Number 40- What Do You Call Pleasure?

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Believe it or not, this one actually slipped 8 spots…
How does a song THIS FUCKING GOOD slip 8 spots?

And when I write and listen to it, I ask myself; “Self, how the hell did that happen?’
What does that say about what’s still to come?
What does it say about the dude that created the list?
Maybe he’s fucking nuts?!?
Maybe he has no clue.
Maybe there actually are 39 songs that are better?!?
The truth is, this song can easily be in someone else’s Top 10 any day of the week, including mine, except today…

It’s kind of ironic in a way that the album Steven had the hardest time writing lyrics to, would turn out to be their best selling album of their careers. “Toys In The Attic” has sold over 8 million copies since its release. Though mostly known, and even purchased for “Walk This Way”, “Sweet Emotion”, and even the title track, it’s my opinion this album’s heavy following comes from the “body” of the record. With songs like ‘Uncle Salty’, ‘Adam’s Apple’, and ‘Round and Round’, it’s songs like these that give the record its depth.

As I’ve said before though, these guys write about what they know. For example, if ‘Sweet Emotion’ is an expression of the tension and hatred between the band members, (specifically Steven) and Elyssa Perry, then this song is an expression of Steven’s love, and hate relationship with becoming the Rock Star he was destined to be. Steven is a guy, who truly was just the kid next door, but at the same time, larger than life. He has both relished in his fame, and he has also, not only been frightened by it, but also been a victim of it. Continue reading Number 40- What Do You Call Pleasure?

Number 39 – And It’s all Got Me Feeling F.I.N.E.

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You think I’m alright
Maybe quite a sight…

You know, when you make a list like this, you hear songs, or versions of songs, and you sometimes ask yourself; “Why is that song ranked so low?” “Why is that song ranked so high?” “Why isn’t that song on the list?” “Why is that song on the list?”… But this morning’s HM with “What Kind of Love are You On” was one of those questions. And then there’s more questions. As much as I love that song, and I do, I had to scratch my head and say; “Dude!” Other things that play into the placing of the songs are not just memories of concerts, or what was going on in my life when the song came out, or even what was going on in the band at the time the song came out, but visuals come to mind….

This is going to sound odd in a way, but then I never said I wasn’t that. However, strange visuals sometimes come to mind when making up a list like this. It could be something as odd as the look of an album cover. Not saying that in a bad way, but more of an ADD, ADHD kind of way. Let me explain; I’m old, well old to some, to me I’m 23, but to the world I’m more than half a century old, and I’ve played some of these songs 1000’s upon 1000’s upon 1000’s of times, and sometimes an album cover and just the name of a song precedes the actual melody. It’s as if you’ve seen the same movie over and over, and sometimes that movie might drop down, just because of how you relate to the title… Not really fair, because as bad as the title seems, I could watch Bull Durham a 1000 more times. So, to try and bring it back… when I make the list, I don’t always listen to each and every song through, because they’re in me, they’re my blood, my personality, and sometimes I just want a change, so I see an album, a song title, I know the melody, the lyrics, and I place it on the list… But over 20, 30, 40, 50 days those spots can change… but the list is done.

Then I write. I feel the songs all over again, more than the title, more than a cover, I live them again, I watch and listen to this band of mine play my favorite songs and I even ask myself; “Self, why is that one number 39?” You just have to be true to your gut… It’s a process, and if you let your ADD get in the way, the list will never be completed. It will become a project without end. So with me, my list is ever changing, just as I am. Some of you have noticed such extreme place changes from just one year’s time. How does that happen, you might ask…? Because I don’t get lost in one era, one album, I listen, I move, I reminisce, to a place in time, or I just let it take me somewhere new… Continue reading Number 39 – And It’s all Got Me Feeling F.I.N.E.

Number 38 – So Close I Can Taste It!

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Sometimes it’s an acquired taste…
Sometimes it’s completely natural…
Almost spiritual…

Welcome the adventure of the senses…

Most people I’ve ever talked to about this song, whether they be Aerosmith fans or not, would not put this one in their Top 50, let alone their Top 40. Maybe because of the album’s lack of “critical acclaim”, maybe because there’s even better songs on the album than this one, and when you try to put over 300 recorded songs, and 17 albums with original music inside some kind of “Top” list book, maybe they just don’t see this as a Classic Top 40 Aero song.
Well, obviously, I do…

We all know those people in life, who see sex in everything, and I mean everything! But the reality is; most of us who do, can’t really pull it off. Although some of us, who can, do, and do it often. But now, back to reality; American society has a thought process in that most of the people who have sex on the brain 24/7 are obnoxious, or even worse… creepy. I’m not saying that everyone who looks at a banana or a papaya, and instantly thinks of a girl, or even a guy they once knew, or even STILL knows, is trashy. In fact my personal feelings are just the opposite. Reality though, is that in modern Christian America, for the most part, it’s not welcome. Why is that? Is that because these people don’t have the forum to express these thoughts, so they’re better off suppressed? Is it because of our own 400 year old Puritan morals that not only do not accept, but don’t allow these thought processes? Can it be because of something we just don’t understand, similar to different world religions? Or can it be as simple as; those who think provocatively just have no clue how to convey… Well some us actually do.

When the album came out, it was immediately met with horrible reviews across the board. Many critics were stating that there is; “Just nothing new here”, and things along that nature. “Just more ‘GAG’ type music”. And maybe that’s true with some of the songs on the album, such as “Pink”, or “Hole”, which is what the label pushed, but I think where the album got the short shrift was in the body of the record, with songs such as “Ain’t That a Bitch”, “The Farm” “Knees”. Sure I admit, as a whole, not their best effort, but songs such as the one being introduced here WERE NEW! They WERE DIFFERENT!!! And yet classic Aerosmith, with flavor, a sexual message, and of course those Brad Whitford Joe Perry driving guitars. The song not only has a new sound, but still has that classic and true Aerosmith backbeat. The thing with this song is it shows me my band, who are always innovative, never giving up, always willing to express, and welcome new ideas, and genres and ways to Aerosmith-icize what they’re interested in.

During the Nine Lives tour it was nothing for the boys to do a 2 & half hour show, with a minimum set list of 12 songs, and a max of 28. To get the audience into the theme of the tour, they used Peter Gabriel’s, The Feeling begins” , which is on the soundtrack of “The Last Temptation of Christ“, as their opening background music. Very “Persian-esque”! I think if you YouTube that one, you’ll get an idea of, or for some of us, remember what it was like waiting for the show, just as the lights began to dim in the arena… This was different! The band, although still the Bad Boys from Boston, had matured into something new, something different. There was an intrigue as to what they were delivering, but still very Aerosmith!

The Nine Lives Tour is often a subject of trivia type questions regarding the band’s longest tour. Kind of a trick question really, as the tour itself ran the longest in their career spanning almost two full years. However, the tour didn’t have as many shows as the “GAG” tour did. Maybe it would have, but the tour itself was very tough on the band… 43 shows on the Nine Lives Tour were cancelled, and 36 shows were rescheduled, because of Steven’s knee injury, after dropping the microphone stand on it. And then on top of that, there was Joey’s freak accident at a gas station, ending up with 2nd degree burns. But wow! The tour started in May of ’97, and didn’t end until July of ’99, with AeroForce One landing in over 21 countries, to bring their music to the entire world. These guys are all about their fans, even when life gets in the way

I love this song for so many different reasons, some of which are very sophomoric. For instance, like I said above, the band instantly showed a direction of maturity never before seen. It was the band that all my friends, as a young teenager growing up in Santa Rosa, said they would never amount to more than Toys in the Attic. The same friends that said DTL was the end. And then reasons as old as the sky; the sexuality of the song, created from an interpretation of walking by an Indian Restaurant. These are the places my mind visits.

With those VERY heavy guitar riffs, and rough edges around a seductive and sensual lyrical ballet, the song delivers a message of pleasure above ordinary. Heavy, Heavy drum sequence! The song is a powerful expression of a male desire into a tantric scene, not understood by most American men, at least not in a traditional Hindu sense… NO! This is the American male’s interpretation of a sexual experience, maybe worshiped by some, but to us, it’s a whole new experience almost palpable… It’s an adventure. You can feel the sense of depredation with each verse, as he gets closer to the experience. It’s not just a “want”; it’s a “need”… The band delivers the pathway of the lyrical sexual tension, as the vocals express the excitement of the desire, almost as if it’s a sense of delirium.

The song is a metaphor in a sense, for opening up your mind, and all your senses to trying new things, new cultures, new variations, new flavors, new experiences. It challenges the listener, not only sexually, but also culturally. And don’t we all need that, at this day in age? So when your girlfriend, or your husband asks you to try the sushi, or the new Moroccan Food Restaurant, or something from The Philippines, Or even a chance at the other side of life… go ahead, What do you got to lose, if you only lose your mind? Taste the flavors the world has to offer. Let it linger on the tip of your tongue. Thirst for new adventures, both intimately and adventurously!

With the art, of the album, you have to wonder what came first, the song or the art. They actually hadn’t played this song live since the Nine Lives tour was over, until their show in Bangalore in 2007. It was the opening song at the concert, and was played with the Indian Flag as the backdrop.

Personally I think this whole album is very, very underrated. This song actually made it to number 3 on some American charts in ’98, so you may have heard it before. It has an awesome “Sarangi” intro by Ramesh Mishra, who is an award winning disciple of Ravi Shankar. Now to a lot of 3rd, and 4th “Genners”, even some 2nds, the name ‘Shankar’ won’t mean much. However, Ravi was world renowned and respected for his musicianship. Not just in Hindu music, but also in American, and International music scenes, with his performances at the Monterey Pop Festivals in the 60’s, among many others, along with his work with George Harrison’s career. So to have a disciple of maybe the world’s most popular Indian and Hindu musician of all time work on your record… well, that’s just a really cool thing.

Both Joe and Brad play Strats on the song, with an awesome backbeat, by Joey and Tom. I personally think these are Classic Tyler vocals, not only in pitch and sound, but also lyrically. As you watch the video though, you can really get a sense of just how tight this band is, and even more how Joe & Steven, yes the LI3 also, but specifically how in sync the two of them are. And Joe, being Joe is amazing the way he bends these chords in perfect harmony. With all Joe’s accolades, awards, and recognition over the years, still one of the most underrated Rock Guitarists ever… And yet he is easily ‘The Coolest Guy on the Planet’…

Hey Generation 3; Welcome to the show! .
I hope you like a Sweet Taste of India… It’s what’s gotten’ into ‘ya

“God I love the sweet taste of India 
Lingers on the tip of my tongue 
Gotta love what’s gotten into ya 
Any cat man do when it’s done…”

“This time I’m gonna get it right 
She’s gonna whet my appetite 
Just lookin’ for a little taste 
(A taste of India) 
She’ll steal the smile right off your face… yeah…”

This is; “Taste of India”

Number 37 – Save Me!

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Discovery was year ’1976 for me
But it goes back to ‘73

We’re gonna’ go way back, once again, to ’73 for this one. Now as I write this, I know very well, I’m gonna’ get those, now, all too familiar questions about how this one shouldn’t be here. But I have to stand my ground. It’s not the quality of the song on this one for me. It’s the depth, the relationship with the song, and I don’t mean that in a deep personal way as much as like an “old friend”. The song to me is like one of your oldest buddies in life. No, you may not go out and raise the hell that you used too, but damn if you can’t relive it just sittin’ around drinkin’ a beer, and listening to each other…

Tyler wrote this song in a Delta Blues style, mixed with just a little bit of a Motown type of soul to it. Big on the drum beat, and a very “raw” Aerosmith “High School Band” type of feel to it. This one brings you right back to “Nipmuc High School” in New Hampshire. Or maybe your own high school, or those great 1970s parties out at a barn, or old warehouse way out in the country somewhere. We all remember those bands that were good, really good, but maybe just not good enough… yet. We all knew a few guys who played in a band or two, and some of them were even lucky enough keep it going clear into their adult lives. And there was always 1 or 2 guys that you just knew were gonna “Make It”. Right, Steve Ulicny? That’s what this song is for me. It’s those guys. It’s seeing something that’s going to happen, before it actually happens.

It’s just a jam session that turned itself into a song. And you can feel that as you listen, especially to the original track off of album number 1. I know this one will get lost, or not even make it onto some people’s lists, if they even ever attempted one, and believe me, I get that. I guess for me though, just the intro, the raw funk, the clear stumbles and mistakes within the recording, are part of what I want to hear. No, not anymore, but during my initial discovery of these guys, and my Step Brothers Ronnie, and Kenny doing songs like these in their bands, it had a sense of home grown appeal to it. Songs such as this one, gave the listener… well me at least, a personalization. They weren’t the greatest when the song came out. Matter of fact, far from it! But it was the energy behind the chords, behind the drums, behind the bass line. The deep throaty vocals, almost as if they were in your garage.

For most of their early years, this song would become the song they opened their shows with, it’s also the first original Steven played Harmonica on. and boy did he blow! This is the sound that hooked me as a kid. This is the sound I would welcome like a walk in the woods, like a hike up my favorite hill as a kid. It was a sound reminiscent, but not exactly alike… kind of a “kin” to my early childhood favorites like Mungo Jerry’s “Summertime”, or CCRs “Back Door”. Yeah, I know, they’re not in the same vain, this one’s a tad darker, but done with a ray of lightheartedness to it, that just makes you wanna’ move. They had the same down home Rock n Roll, ‘Bloozy’ feel. The same kind of stuff I remembered as a kid, getting ready for summer morning rides on our horses, or goin’ fishin’ on the California Delta. Like I said, not the same, but the same feel good vibe… It’s just blues with a kick!

No meaning to this one really, I mean you can make up your own if you feel you need to, whether it be about a dude in jail, or someone on the road for far too long without his significant other, but really it’s just a song written to complete the tracks for the album. Turned out pretty damn good too! You can make something out of the suicidal references, but there really isn’t anything there, it’s just lyrical.

Some of Steven’s early lyrics here give the listener a glimpse in to what he would ultimately come to be… a lyrical genius. You can hear Joey’s roots in R&B, but with an attitude, surely directed by Steven, but none-the-less such a great unmistakable beat. The guitars giving that extreme bend, and pushing of chords in an almost, but not at all funky sound. Incredible hooks that keep bringing you back. This one’s old people, really old! It’s raw! It’s rough!

There just isn’t much more to say on it, there never really was, it’s just a feel, from the first beat. There’s no way to explain the kind of feeling…

I hope you like it…

Well there’s nothin’ I can see
That’d ever make me wanna be without her
She good… she good to me
Said there’s no way to explain
The kind of feeling that’choo get out in the rain
She good… she good to me
See this emptiness inside
It make me scream it make me crawl out of my high
She’s good… she’s good to me…”

Number 36 – Hey Baby, You Need Some Help With That?

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I’ve never seen nothin’ like before,
Nope I’ve never seen nothin’ like this before…

By now, we know the group’s, and mainly Steven’s obsession with “Obsession”.

We know ‘his’ perception of what makes people tick, is primarily sex, and I for one, don’t disagree, as a matter of fact I agree more than the average “Jolina“. I actually think the only people that don’t agree with my statement, are either way too busy in life to even enjoy subtle nuances of any given day, or they are wholeheartedly in denial.

But let’s go back to a time when maybe it wasn’t as easy to understand. Sure, we just went through the 60’s and the infamous “Summer of Love” in, of all years, “’69”. Yes, America was under some pretty heavy change as far as what was acceptable. But even so, most of that was on a visual level, with women wearing mini skirts, and Hot Pants, and guys even getting into fashions that may, or may not have shown off their manhood. Ladies relax!… I mean “Bare Chested” shirts.  The reality though, at least in broadcasting, was that America still was not ready for anything close to what we see AND hear in today’s Arts and Entertainment. We should probably remind some of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4thGenners” that we still only had 4 or 5 channels on the TV, and very few radio stations, and there wasn’t even a hint of curse words or colorful language allowed over the air waves. Yes, the envelope was being pushed, but it was still sealed pretty frickin’ tight. Continue reading Number 36 – Hey Baby, You Need Some Help With That?

Number 35 – This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Blues!

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I’m feeling comfortable on the front porch….
Just me and my harmonica…

This one drops 29 spots from last year, and I might just be scratching my head on the reasons why? But as I’ve said many times now, when you make up a list like this, over 2 months ago now, things change,…
Which is why it dropped, right?

Love this song, and I love the way boys do it!
Elvis has definitely left the building, and Aerosmith walked in!

What were Kokomo Arnold, Sleepy John Estes, Muddy Waters, Elvis, Eddie Cochrane, and even Tim McGraw really trying to say? I’m thinkin’ there was a lot being said, that just wasn’t being said on the original version. Great song, but damn it didn’t make a lot of sense, start to finish.

A lot like the song “Come Together”, the boys didn’t come in and try to cover a Beatles song. They came in and recognized the song was written for Aerosmith to play, simple as that. They realized it truly was an Aerosmith song. They didn’t change it all that much, they just Aerosmith’ed it up! This song is similar in that fashion. Elvis, Nugent, and others have done the song. It just took a group like Aerosmith, and a vocalist like Tyler to make it completely their own. Continue reading Number 35 – This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Blues!

Number 34 – Let’s take a walk…

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On 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th thought,
I like it right where it’s at!

Maybe it’s just me, Melissa, Jamie, and the country of Latvia on this one…

I mean after reviews like this one below, from Sputnik.com, I think this might be a hard sell… Well, who needs a Kirby Vacuum? You can’t argue it’s not a great vacuum! Now whether you need it or not, well that might be another story;
“Ok, not the best way to start this album and honestly…I hate this song and it’s just a bunch of annoying noise. Somehow I’m sure there’s someone who’ll enjoy this song but I sure no I don’t. The only thing I find good on this song is the chorus but even that ain’t too great. 2/5…”

I know a lot of people look at the “Damn Yankees/Aerosmith” collaborations as something short of pure Aerosmith… Maybe the guys do too, I have no real clue. But I do know what I like, and I like this one a lot!

I try not to get too caught up in who wrote the songs, or who collaborated. I don’t take it that personal. Some people won’t like a “Marty” song or a “Mark” song because of some sort of mistaken sense of protection over the band, in regards to the drug scene they would be affiliated with. Then they just disregard really good songs, as in; if they liked the songs, they would somehow condone the relapses into addiction. And even further, they often remove the person’s individual responsibility, and blame it on the outside party…  I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either, but it’s just the way some fan’s heads work…

I don’t go that deep. I think affiliations are a matter of personal choice, especially after you’ve traveled the same road so many times. Don’t get me wrong, I know addiction, and I know it’s a hard battle to fight, but if you keep inviting the same source inside, you’re not really fighting, are you? Continue reading Number 34 – Let’s take a walk…

Number 33 – Do You Believe in Me?

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Just 32 more…
Before we’re on the shore…

Up 2 spots from last year….

When we introduced Uncle Salty, Adam & Eve’s eating habits, and No More, we talked about the “Body” of this album, well this song here carries the blood of it! It’s intense from start to finish, it embodies the strength, and tone of perhaps the greatest Aerosmith album ever. Not necessarily my opinion in that statement, just overall sales…

in order to fully experience this song, you have to transport yourself back to 1975, you have to get the vinyl, you need to get the headphones, and yeah, I’ll say it… even smoke a bowl or two, and turn this fucker up as soon as the needle drops!!! That’s where this song want s to take you, and if your only going halfway there, well… you’re just not getting the full experience. This is not a PC YouTube song. This is not a song that transfers well into digital sound, so if you can make it happen, make it happen.

This is one of those pounding 70’s Rock N Roll tunes, that made this group one of the true “Monsters of Rock” (that’s a 70’s term kids). With driving guitar riffs and a bass line that just makes you bang your head. It delivers with the force of a category 5 hurricane, but just enough melody to keep it on this side of metal. The chords go right in tune with the title of the song, constantly bringing you back, almost like in a circle. Continue reading Number 33 – Do You Believe in Me?

Number 32- How Much Is This Gonna Cost Me?

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I paid my dues…
just never got into the club

Still means the world…

“As soon as we cut that 1st song, upon listening to playback, I knew we’d nailed it. I’d done “Sun” at some studio in New York and all that shit. “Sun” was stiff and forced, but I knew with this band, once we got out of our own way, were going to ace it. And with a great guitar player like Joe in the band, if we stayed true to our “fuck-all”… everything would sound like Aerosmith” -ST, DTNIMHBY

During the experience of writing this book, as a sort of ascent to The July 3rd, 2015 Blue Army Tour show in South Lake Tahoe, I was writing each entry to take you all just a little bit closer to me, and where this band fits into my life. How they hooked me. Where I was at the time it happened, my age, family, lack of family, friends, girlfriends, just girls, and some women too. I’m gonna’ share with you some parallels of their lives, their songs, their lyrics, along with my life. I’m sure anyone who is a major fan, has similar stories and memories, and I’m hoping, by sharing mine, they will trigger yours. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all of which are pieces, and without these pieces and a kind of sound track to the pieces… well, we just wouldn’t be who we are. So it’s with these memories, I look back with a smile. It might be a crooked smile sometimes, but never-the-less, it’s a smile.

The particular song I’m gonna’ introduce to you now, is one of the original 5 hooks, for me in 1976. Of which, four are still to come. Yeah, I admit, I may have been a little late to the show, but I still got a front row seat here in the west. The song represents not just an attitude with a lot of fun behind it, but it also exemplifies a confidence of this band that they want to share with their new fans and the world.

Since the beginning, Aerosmith has been a group made up of a certain steel. They have a hard enough shell to get where they’ve always felt they should have been, but at the same time, they were trying to take their fans with them… Since the beginning, even as boys from families with a sense comfortable class success, they would endure a tough road along the way to the success of this band. They would be met with a total lack of support from the industry, along with a very confused potential fan base, primarily confused by critics who tried to put them in a box with other predecessors in order to preconceive opinions of who, and what they were, and were trying to be.

With songs such as ‘Dream On’ in the beginning, and even the upbeat ‘Somebody’, and even ‘One Way Street’ they were recording songs of strong character, not just love stories, or remakes of someone else’s songs. They were defining themselves, the band’s personality. The critics and industry just didn’t seem to hear it, or maybe they didn’t understand it. Sure there were other bands and artists selling the same upbeat feel good music; ‘Crocodile Rock’‘China Grove’‘Takin’ Care of Business’, ‘Gimme’ Three Steps’‘Shambayla’, so why the critics didn’t like the band’s songs of determination, and fortitude, is unknown to me. These songs though, “The 5 Hooks” seem to exude a sense of tenacious self-confidence, and pride of self. Characteristics that were not wasted on this young boy. Those characteristics were visible early, and stayed strong throughout the journey.

It was the summer before I started another new school. I’d just left a town I’d grown up in not less than 16 months earlier, but already moved a previous 7 times, 2 states, and 7 cities within 3 years’ time, and changed schools 4 times. In 1974 I left my very suburban even “California-Country” hometown of Novato, CA. It was the summer between 8th & 9thgrade. I was leaving Junior High School and life long friends, after just returning home from another state and another school, but also just before I got to be that big time 9th grader in Jr H.S., only to go to the “Big City” and be a freshman, new kid in town at a four year H.S…. Then we moved again within 2 months, but still new, still a freshman, just trying to Make It. Just as I thought I was settling in again, Pops packed up the truck again. By the summer of 1976 I had moved two more times and became the new kid in town once again at a new “THREE” year H.S. Yep, the youngest and newest once again.

During this summer I met my soon to be Step Brothers Ronnie, Kenny and Cliff. All much older, and to be honest, being the youngest already in a blended family of 9, I didn’t need 3 new, much older brothers. I mean; When the hell was it ever going to be my turn? All I needed was a chance to be me. I had all the confidence in the world, it just seemed it was never my turn, and probably wouldn’t be any time soon… Dad used to tell me; “Mike, you are so egotistical!” My reply; “No dad, it’s not ego, it’s confidence”… The reality was there was an awful lot of ego inside that confident 14 year old kid. Whatever it took, right?

We weren’t too ambitious when we started out. We just wanted to be the biggest thing that ever walked the planet, the greatest rock band that ever was.” – S. Tyler

Well, meeting my brother Ronnie, 4 or 5 years my senior, and the youngest of the “Lane” boys, all very musical by the way, he introduced me to many, many things… he introduced me to “the fun of the experience”, no matter the experience. Check that, he didn’t introduce me. I’d kinda’ been a daredevil my entire life, I just didn’t always recognize the moment. I was always looking for the next adventure before I finished the one I was in.

Ronnie taught me what it was like to get on Bennett Valley Road at night, pitch black, 50+ mph on this winding single lane country-hilly road, and turn off the headlights! He taught me what it was like to not just feel confident, but to be confident, to not just like girls, but to let them like you. To go with it, not to appease, but to please yourself, and who you’re with. It wasn’t necessarily a sexual thing, but then again at that age everything is… right? But more than that, he was teaching me a state of mind. He taught me what it was like to dive off of rooftops into pools 15 feet out from the roof line, a trait that I still haven’t outgrown. Ronnie also introduced me to “The Green”, and music. Not just music, but real music, music with a personality. Ronnie introduced me to a sound that shared my lust for life, my desire to be me. It’s not as if he ever said; “Mike, go do this…” it was more like;  just be, just do, without ever saying a word.

The first time I heard this song… I mean really heard this song, it spoke to me in a few different ways. The 1st of which, was probably the same as everyone else I suppose, just a really good tune that stays with you all day, a tune that I would easily whistle or hum all day. Such a positive melody! The second way it hit me was in a different way, a way I probably wasn’t even aware of at the time. Being a child of a very ugly divorce, who would end up, and was already in transgression, from “Riches to Rags”, it had a message that I could identify with in my own way. It gave the listener a feeling of; “You can do this.”

During the period in time that I first heard it, I had no clue that the youngest of 9, and really now 12 kids, a 14 year old boy would be on his own within a year’s time. I had no idea how much this particular song would play a role as a source of inspiration, an inspiration to get by on fried bologna, and mac & cheese, an inspiration to just graduate H.S., an inspiration to just keep a job in order to pay the rent, keep the lights on, and keep food on the table, all before my 16th birthday. I had no idea at the time, how many times I would listen to this song over the next 40 years. I had no idea how much some of these very early Aero lyrics would shape my life, and help me to try and look at the hard times as just bad weather. Some people say to let go of the past. Sometimes I wish I could, but to me, the past is the “dues” I’ve paid, the memories are the receipts. That lesson was taught to me in song. Maybe I viewed it as something that was learned, maybe the lyric just fit how I already was. Either way, I would relate to those lyrics for years to come.

I never really “Made it”, so to speak, I never really got that one big break in life, but I did make it through, at least so far. Lot’s of pieces along the way, but mixed in with some really awesome memories. I have a beautiful wife and family, who by all intents and purposes, will also have their dues to pay along the way. But I know that they have the same fortitude, the same confidence that will enable them to get through it. The dues I paid didn’t get me into the club, they only got me close enough to the fence, that I could peek through it, before being told to; “go away, you don’t belong here”… Sometimes I wonder how others did it, and then sometimes I just try to realize that it’s just life. And that when life brings on Primal Screams, just sit back and think; “Make it, don’t break it”.

“At the moment that I saw the Boston skyline, words began flooding into my head: Fuck, we gotta’ make it, no, break it, man, make it. We can’t break up, we gotta’ make it, break it, make it, you know, make it… And I began writing “Make It, make it, make it, break it,” saying the words over and over to myself as I wrote them, like a prospector panning sand in a stream, back and forth and back and forth—water and sand, water and sand—until a little nugget emerges out of the sand. And there in the back of the car I thought to myself, “What would I firkin’ say to an audience? If we write songs, get up on stage, I’m gonna’ be looking the audience in the eye, and what am I gonna’ say? What would I want to say? I’m starting to pan for gold: What do I say? What would I want to say? What’s cool to say? All those ideas were beginning to gel into one fuckin’ phrase… Whoops, here we go!” -ST, DTMIMHBY

Feel the “original raw“, feel the original attitude, the original desire, the original confidence in this two guitar band. Let the rolling drum line carry you above, let the base line enter your soul, hear and feel the singer’s self awareness of who these guys are, and where they’re goin’…

“When life and people bring on primal screams
You’ve got to think of what it’s gonna’ take to make your dreams…”

“Bad weather pull yourself together
Don’t be catchin’ the blues
Bad weather pull yourself together
What have you got to lose
You’re only payin’ your dues…”

This is “Make It”

Number 31 – I Do Like The Dress…

Mike 2204 (20)

I do like the dress…
But now it’s a fuckin’ mess…

 It’s hard to stay connected while you’re disconnecting.

 What a song! This one’s good… You know, I might be saying that about the next 30 also, but damn this one could make into the Top 10 any day of the week, and just might on some people’s lists. Desmond Child helps Steven out again on this one. Man, these two could really put down some lyrics, with ‘Tylerism’s‘ all through it.

‘Tylerism’: Def:
A play on words, or lyrics in songs, that not only have, or could have double meanings, but also reflections on life’s peculiarities, and quirks in a way that makes you just say; “Huh! Ain’t that right…”

-Mike’s Aerosmith Dictionary, 1st edition

Steven talks about their one time manager, Tim Collins, who by the way was their manager during their resurgence in the late 80’s and 90’s, as the driving force, and meaning behind this song; that it gets into Tim’s battles with depression, but I think it’s way more than that. You see, Tim was never really on the “inside”  with the band. He wanted to be! And at times, he really thought he was, but you don’t just hook up with these guys and become family because you want to. It takes years of relationships, battles, and bliss.

I think it’s important to note that this was during the same juncture in time, that Joey also was in a very deep state of depression. Really deep! His father had just passed away, and although the two had an abusive relationship in his younger years, Joey grew, over time to forgive, and create, and build a relationship with his father that was pretty special, even if it was dysfunctional. He also decided to ‘wake up’… so to speak, after having a nervous breakdown. But that ‘waking up’ took several years.

You see one of the problems with being brought up in an abusive family, is that you learn that abusive behaviors are “normal”, at least that’s the world these people live in. Joey felt his success was measured in what he acquired, his cars, his toys, his home… “Of course I’m happy, so why am I not happy?”

Joey’s marriage to April continued the same path. Albeit, maybe not physically, but there was a sense of emotional abuse after all was said and done. So even after becoming sober in the late 80’s, he still battled other addictions and behaviors that he could no longer use drugs to escape from.

The band did all the prerecording with a session drummer for the 9 Lives album, without Joey. He just was not ready to be in the studio with his brothers. Let’s remember Steven’s constant onslaught of Joey, and how Steven wanted Joey to play throughout the first 20 years, and the constant infighting of band members, and member’s wives even. Yeah, those years were pretty much gone for most of them, from their recent sobriety, but when you attach yourself to it like Joey did, when it’s your path, your relation, when it’s all that you know, it doesn’t just go away for everyone. The saddest part was that Joey may have had the longest sober streak of the whole band.

Sometimes we hold onto the pain though, because it’s all we are. The pain itself is family, its kin. So coming into a studio with 4 other guys, who are part in parcel of your problem, was just too hard to do at the time, especially if you’re being taught to; “Be Joey outside of the band“, to be his own man, not just the drummer for Aerosmith. It’s hard to differentiate. It’s hard to stay connected while you’re disconnecting.

Eventually he came in, and they re-recorded every song on the album with Joey playing drums on all songs. While the song is understandably about relationships going bad, and there are so many lyrics that relate to partners, I think it’s more than just about male and female. When Steven said it was about Tim’s depression in “Walk This Way; An Autobiography of Aerosmith”, I think maybe it was exactly that, but that quote also protected Joey, as Joey’s book ‘Hit Hard’ was still 10 years away. It was still hush, hush.

But with all that said, this is truly one of the best things about their song writing; it fits what “you”, the listener wants it to fit, and that’s just perfect. If it works for you, as a ‘kin‘ to your own relationship troubles, that’s a good thing. Whether that relationship of what you might think is love, or about family, or drugs, or other indulgences, or your significant other, or your dog, when it ends, the pains of separation from what is a part of you, can be so extreme that you can’t help but want to allow yourself to go there again, just to feel familiar. Maybe that’s why people stay in bad relationships, or continue self abusive behaviors… the alternative is too hard to bear. It means giving up a part of yourself.

“You think you’re high and fine as wine, then you wind up like a dog in a ditch”.

This band shows off their talent with this song, in ways that often go virtually unnoticed. But the essence of this song is how they feed off of, and into each other, with Joe and Steven taking lead. Steven’s voice is simply an instrument to accompany Joe’s lead, and vice versa, and Brad and Tom and Joey just keep that signature back beat rhythm, but all the while Joey hitting just a little harder… never getting ahead of themselves, or one another. The additions of an old Rag Time horn, along with a few strings on the track really gives some depth to the type of “Aero-Blooze” they’re selling with this one.

Truly a work of art. Enjoy…

“I feel just like I’m losin’ my mind
‘Cause love is like the right dress
On the wrong girl
You never know what you’re gonna’ find
You think you’re high and fine as wine
Then you wind up like a dog in a ditch…”

“You see God in the Devil’s eyes 
Then you fall so far from grace 
You wouldn’t know a kiss 
If it was on your face 
You could tell it to the jury 
But’choo ain’t got no case…”