This One is a Bit of a Trick, And to See it Live, Would be Just “Sick”
More of “The Middle”… It’s a thought, not an admission, but an awareness that something ain’t right…. It’s after recreation, after experimentation, but before admission of addiction…
What I like about this song the most, I think, is the melodic transitions a bit more than the repetitive lyrics. I think it plays out so well, with a true partnership in creation. It brings different styles and abilities of play together, and marries them in harmony. The tempo changes in the song from beginning to end, with such smooth transition… This is what sells this song to me so well… The song is such a treat! Most people know all the trivia of this one by now, but if not, let’s revisit…
This song’s main riff was created by the most unassuming, yet true Rock Star in the world, Tom Hamilton. Tom admittedly didn’t even know how to play bass for real back in 71. In 75 & 76 though, during the making of what some call “The Best Aerosmith Record EverRecorded”, he came up with this riff. Tom was just playing around on guitar, showed Joe and Steven what he had, and then they just went with it for the recording. Joe picked up a bass guitar and started playing along, with Tom’s rhythm, Brad joined in with some lead and a song was born, a song that became almost a child of this band, a song that so many would come to identify with the band for generations to come.
The beginning of the song, with those rolling drums, and ratta tat tat, right along with the rhythm guitar, and a few nice lead solos, give Steven an avenue to plead for help. There’s a beautifully soft anxiousness about the rhythm, that Steven translates in lyrics perfectly, while Brad does a melodic lead through the beginning… A short solo after the second verse, in perfect harmony with the Tom’s rhythm, as they continue this beautifully through the middle of the song…
Then the “hush’ in the middle, the essence of being alone… needing help. But just trying to hold on… Just rhythm guitar and drums… as Steven takes over on bass, allowing Joe to grab a guitar and dive into the song’s ending guitar solo that takes the song to another tempo change, another dimension… In the studio version you can actually hear the pause when Steven takes the bass from Joe, and Joe picks up his guitar and just starts whaling. Then it’s just unmistakable Joe Perry!!! That driving grit, that cutting edge! It’s powerful at this point. Joey introduces Joe’s insertion with some solid hits on the cans, and the song just flows… and then… Then the end, almost soft, but still strong, where it fades, but allows the faint sound of an almost “Toy-like” like piano, and very, very faint sound of a baby’s cry…
There’s been a lot of assumptions about this song being about someone who is lovesick, and it probably is. My personal opinion is that Steven just put some good words down on paper to some good music… If it does have a meaning, I’m pretty sure it’s about being drug sick. Let’s remember this is off of Rocks. And Steven has often used the term Love for an addiction, used the female connotation in place of a drug; “You’re a lady in disguise”…
Listen to Combination and you’ll get my meaning. _. I’ve only heard the song once I believe live. I’ve seen this one played a few times in video the way they originally did it. If you ever get the chance, this one’s a lot of fun…
Deeper though, as you look into and listen to this song with all it’s typical Aerosmith double entendre’s… Is he writing about a girl, a friend, a lover, a drug? It’s up the listener to decide, and always the listeners decision, their interpretation will undoubtedly be correct. But listen to the ambivalence, the contrary of every line, every verse. This is classic Aerosmith, these are classic Aerosmith lyrics…
It’s a brief story of love AND hate within a relationship. It’s not one or the other… Where have we seen this before? But it’s different, less clear, yet very clear… Is it the drug in disguise as his only friend, is it the dealer as his only friend that he’s begging to, or is it his girlfriend that he doesn’t want to let her see him like this, or even see her with her head in the loo… All of this leads to that ever thought of, lack of satisfaction, compromise, concession. He calls her out, almost like a bully-ish attack, and then pleads desperately for her, or him, or it to stay. The song is extremely complex in its narrative, and music alike. You can feel the softness of companionship, with the tension of a mistake. The song’s melodies are both almost tapestry like, and yet driving the tension of the quarrel you are in the room witnessing to the point of bouncing off the walls. It captures the pleading to get along to come together, and the demands to get out!
And kudos to Tom for coming up with such a great melody…It has a touch of “No More No More” in it, and maybe that’s why I like this one so much, it just takes a different path.
There’s a lot of women, and even some men out there that will think I’m nuts with the position of this one… the only thing I can say to that is; What’s nuts is trying to put 100 of their favorite band’s songs in an order of importance, or reverence, and then write a book about it…
Take a walk outside your mind…
When you get to the video below, you will see how really tough it is, to not give this one a higher spot, but alas… here it is at number 60.
Steven’s VERY EARLY song writing, and lyrical talents are in full bloom with this song, along with just a peek into what Joe will soon be as a guitarist. Sure, Steven wrote the original music on a garbage dumpster guitar, but Joe helps bring it to life. Steven and Joe paint a mood, a presence, an almost ethereal feel with this melody. You can feel the hustle, the bustle, only to come down to the speed just a bit faster than a crawl. You can feel the seasons change from warm fun, and then fast to cold, and dark, and grey. You can feel the desire to want more than cold, more than being alone…. Like you will read later with Uncle Salty, they both take you almost to the point of screaming out loud, but never quite go over that line.
My personal perspective on this song is complex. Difficult to put into words, as it honestly does have a parallel in my life, both as a young boy and as an adult much later in life. The melody is such that, as beautiful as it is, it comes across, to me at least, a sense of foreboding… It’s dark, and yet it pulls you in.
It’s a place in my mind I often don’t like to visit, given that I have so many fond memories of my adolescence and childhood, but it does relate, and it relates in time. I can remember buying GYW and hurrying home to hear songs I’d never heard before, save a few on the radio. But even then, those songs getting airplay were very infrequent. My room, not unlike so many other teenage boys, was a place to escape. I can never say I had a horrible childhood, or that I was abused or anything of that nature, so as I write, it’s a little hard to paint a picture of the sense of alone-ness I often had. Especially being the last child of 9, you would think feeling alone would be rather difficult. But divorce can, and does do funny things to people. And innocence can be traded in settlement proceedings of two people who once loved each other, but now can’t comprehend the damage done.
I was living with my father at the time, another new town, another new room, another new apartment complex, another mistake… Living with my father was a choice I made at an age when children shouldn’t be given that kind of choice to make. Out of loyalty to a brother to never separate. My only true 100% blood. A man I would be happy to part ways with later in life, a decision was made. A decision unknown at the time, with almost devastating effects. My mother whom I loved more than air, and who loved me more than the sun, was broken hearted for life with that decision. My father regretted the offer ever being made, or accepted. A child who was truly nothing more than a reminder of the woman he grew to hate. A child who, although absolutely clueless to it, would be neglected as if he were nothing more than weed between the fences. A child, who was in the way…
My room was an escape from many things; the memory of what I once was, what our family once was… an escape from what it was now. A place to not have the obligatory superficial talk with a strange woman my father fucked on weekends, trying to be a mother figure to me. An escape from my brother accepting all of that, as I f she was a new spicket he could turn on, and get attention from like water. An escape from the quarrels of the living room below, my sisters, who also had the rug pulled out from under them, and demands of a father to be a mother to his boys that they needed so much. An escape from my father who was clueless in how to be a dad… an escape from the fist fights witnessed between my visiting mother and my father protecting his fuck…
I put the record on, and just let it play, turning it up just to drown out the sounds of a broken family. I listened as this band, playing music, I literally knew absolutely nothing about at the time, fill my head. To distract from the realities of teenage depression, teenage angst. I just put in on… Side A 1st song, drop the needle. I just listened to them take me on a ride of growth from their eponymous record to their 2nd. I laid there rockin’ out to music and lyrics of a hard luck story in the first song, S.O.S.A.D. then to, although unknown at the time the true meaning of the song, but a boyhood fantasy type song of being an expert in the field of sexuality with L.O.T.T., then “Spaced”, wow are these guys hitting home or what? The record continued with an upbeat fun W.O.W. in a sense, teaching a young boy that certain women have traits you just can’t ignore…
Flipping the record over, listening to the 1st track on the B side, I heard just a Bad Ass Rockin’ Tune. So much energy, so much attitude and mojo, S.O.S. could very easily be a new mantra for a young boy of 14, with nothin’ but bad luck in his pocket! As the record rolled through the very familiar Train, although not real interested, as this is the one song I’d already heard so often, I just let it play, then at the end… the studio sound still on, but picking up inserted sounds, as if the song finished live, but the transition into the next was almost apprehensive in a way… bringing the sounds of wind, and cold. It was as if the party stopped, and I was all alone again… I let this melody and sound enter me, it was beautiful, and yet not…. It became a favorite of mine for quite sometime without the desire for it to be there at all.
The song represents to me the good things in life that are lost in the wind. Memories that are nothing more than a summer long ago. And a stark reminder of the cold you now live in. The song was enticing, and inviting. Almost as if it was my depression, which by the way wasn’t even defined as such in 1976. There were no prescriptions. There were no therapists, there was no talking about it. There was just you, and ignorance. As the song starts though, it pets and strokes the listener’s ears with a soft melancholy effect to bring him or her in, it makes her feel welcome, much like Depression does, it’s so easy to let it consume you, and then slowly ascends to an anxiousness, not an anger, just an emotion that could go places you’re not comfortable with. It takes the listener on a journey of wanting to go back, but has to move forward. Who wants have warmth, but is only cold. Who wants the presence of family, friends, company, but only is only alone…
In a year’s time since I bought that record, I would learn what it truly means to be alone, to have no one. No family. I learned I guess, to deal with my abandonment as best I could. In all reality, maybe I made my own truths which were easier to live with at the time. I developed a sense of confidence as to when the “Cold” came. I could easily find my way back into the sunlight. The song would remain a favorite, but I also sensed, but unknown why at 15, 16, 17 a sense of always wanting to push it away. I learned to take care of myself and not give in to the underlying darkness that made up my world of being a teenager on his own at such an early age. I honestly knew no such thing as “depression” at the time. I just knew that I was different. Friends went home for dinner. Friends had their mom’s do their laundry, friends had parents help them buy cars… Shit, friends ate!
These little amenities of life, so to speak, I had no part of, but I learned to hide those moods, as no one who didn’t live in my world really understood it anyway. Hell, I didn’t understand it. Even room mates, they could always go home. I was home! So, these moods, for lack of a better word, that this song gave me insight to, yet no understanding of, needed to be kept hidden. They were vulnerable, they were soft. My world didn’t allow that. So as I got older, as I matured, I can distinctly remember listening to it in the cassette deck of my first car, and even after that through my life, listening to the soft remembrance, but immediately pushing the “skip” button within the 1st minute, never really knowing why.
Just this week it came to me, with all that I have been through this past year, the song represents “insecurity” to me. That is where depression and anxiety starts, at least for me it did, or does. But for me, a man with so much confidence, which is really nothing more than controlled ego, insecurity is unwelcome and debilitating force. It’s a force I’ve come to know that I’ve had my whole life. Sometimes hidden very well, sometimes blatantly disguised as anger. What really is Insecurity, other than the face “Ego” sees in the mirror?
I have a friend who gave me different thoughts of the song, and I bet he’s a lot closer to the truth than I am. And that’s what I love best about music, we all have different interpretations, and if we ask and listen, it can be a really cool thing. My buddy Terry Crotts told me that he always envisioned the song as though it was a sort of banner song, an anthem of sorts of will, of testament. And I really like that. He told me, as we’re the same age; “That although the song is dark, it gives him a sense of promise that his ship will come in, and he will be on it when it does.” He likens it to Steven writing a song in the same vain as “Make It’, but just darker. As if Steven’s trip into the basement that cold winter night, when he wrote the song alone, that maybe he was contemplating the lack of sales from their first album, and yet he knew their ship would come in. In sense it’s always darkest before dawn. Terry envisioned the guys sitting around a campfire at Lake Sunupee just relaxing and dreaming of making it, and this is that dream. Maybe not as gung-ho as “Make It’ was, but still the same dream none-the-less. Yeah, I think I like that Terry. Thanks…
Joe has said many times this is his favorite ballad, which is cool, since Joe hates ballads. Don’t know if that’s true today, but it really does give you just a peek inside of who exactly these guys are…
From “Walk This Way”- Aerosmith Autobigraphy –
“Seasons of Wither was about the winter landscape near this house I was living in with Joey near an old chicken farm. I used to lie in my bed at dawn, listening to the wind in the bare trees, how lonely and melancholy it sounded. I was pissed off about my taxes and getting mad helps me to write, so one night I went down to the basement where we had a rug on the floor and a couple of boxes for furniture and took a few Tuinals and a few Seconals and I scooped up this guitar Joey gave me… this dumpster guitar, and I lit some incense and wrote Seasons of Wither.”
My opinion, and if I remember right, I think he referenced it during his Oprah interview at his home at the lake…. I think there is also a lot in this song about Joe’s, Steven’s, and even Tom’s childhoods at Lake Sunapee and “Trowrico”, the Tallerico Family Inn at Lake Sunapee. When the seasons change, and everyone goes back to their real homes, back to the cities far away, whats left is the remains…
It’s a very “alone” song. Seasons change, as do the people.
I have the same view as always did about the song, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the beauty in it. Just last year, with chills running up and down my spine, I heard the song live for the 1st time (for me) since 1978. During our visit to the Salinas show, My wife Mary, My daughter Natalie, and I witnessed history and it left an indelible mark on my life. Just after a few True Blue army favorites “Walkin’ The Dog”, and “Movin’ Out”, which by the way if you ever see and hear both of those in one show, that alone is lifetime achievement, but after that the chills came… As Steven exited the stage or at least to a darkened corner briefly, only to come back to center stage surrounded by his brothers for his very 1st ever at 67 years old playing the guitar on a massive stage, this song. As much as this song haunts me at time at times, I will forever be grateful for what I saw, what I heard, what I felt that night. And for that, thank you Aerosmith.
Personally I think this song is about 5 minutes too short. Maybe that’s the point…
This video shows the difference between “playing”, and “feeling”. They are NOT just an act! They’re a band that never plays the song the same way twice.
I’ve given you two videos to watch. The 1st is really good quality, the 2nd is Salinas 2015, homemade. Watch Steven’s nervousness in his debut. The biggest Rock Star on the planet, nervous in front of a “Cow Town” crowd, and his brothers’ support, Joe’s smile of encouragement. The sound doesn’t do justice to the live emotion this one gave off…
Guess you had to be there…
Just watch and listen…. No I didn’t do this one already… 1:06 in…
Don’t be judgmental, it may be a trip… but it’s a cool little instrumental with a bit of a grip…
Not sure anyone will get this… I just really dig this song. No real reason why. Maybe just because it’s so different. No meaning behind it, that I know of at least. And good luck finding anything on it at all. The vocals are… who knows? Gaelic? I’ve read that people say they can translate it into Scottish? Maybe, maybe not, but if you play this loud, loud with headphones, not ear buds. It will just kinda haunt you… I’ve tried to use Google Translate, but it just doesn’t make sense. I’ve read and heard, trying to research, that the lyrics are secret, that Steven will not say… So if you know, I’d love to hear what you have to say
I really like when this band steps outside of their box, to just try stuff, different stuff. When they play with sound… It’s always good. Listen to Kings and Queens. Yeah, it’s a rockin’ song, but the lyrics speak to Steven’s belief that he’s been here before, and this time he’s here to tell a story. It’s Joe’s desire to play with feedback, distortion and stretch sound… It’s transcendental like… They’ve had a few of these through out their career, their history. It’s just a feeling… Not sure where it’s going or where it’s been, but like Number 61, I think it’s about 5 minutes too short. When I hear this I want to keep listening, a lot like watching an old Viking movie or something like that, and maybe that’s where the title comes from… What do I know? Mary says it’s all about the listener’s interpretation, what they got from it, much like how we see films differently. Continue reading Number 59 – Transcedental Vacation
Come on, have a little class… If you wanna’ drink from my glass…
I may be committing more Aerosmith sacrilege here once again, but let’s remember whose book this is. I’m just playing with you guys with that statement… I would never argue anyone else’s list, but it would be just that; “their list”. I’m not saying it’s not a great song, and I can certainly understand it being in somebody else’s top 50 or top 10. Just not mine, maybe because of where I’ve lived for the last 20 years… The local Classic Rock radio station only has one continuous tape of maybe 100 total songs. So yeah, this one, Dream On and Train, are all you really ever hear from this group, at least where I live. So maybe with me, it’s just because of an imposed lack of depth. However, I definitely respect it.
What do you say about a song that is the essence of the toxicity of the band that created it? The song itself is a four minute biography of how it split the band. Sure it happened 4 years after the song was born, but the seeds of destruction were already sown. Everything I’m saying has been said before. Except maybe my personal view, which is; “This song is the Toxic Love Child of the all the principals that who was Aerosmith and their inner circle at the time…”
Okay here we go; this song goes back to before there was an Aerosmith. No it wasn’t written that long ago, but the content was there over five years time. Let’s go back to Lake Sunapee ’70, ’71, and a few characters go back even further. And my hunch is, they go deeper. There were a few different people involved in the making of the song. A very young adolescent Steven Tyler knew this girl from the summers he spent at Trowrico, who was pretty darn close to the definition of “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, even as a very young girl. Of course she didn’t give Steven the time of day, as he was pretty much an awkward, and kind of a strange teenager. At least that’s what’s been said publicly, and in print. However, some of us who follow these guys a bit closer than what might be deemed healthy, have a different opinion on that. But as is written, Steven did have a huge crush on that girl. (You can only know this by reading between the lines of all the books written)
Over time Steven and Joe met at a burger joint Joe was working at, in the resort town of Lake Sunapee. Joe flippin’ burgers, and Steven and a few of his buddies eating them, as well as throwing them around the restaurant during food fights. Over more time, Steven made his way down to see The Jam Band play, really more to see Elyssa than to see Joe, but never-the-less this was Steven’s first Joe Perry experience in musical form. and an experience it was!
What hasn’t been written, and is pure speculation on my part, as well as others, but again is that this girl and Steven knew each other a little more intimately than has ever been told, I’m sure out of respect for all involved. Joe likens the previous friendship of Steven and Elyssa, to a kind of “Kissing Cousins” relationship. Maybe that’s true, I don’t really know. My thoughts are though; Yeah exactly that, and then some. Some of us learn about girls and sexuality at a very young age, some of us way younger than what would be considered the norm. We discover things we can’t really comprehend at such an age, but damned if presented the opportunity, we won’t try. My own belief in life, is that this isn’t because two kids are perhaps left alone together too long without parental supervision, it’s a lot more simple than that. It’s my belief that extremely sexual and sensual people are born that way, and when two of them meet, no matter the age or comprehension, they will explore who they truly are.
With those early lessons, come confusion and thoughts of love before you even know what love is enter your mind, but the aftermath of those types of “Discovery Years”, for lack of a better description is what becomes the strong sometimes lifelong connection. No, it may never be the boyfriend – girlfriend connection that we think could have and often think should have happened, but none-the-less a lifelong connection is created. However, without having the experience and knowledge of what to do with that discovery, where to go with it, sometimes a tension is created that has far reaching effects onto other people and even into others’ own personal relationships. And it’s all because of an innocent discovery made by two kids with curious minds, left alone for awhile, with nothing better to do. This strange connection would later play a key part in the making of the song in later years, and the breaking of a band.
Steven saw Joe on stage, and even then at a very young age, he could see the Rock Star in Joe, that Steven so desperately wanted to be. He saw his ticket, so to speak. He also saw this gorgeous girl in the front row, The same girl he’s known so long, but truly really never knew, and yet wanted too, especially now in later teenage years. She was there by the way, to see nobody else but Joe. This was a strange dynamic for Steven to process. Steven wanted to be a star in his own right for many reasons, but in all truth, maybe even more than fame itself, he wanted the attention from the girls. And this girl in particular was perhaps the girl he wanted the most attention from at that moment in time. So, you can see here, that even before the “Toxic Twins” were as close as brothers could be, there was already a dynamic created of envy, of jealousy, respect, appreciation, and competition. There was a lot goin’ on there!
Two things were brewing in Steven’s mind. First, he pretty much knew right away that if the two of them, he and Joe, got together, they would“Make It”. The second, although there was envy for Joe having the attention of the girl he had a crush on so bad, it wasn’t so much the girl, as it was Joe was the Rock Star that Steven wanted to be. But at the time, the egos were bigger than the truth. Steven’s crush on Elyssa turned into jealousy and hatred over the next five years.
After some time away, even abroad chasing other Rock gods of the era, Elyssa came back to New England and of course re-grouped with people she’s known her whole life. Steven being one of those people, she came to know Joe a little better too. Now Joe at the time was making his way through the life as a young rock star, albeit not well known, he definitely was starting to experience the benefits of female attraction to musicians. He’s even had time with a very famous celebrity of the era, Judy Carne, but that’s another story. After meeting Elyssa again, he also seemed to be experiencing some pretty strong attractions to this chick himself, but didn’t quite feel an invitation so to speak. Maybe because of Steven’s strange connection to her. To be honest, from all I’ve read and have seen over the years, I’m sure there were hundreds who felt the same way about Elyssa.
After some partying together of Joe, Steven, and Elyssa in the apartment Steven and Joe shared, it just happened that Elyssa wound up in Joe’s bed. I think it’s easy to say here, that Elyssa had an attraction to Joe since their early teens, but Elyssa always seemed to choose the guy who gave her the fastest track to financial security. Now this being the time between Aerosmith’s 1st album and their 2nd, it’s my thought that Elyssa allowed her attraction to Joe to gamble on future success. That next morning, to say Steven was surprised, and a little jealous would be an understatement. Now there is a few books on this story, so I’ll stop with the tangent there, and say it’s only given to provide basis.
Now it’s not quite that simple either. The life of Aerosmith as a band was nothing at the time the song was written, if not sex, drugs, rock and roll, but all the while, they were just 5 middle class 20 somethings who liked to have a good time. There were women everywhere anytime, anyplace. But for Joe, it was different; Joe’s personality was to be loyal to one woman, and that woman was Elyssa, his wife. Listen to “Lick and a Promise” again… The Rock Star of the band, the real star did not “play” with the rest of the band.
When you’re involved in guilty pleasures and indulgences, it’s always good to have your best friends around to tell you it’s okay. And it’s only natural that while your best friend (Joe), is going the other way, you question your friendship. And when you question your friendship, you create blame. Whether it was real, or contrived it didn’t matter. And now you bring cocaine and even harder drugs into it. Now your best friend is not only not partying with you anymore, he’s taking his drugs, AND his woman, THIS woman, the same woman Steven had a crush on since childhood, and just going the other way.
Yeah it’s true that there was a triangle, a “Toxic Triplets” so to speak, and later even a Pentagon of people involved in the lyrics of the song. But one thing I don’t think Elyssa Jerret gets enough credit for, is the support, encouragement, and confirmation that she gave Joe. Yes she was instrumental in helping Joe pursue a solo career but she was also instrumental in Joe becoming the talent that he is, although later, perhaps out of admission of a mistake, confirmed that the band together, the five of them, is bigger than anything else. I know that Joe’s present wife Billie gets most of the credit for putting them back together. Maybe deservedly so, I don’t really know… but it’s my opinion that if they didn’t split, they would have just petered out, never knowing what they could have been.
So from a very complicated triangle of personalities to “locking the door with a chain”, to spilt milk, comes an anthem that describes the fiber of this band. The most ironic thing about the song is in its title, which so many casual fans just don’t get… It ain’t “Sweet” at all!
Over time and years, not unlike other songs, the song took on its own identity, with Tom’s signature Bass Line that gives the song its initial sexual and sensual appeal, along with Joe’s iconic Talk Box giving it a different dimension, and even further sensuality… Toss in Steven’s play on the “Vibraslap” almost as if you feel the electricity of a touch that will lead no where, except for “there”… And the Maracas that keep it going… But make no mistake about the true meaning of the song behind the sudden, and explosive sounds, not once, not twice, but 3 times, each time becoming more intense, to tell the story of seduction, illusion, betrayal, destruction, and eruption!… Each time becoming more, and more intensified.
The lyrics are so very profound. We’ve read and heard through our fandoms of certain celebrity bands who have used their own tumultuous lives to create masterpieces in music, ie Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’. And although Fleetwood Mac isn’t alone in this process, sometimes other band’s do the same, but with the brilliance of double entendres creating a masterpiece that can be interpreted in the vain in which it was written, or in fact a listener can create his own interpretation to mean what he or she needs it to mean. This song does both so very well.
Time and public demand would turn this song into what may very well be the 2nd or 3rd most identifiable song of the band’s more than 40 year career. Rightfully so, so simple and yet so very, very complex. But it’s more than just an iconic song for fans to hear and see in concert. This song, right here, as I said earlier is the band’s Toxic Love Child.
From it’s infancy in the 70’s creating tension between all principals involved in the birth of it, the raising of it, to it’s rebellious and often misunderstood adolescence of the 80’s, to it’s coming of age as a song that is so good, so powerful, from every member, to be a show closer in it’s adult years, as if a final statement is made. In essence this band presents the culmination of a lifelong relationship of 5 brothers and their families, through good times and bad, and it stands as strong as ever, more powerful than ever. They use it to close out concerts to show the audience, a song written about Toxicity, has matured into a song of pure strength, the song that tore a band apart, is the very song that binds them together, stronger than ever. It exemplifies this band!
You can only understand this when you experience this Final Encore of today’s shows. They present to you, in a true vision of growth through sound, the soft beginnings of the song, it’s infancy of sorts, and yet a personality within that infant, which tells the listener this is a child of its own identity, its own destiny. You can feel its birth out of a smoldering toxic relationship, yet not a burning tension of sorts. An almost inquisitive sense of what its life will become, the music alone slowly climbs to a period of breaking free from all that binds, and keeps its roots together. During the show, close to the end of the song, you will experience Joe taking his child off into a corner as if giving it a final talk of fatherly advice, to be strong, to be heard, to be loud, to make a fucking statement! As he comes away from that corner, this song, this Toxic Child reaches full maturity as powerful as a song can possibly be. And when you hear it, when you feel it, when you experience this song live, it comes alive! You feel that this band, this family has sent their offspring into the world to make its own mark. That is Sweet Emotion!
The lyrics tell the stories of the arguments between Steven, Elyssa, Joe, and even all the others, and their wives. It tells the story of fame and fortune gone to their heads. It tells the stories of taking their stash into solitude rather than previously sharing between brothers. It tells the hidden story of intimate knowledge that Steven has of Elyssa, or maybe wishes he had, almost out of spite, yet disguised as any groupie in the crowd. But make no mistake, this song, this Toxic Love Child, has a personality all its own, and if you’re lucky enough to feel it, to get to know it in person, you will understand the respect and admiration it deserves, and when you do, you will be Professionally Rocked like never before!
Elyssa from the Days of Joe’s “Jam Band” at the Barn in the front row, and then so many shows along the way..…
“Standing in the front just a shaking your ass, I’ll take ya’ back stage you could drink from my glass…”
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 doneeverything 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? Heh hea…”
“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…”
You can search forever and just not come up with much of nothin’ on this song….
So, that leaves me with “me”. As you all well know by now, my takes are my takes. My parallels are my parallels, my opinions are mine…
“I look at the world through a different pair of sunglasses. I don’t ask that you buy the same pair, just take a minute to try ’em on and see how things look.”-moi
There’s no deep meaning here, just the boys havin’ fun with different influences and genres, along with some scat and rhymes, to come up with a song that I don’t think anyone really got when it first came out. During the ’77-’79 era, Disco, Boogie, R&B, and Funk were in their prime, and during these times, most people didn’t “multi-task”. In other words, you were either a fan of one genre, but not usually another, and if you were a “Rocker”, you just didn’t do Funk, or anything else for that matter. Kind of a shame when you think about it… Continue reading Number 56 – She’s Got Some Spunk In Her Funk
Bad to the bone ain’t worth a fuck If you’re alone because you suck
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. I did not lie, and these allegations are false’ -Bill Clinton
Steven says; “Nine Lives was my rant, my rage”. He also said that; “’Hole in my Soul’ puts into perspective, what it means to get laid somewhere else, besides where you should have, and how will kick back on you” “it’s often not what’s been said, but how you lived it”. He’s trying to tell the reader, that he truly sees a huge difference between “fucking, and sex”, between “making love” and “sex”. Sure ‘most’ men and women will SAY they see a difference… until the scenario enters their home. Then it’s as if all these worldly conversations never took place, men and women both. The reality is, that if you’re the one who sees a difference, where others don’t, the effects of what you just done, come down on somebody else… Truth!
”Number 56 was written by Steven, and Joe, and Glen Ballard, as were most of the songs on Nine Lives before Joe just got fed up with Glen, and booted him. The song was originally released as the first the single off the record in ’97. One those very “Aerosmith” rockin’ tunes without the metal… It has that hard-smooth, but thumping bass line, and hard hitting cans, along with a very up tempo track , which gives it mass appeal. It has a lot of the ‘GAG’ type resonance. The horns arrangement, which was actually written by Steven and David Campbell, partner perfectly with Joe’s very tight lead solos, and Tom’s bass line. Continue reading Number 55 – “Rant and Rage”
This one actually climbed 4 spots from last year. Funny how these songs tend to come back around, and hit me again for the 1st time.
I can’t make this shit up, so I won’t. I’ll keep it brief and straight from the hip.
Typical of the Toxic Twins before they were toxic, the two would get together and come up with a song within minutes. Yep, that quick!… This one is the “same”… Joe sits down picks and slides a riff, and Steven says; “What was that, do that again”.., he scats, and that is that. A song is born. The song was consummated, and born within minutes.
As the story goes; while they were living on Beacon St., hangin’ out, Joe discovered the opening riff. He was still sitting on the amp playing with it, when Steven walked up and just started scatting some random words and sounds right in tune with his riff. Brad joins in with that dueling lead that is so AEROSMITH… That alone can, and maybe is, the key to this band… Two guitarists perfectly understanding each other, two people in perfect conversation with instruments, as if it’s orchestrated naturally, without a plan. They read each other, and then a singer with a perfect voice, who sings in perfect tune with guitar… Throw in some horns, and Wah La!… Absolutely amazing! Continue reading Number 54 – Careful Wit’ Those South Side Ladies
Oh! Mr. Perry! Give Me Some Whiskey 2/5ths Will Do…
I’m not gonna’ pull a lot from this album, but what I do pull are “True ‘Blooze’” Aerosmith, purebred, through and through. It’s who they are, it’s what they are, and this song defines that special kind of sound, that only this band has ever been able to deliver to me, in a non-contrived way. Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I love The Blues. I love Rock n Roll… and so many deliver it well. True blues men like Stevie Ray, with that drawl that’s not only in his voice but in his fingers, The Stones tremendous respect for The Great American Blues from the Black South and Chicago, but these guys give “me” something so very different… It’s like blood to me, it’s like water on hot summer day… it’s refreshing and it’s pure.
The song was originally written and recorded in 1938 by Bill “Jazz” Gillium. Then the Buster Bennett Trio recorded the song, which is probably a bit closer to what the boys were looking for when they put it on the table, and although the basic structure of the song is still there, the boys have a way of “Aerosmith-Izing” it, that brings on a whole new groove, a whole new ear to it… Slowing it down, way down, down slow enough, but strong enough to feel it ooze through their veins, your veins.
The album, and the times have been told, and retold a 100 times just by me, let alone a 10,000 other people, so I won’t go through it all again. However, after their fastest selling album (to date, of the time period), which would soon be mocked as the “Black Out Album”, DTL’s lack of critical acclaim, and support, it seemed as though the wheels were coming off pretty fast… that would play out in all the ugliness that industry could hand out at the time. Thank god there was no social media in 1979!
However, with all that history and what was done and not done, a few gems came out of Night in The Ruts. This song, being one of them. It’s funny really; When I see the song’s title, or even the cover of the album, I feel a little… well, uninterested. But as soon as I hear that slow, hard, deliberate beat of Joey’s drums, those crying guitars, and methodic Bass line of Tom’s, and that harmonica!… That fucking Harmonica! That same simple instrument played by a Master, the same way it took me on the 1st album, I’m 100% embedded in this song, just anticipating, with passion Steven’s voice as he wails this one out!
I’m not fluent enough in music to tell you what kind of guitars were used, or even if Joe actually finished the original recording with a Les Paul, or a Strat, or whether Brad finished this up after Joe left…. What I do know is that this one was a beloved Project song also. Some of, in my opinion, Joe’s best playing EVER! At least when it comes to The Blues. Steven screams it, Joe bleeds it!
Sometimes the blues is just what I wanna’ hear from these guys….
Man, They do it so well… As far as I’m concerned this song was written 41 years earlier for this band! They fucking nail it!
Still love those AeroBlues!!!
Love this stuff!
“Lord I got to drink me two fifths of whiskey Just to get just to get half as high…”