vibe they were looking for. Joey brought in his old little Ludwig drum kit, Joe and Brad also kept it simple with just a few instruments, along with Tom. Steven just a few acoustic panels, to reduce “sound escape”. Joe says; “
“We even did the guitar solos live and Steven was singing his ass off!
That is what you hear in this record. You hear them together!
With the title of the record originally starting off as a ST sophomoric, one-liner type joke, the guys thought it was funny, and all agreed. After all was said and done though, I think at least four of them maybe wish they had given it more thought. Personally, I love it! But that’s just me.
The album went on to reach some damn good commercial success though, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200.
The tour was absolute “COOL” in every sense of the word! Not sure if it was by design, to show the world, just how great and professional band they were, but going on tour with KISS, just cemented the notion, the conveyance from Aerosmith to; “Pay attention people, this is how you do it”… I almost felt sorry for Gene and Paul.
I think Joe Pereles may have had the best and most applicable quote in his review of the album for Blender magazine, “instead of making “respectable” cover versions, they make quite unrespectable cover versions…” I think the Key in that quote is the use of the prefix ”un” in front of the word “respectable”. This is key, in that the word “unrespectable” exemplifies the sex appeal of the album as more than a tribute to the Blues artists of yesteryear, or even the amped up blues of the British invasion. It tells you a few things, Number one being that; No, it not disrespectful at all. That word doesn’t even enter the conversation, but the word used gives the listener a taste of what Aerosmith does. They give you the seedy side, the sleaze, if you please. And this song, this original done with respect to those before them, but true to that Aerosmith persona, that redolence, that flavor that is only theirs…
Let’s talk about number 57 though…
I think Joe, Brad and Joey get me hooked from the 1st note. Yeah it’s blues, but it’s more than that… it’s “BLOOZE”… And Tyler jumps right in with that unmistakable voice saying “Guess what, Kiss butt!… Eat what?”… It’s an attitude reminiscent, if not in sound, in style to Janis, to even Mick, but more than any other… to himself! This is Steven Tyler’s attitude, his personality coming out in sound…
I can just see the man saying; “Yeah, I’ll admit it! Shit Yeah, I’m missing you, but I’ll admit it with a snicker… You figure it the fuck out!”
The guitars and bass tell the story between the lyrics, they give the sense of stress, but stress with a grip… they are the fists hitting the table, they’re the slamming of the fridge, the kicking of the chair, and then they’re the soft admission of fault, and at the same time with that admission, the resolution that “it is, what it is”…
The story is a man admitting how deep this shit is, and how toxic it’s been, but he wants more… he gambled, he lost, and she’s making him pay. She knows she’ll take him back, but he’s gonna’ beg for it. She knows he’ll stray again, but he wants to stay, and she will make him know it’s where he should be. But she also knows, she’s not just making him pay for this time, but for the times to come.
I think this song is right in line with Write Me, with Reefer Headed Woman, It’s Milk Cow, albeit a slower pace… Yeah, maybe this is what catches my attention. I hear the “raw”, I hear the “play”, I hear the good times, I “hear” the smiles… But what I hear most, deep inside a rockin blues tune, is the soulful vocals of a man who many thought at the time, was maybe on his way to The Farm. I hear 2 guitarists, as they always have speak to each other in emotion. They echo the singer’s key, they transfer a feeling of pleading, a feeling of weakness and yet desire…
In my opinion, The Boys not only captured the sound of The Blues, as we’ve come to know them, but also they transcended the raw almost organic, inexperienced sounds of 1973 into a sharper, cleaner, more impressive representation of who they are at their core, who they were in 1973. This song takes you back, but in present form.
Not sure how many will agree with the placement here, but here’s my 57…
“How could a kiss like that knock me flat on my ass?
“Kiss butt… and guess what
Even double crossin’ dogs have their day… ha”
“Just like you knew I’d do
You made me trip into the grind…”
This is “The Grind”