Rock legends Aerosmith touch down at the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a new event

JOE PERRY ISN’T YOUR AVERAGE football fan. Sure, he likes to watch his New England Patriots play at Gillette Stadium and barbecue some ribs during the occasional tailgate. But as Aerosmith’s lead guitarist, he’s developed a friendship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and even played a Super Bowl halftime show. And on Aug. 7, Aerosmith kicks off this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement weekend by headlining the inaugural Concert for Legends in Canton. The 64-year-old Perry chats about his favorite football memory and what’s ahead for the legendary musical act.

Q. Super Bowl halftime shows have become spectacles. What set Aerosmith’s 2001 performance apart?

A. It was the first time they allowed a bandto play live, because we wouldn’t do it unless we could play live. Up until then, pretty much everybody lip-synced just because of the technical problems. The other thing that was a first was allowing fans to get on the field. We knew that would increase the excitement level.

Q. Do you have a favorite football memory?

A. My mother, before she passed away, she was a huge football fan. She was a gym teacher; she loved all sports. We went to a Patriots game, and they had a kicker, Adam Vinatieri. He was warming up, and we were walking down on the field before the game. She said, “Is it all right if I go and take a picture of him?” I had to practically push her. I thought it was really, really kind of sweet that she was so tentative about it and so scared that she was going to upset him.

Q. You’ve said Aerosmith “had some mountains to climb, and we still do.” What challenges remain?

A. I’d really like to do another Aerosmith studio album. I don’t know if we’re going to have the time or if people are going to be into the mood. People want to hear our old stuff, you know? I thought this last record, [2012’s Music From Another Dimension! ], I’d say about three-quarters of it really hit the mark, and it just didn’t do that well. I’d just as soon go out and do a solo record like Steven’s doing. Maybe the timing will work out, everybody will get inspired, and we’ll get in the studio and knock out another batch of songs.

Issue Date: August 2015 Issue
Dream Team
By Lynne Thompson for Cleveland Magazine