Number 27 – What’s Goin’ On Over There? I’m a little Curious…

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What’s goin’ on over there?
Honey, let’s find out…

Was the album Toys #2? Maybe it was, with its sexual focus, and success. It seems almost every song has a sexual undertone, or even overtone for that matter. Why not? Sex sells, right?

The music for this song was written by Jim Valance, with the lyrics written by Tyler in ’89, and released in 90, but the group would eventually give some credit to Holland-Dozier-Holland, after they sued Aerosmith because of it’s similarities to “Standing In The Shadows of Love”. Personally, I don’t see it, or hear it at all, except for a small similarity in the opening tempo chorus, but the rest of it isn’t even close. Did they sue the writers of “I’ll Be There”, because of a tiny tempo similarity in that song also? Everyone wants a seat on the bus….

Aerosmith received the 1990 MTV Award for Best Rock Video for the song, which was taped on location throughout The South. If you’re wondering who the dude with the long beard, and glasses is, the one in the wedding dress in the video, that’s John Kalodnar. The wedding dress get up, was originally for “Dude”, as a private joke because he almost always seems to wear white. John was (now retired) Chief Executive to David Geffen’s new (at the time) label Geffen Records. He might be better known through the industry as the man with the Midas touch, though.

The records, groups, and people he’s worked with went on to achieve phenomenal successes. He was Chief Executive in charge, and/or at least heavily involved in albums, from the likes of Cher, Santana, Journey, Heart, Iron Maiden, Ted Nugent, and the Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Sammy Hagar, and Whitesnake, among many others. He was also instrumental in getting songs onto the soundtracks of the movies Footloose, and Top Gun, and we all know the successes there, not to mention the success of television’s “RockStar INXS” competition, which also helped launch that group’s own resurgence. With Aerosmith’s phenomenal success in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s he decided to follow the guys back to Columbia in the 90s, to try and close out his career. And what a career it was! Continue reading Number 27 – What’s Goin’ On Over There? I’m a little Curious…

Number 26 – Where The Hell is That Key?

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   Talk with yourself and you’ll hear what you wanna’ know…
But when the voices start screaming, well… that’s a whole ‘nother story…

This might be a little more Aerosmith sacrilege. In fact, I’m sure it is to my fellow soldiers of The Blue Army, except maybe those who go deep. As much fun as this song is to see, and hear live, It’s not gonna’ make my Top 25. While it will undoubtedly makes most Aerosmith fans’ Top 20, and even some people’s Top 10

This song sits at 26 for me.

Maybe because of how many times I’ve heard the song, maybe because of its lack of depth. Maybe just because I like so many other deeper tracks of theirs… Yeah, let’s go with that… But make no mistake; I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG!

Although the song itself does not come across as sexual, as I said earlier, Steven’s whole focus of this album was pure sexual interpretation, recreation, satisfaction, and even perversion. With that said, where’s the connection in this song? Could it be Lillian Hellman’s play of 1960, and the movie of 1963 of the same name, with its incestuous story and plot lines, along with “touched” sensibilities?

To wonder what is real… What are dreams?… To struggle with… no, to fight with your own desires, and your own fear, of even having those desires. Maybe it’s best to not let them be seen. At least that’s what you might tell yourself, right? The innocence is lost. Can you get it back? What is the “key”? Where is the key? Is there a key? Or was the innocence only a dream?

It’s my thought that the guys had the name of the album before the song, I mean it was the B side of a single that Steven forgot was even theirs. My thoughts are that they needed a song to fit the title. I don’t think it was as deeply thought about as I describe it. But then, these are my interpretations, right?

Or maybe not, since the album was almost named something else entirely. Doesn’t matter really… All that matters is what this album means in Rock History, and the title track’s importance in that. I think there are just a few critiques, and quotes of the album of the same name, that are worth citing here. ‘Allmusic.com’ wrote, among other things, a pretty damn good review in my thought, even if it was way after the fact;
The rest of Aerosmith led by Perry’s dirty, exaggerated riffing, provide an appropriately greasy backing. Before “Toys”, no other hard rock band sounded like this. Sure, Aerosmith cribbed heavily from the records of ‘The Rolling Stones”, ‘New York Dolls’, and ‘Zeppelin’, but they didn’t have any of the menace of their influences, nor any of their mystique. Aerosmith was a gritty, street-wise hard rock band who played their blues as blooze and were in it for a good time; Toys in the Attic crystallizes that attitude.”

Then of course we have our ever unfaithful, and pathetically, even disturbingly wrong review from Rolling Stone Magazine. Almost as if there was some sort edict put out by the editor; anytime an Aero record came out, that by company policy, it must not be deemed good, even if it’s frickin’ awesome…
“… With their aggressive, ambisexual stance, reliance on bristling open chording and admitted mid-Sixties English rock roots, Aerosmith can be very good when they’re on, and material like “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion” and the title cut adequately proves this once you’re past the generally oppressive production. “Big Ten-Inch Record,” “Uncle Salty” and “You See Me Crying,” though, are poor choices, changes of pace which deny the band the use of their strongest asset — hardnosed, aggressive raunch.  If Aerosmith can avoid the sloppiness that’s plagued their recent live performances, if they return to the production that made parts of Get Your Wings so memorable, and most importantly, if they avoid tepid, trite material, then their potential is extremely high.”

Funny; If they can avoid being themselves, “their potential is extremely high”. Such a strange magazine….

The album only rose to number 11 on Billboard, hard to believe, right? Maybe too many people were putting their faith in the critics of Rolling Stone Magazine back in ‘75, rather than just listening to, maybe The Greatest American Rock Album of All Time…. Save “Rocks”.

I think these quotes below, tell us how “Rocks” and “Pump”, and “GAG” and the rest came to be, always getting better, never settling in a comfort zone. The 70’s were frickin’ awesome! But I’ll say this; if that’s all you heard, if that’s all you’re still listening too, you missed the point.

UltimateClassicRock.com wrote and quoted Steven with their reviews;
As far as Steven was concerned, whatever pressure the band might have been feeling was decidedly secondary to his growing belief that Aerosmith could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the greats. “I knew we’d made it,” he wrote in his book. “I was the kid who put my initials in the rock ’cause I wanted the aliens to know I was there. It’s a statement of longevity. The record will be played long after you’re dead. Our records would be up there in the attic, too, with the things that you loved and never wanted to forget. And to me, Aerosmith was becoming that. “This was the year it all changed for us,” Tyler later reflected in his memoir. “The album got good reviews and people started taking us more seriously — about f—ing time!”

Joe had a similar, and yet still different take on the success of the album as UltimateClassicRock.com gave his version;
Toys in the Attic‘s success wasn’t necessarily a sign that Aerosmith had made it; instead, he seemed to feel a responsibility to try harder than ever. “Often times I wonder if I’m doing it right. If I’m actually contributing. Are we doing something good, or are we just followers?” Perry told ‘Cream’. “I don’t know. We can go the ‘BTO’ route, be a really commercial band, do the road trip. But to satisfy my own artistic needs, I wonder if the things I write … maybe I’m not getting better on guitar. Maybe I’m no better than your average guitar player. But I’ll tell you — if I find out after a year or so more that I’m not improving, I’ll just quit touring and work on my cars.”

I think it’s safe to say he got better, and although there’s nothing wrong with working on cars, I’m glad he can now pay someone else to do it. I think we’re all better off for it.

The song is something like number 228 out of the top 500 rock songs of all time. It’s number 26 in this book.

It’s a very simple song. 3 minutes and 5 seconds of chaos. If “Uncle Salty” is an example of Steven slowing it down. This one is an example of Joe getting angry, going fasterlouder! It’s the chaos of not knowing. It’s the chaos of the indecisive wonder of reality. Its fast, its anxiety, its disturbing, its nervosas…

When I see the attached video, I even question myself, how can that NOT be in the Top 20? Hell! How can it NOT be in the Top 10? The reality is, its frickin’ awesome live, but then aren’t they all? If we see this live, which it’s almost guaranteed, my focus will be on Brad and Joe, just picking and sliding with frenzied fury! Fast and precise from beginning to end! It’s classic and very, very Aero!

Just about as Aero as it gets, right here! And let’s not short Joey’s frenetic, blistering, relentless beats… and of course Steven’s signature “eruption” of a water bottle, which seems to get the ladies off every time, and maybe even a few guys, I’m sure!

Before you go singing along with this one, be careful you don’t look to foolish… Typical Tyler, he loves to change the lyrics in the verses during the live version, just to watch the crowd stumble over themselves trying to sing along…

“Does the noise in my head bother you?”

In the attic lights
Voices scream
Nothing seen
Reals the dream…”

“Leavin’ the things that are real behind
Leavin’ the things that’cha love remind

All of the things that’choo learn from fears
Nothin’ is left but the years

Voices scream
Nothing seen
Real’s the dream…”

This is; “Toys in the Attic”

Number 25 – What do you do with the glass?

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The dictionary defines it as:
something large enough, no matter how small, to cause a noticeable result, a noticeable reaction.

This drops 11 spots, but for those of us that have been abducted, or just afflicted, with a chip under our skin, or a rock under the nose, this one is close.

I don’t have a lot to actually say about this song other than I Love, Love, Love this one! And no, you’ll never ever hear this one live. I’m sure I may very well be alone with that sentiment, and as I’ve said before, when a person creates a list such as this, it would be easy to move songs in, and out of their spots to appease the moment. To make things even harder to justify it though, it’s not easy when the whole band trashes the record. I get it… When you relate to something, from a very bad time in your life, it’s hard to find the good. However, I do like this one right where it’s at.

There are so many bad reviews of the album and song, that at the time this one came out, it was actually hard to just let it play without some kind of preconceived opinion. It was said, not only by the critics, but also members of the band later, that it was unfinished, it was not polished. I don’t know, maybe that’s part of the attraction. It has that original raw edge. They were looking to get back to their roots, that deep blues based type of rock and roll. Personally I think they achieved it, even if they were never in the same room at the same time. This song though, doesn’t quite fit into that mold.

Easy to see the opinions, and even admission, of a drug induced state in the creation of this record, ESPECIALLY, in this song. Joe only co-wrote one song on the whole record, partly due to his own discontent, and largely in part due to his inability to get off the floor. This is NOT that song. It’s been said that it’s about a bad dream that Jack had. Jack co-wrote every song on the record, and thank god for that, because without “The 6th Man in the Band”, I’m not sure the album would have ever got finished. Continue reading Number 25 – What do you do with the glass?

Number 24 – Misery Enjoys Company

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Oh Contraire Mi Amore’!!!

Most people I’ve talked to about this song just ain’t too fond of it, or even kind to it at all. As a matter of fact, besides my wife Mary, and myself, I would say that most of the people whose comments I’ve read and/or talked to about this song, would have a very distinct dislike for it.

The older Blue Army generation says it outright sucks compared to anything from Rocks. The middle generation says it’s not nearly as good as “Love in an Elevator”. The youngest generation… well, they probably have no real clue of what to compare it to. And to be honest, that’s probably a good thing… personally, I absolutely love this song!

The funny thing though, is that not unlike several other Aerosmith albums, I wasn’t fond of this album myself when it came out, and I’m sure I wasn’t too fond of this song either. But, as with most Aerosmith records, they tend to grow on ya’. The more you listen, the more you like. Mary, she liked it the first time she heard it.

Maybe I started liking it because I started relating to it. Maybe it’s just because I realized how really, really good it is. Maybe it’s because it has both Classic Aerosmith, and the sound of “fresh and new”, all wrapped around a very catchy melody, with very distinct meanings, great rhythm, great Joe Perry riffs, with Joey and Tom’s playing so very key in the tempo of the song, it’s almost as if they’re playing lead in this song. And just listen to those jangling guitars, and just… WOW!

Oh… and btw; Tower of Power was invited to the biggest band in world’s recording of this song for their horns, and then they complained later that they were drowned out by the guitars… Uhm… you guys… Aerosmith is a loud guitar band….
Just sayin’…

Is he talkin’ to Mia, is he talking to Taj, is it Chelsea he’s talking to, Liv, to Teresa, his band members, or who? I have no real clue. I know that the band is deep, but they don’t often go very deep, at least not in the way of politics, or lecturing some kind of stance. But perhaps that’s one of the most beautiful things about this band, if they are sending you a message at all; it’s up to the listener to determine what that message is.

So, could it be that it’s about the state of mind of Americans in general? Could it be that this song is sung from the perspective of the American government? Or, could it be just a little tiff between a husband and wife? Or a message to a child who is trying their best to stand on their own, and have their own ideas and opinions, which may be contrary to their father’s, not realizing where those contrary ideas came from to begin with? You choose. That last thought though for me, hits real close to home…

Although I can’t source this, I’ve read; “According to Steven, he wrote the song while thinking of his youngest daughter Chelsea, and how he missed much of her childhood because he was touring. He feels he jaded her and himself by not being available, due to band commitments or drug problems.

But then later, Marti does an interview with Boombox saying that it was HIS 1st “pop” hit, and also said;
“I don’t know what happened that day, but it all came to me and Steven in a few hours. We were at his house and I remember he was on the phone. Anyway, I started playing the main riff and singing the melody. I didn’t have the word ‘jaded’ yet — that was his thing. (songfacts.com)

My thoughts are that this is a generational song. Whether it be a parent to a child, or the government to the public, or an older generation to a younger one, it’s simply that people are usually Jaded by what has come before them.

I realize people sometimes live their lives vicariously through others. Whether their idols may be their kids or celebrities, many of us just can’t help but envy, or even just wonder what it would be like to live “A day in the Life”. I guess in a similar way, I’m not any exception. However, I’m not sure I would really enjoy that kind of a day as Steven Tyler all that much, maybe Joe….

I guess what I’m trying to say here is, as I’ve said before; Steven and I share so many commonalities just in personality alone, at least from what I’ve learned from afar. I can get a sense, a feel, for his everyday life. Or at least what it once was. I truly believe Steven has settled over his years, and finally become who he has always tried to be. He has always wanted to be both the Mega Super Star, and yet be his own child-like self, from his days before he was discovered. He has always wanted to be Steven Tyler, and yet he’s forever wanton for Steven Tallerico. It’s a Yin and Yang, that some of us battle everyday all on our own.

Albeit, I could never relate to the stardom part of it, I do share his desire, his need for attention, and yet at the very same time, just want everything to be non-descript. Steven has always written with his own sense of contraire, his own sense of “inside/out”. It’s often the case that I find myself in complete opposite opinions, or POV’s from the status quo, not for any desire to be contrary, but more so just because I am.

I often think about what it would be like to be so easy going. I think of how it would be so much easier to just “go along with it”. I imagine what it would be like, to NOT cause your own stress, to NOT create your own disposition. It’s not that I can’t be easy going, I actually can be, and I am pretty often, but it’s almost odd that it comes when others are stressed, and I’m stressed when others are not. The bible says Envy is one of the7 Deadly Sins. I wear that one! I don’t lie about it. I don’t envy people’s possessions; I envy others’ character, and even sometimes their lack of it.

It’s been my experience in life, that the most passionate and compassionate people, are also sometimes the most cynical. Is that because they feel on a deeper level? Or is it because they’re too foolish to know that nobody else gives a shit? Or can it be that when you’re so compassionate to one extreme, that you have to be hardened towards the other extreme? I sometimes envy those who don’t feel too much. When those types of people are let down by someone, or something, they don’t have as far to fall. The trick for me, and others I’m sure, is not to let my passion get in the way of my compassion. Balance…

The trend over the last 10 or 20 years in this country, is for people to say things like; “I don’t give a fuck what you think!”, and then in the same breath, they wonder; “What has happened to America?” Just take a look on social media sites, and you will see countless posts from people who are “Out of ‘Fucks” to give”. That’s cool, I get it… However, I think that a lack of humility towards one another leads to lack of humility as a society. Just thinking maybe we ought to start “giving a fuck” again, or maybe a few “fucks”. I think the world would be better off if we not only gave a good fuck more often, but also received one. That’s probably just me though, always contrary to what’s “hip”.

“Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new.”

-S.Tyler

Thinking maybe he should listen to what he says himself sometimes, but then maybe we all should…

The song was written by Steven, and Marti Fredericksen, who has quite the resume’, working with some of the biggest names in the business. The man can crossover very easily from Country to Rock to Pop without missing a beat, so to speak. Songwriter, Record Producer, and Musician. Known for working with artists such as; Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Ozzy, The Crue, which he co-wrote every song on the band’s ’08 album, he’s even worked with Faith Hill, and  many, many others. But he might be best known for his vocals as the Lead Singer (Voice) of the band “Stillwater” in the movie Almost Famous. And now he opens another chapter heading up, basically a session band out of Nashville, and stealing Steven away from his core fans for some side job. But who am I to judge? I’m probably just a bit “Jaded”…

Joe’s memories of writing and coming up with this Mega Hit song aren’t as rosy as Steven and Marti’s though. Frankly he was more than just a little miffed about it. Mostly he was upset with Steven for keeping him out of the process. Steven tells his own story of why Joe wasn’t present, but as Joe says; Steven’s truth, his story, is usually what fits him best. It’s that type of feeling that effected Joe’s belief in the whole JPP album. Steven went head first into writing with Mark and Marti, while Joe didn’t have much input. This is still a very large pill to swallow for Joe…

Funny how the song plays into that exact feeling. Maybe it is about what Steven feels he did to Chelsea, in not being there. But if you really listen, and know the back story of Steven and Marti, not just there deceit of Joe, but their communal relapses and partnerships, and who those relapses and partnerships affected, you can make an argument, that this song could very well be about Steven and the other members of the band, namely Joe. Again, just a point of view, no real substance to it, and even if there was, you’d never get an admission from any member of that being truth.

The video for the song is a trip. Really ‘artsy’, and really good! I can’t say; “I like it” enough! But even so, I’m not sure I get how it all relates with the lyrics of the song, but I like to think I do. At least as a whole, it does flow really well with the music. It was shot in the Lobby of the Los Angeles Theater, and as far as the video goes, and therefore the song, it tells a story of a young girl who no longer “feels” after losing touch with reality, but would like to “feel” again.

The video was nominated for an MTV video award, along side Limp Bizkit / Rollin’, Linkin Park / Crawling, Staind / It’s Been Awhile, and Weezer / Hash Pipe, losing out to “Rollin’”, however it did receive awards for “Best Hard Rock Clip of the Year” at the Billboard Music Video Awards, and Video of the Year at the Boston Music Awards. There are actually 2 different versions to the video, which have some subtle differences. Who knows, maybe MTV got confused? They’ve been confused ever since.

Absolutely one of those songs that I wish could just go on forever…well, at least another five minutes. This one is best played loud. Turn it up! Listen to Joe and Brad take you on a melancholy journey into the sense of “feeling”. They convey “sight”, “sound”, and even “touch” with Joe, so characteristically bending of chords to create sounds so unique. He and Brad both, take the listener from a sense of confusion, and bitterness to an aura of acceptable. The video, or should I say the Director, helps the listener, the viewer, experience sense of feeling in relation to the other 4 senses. He depicts a story of a girl, or anyone for that matter, who cannot seem to be stimulated beyond her own walls. She is constantly among visual stimulation, but still lacks simple feeling, until she finds a way out from the only thing she knows. And Steven, of course, delivers a whole ‘nother type of sound and experience, not only using his voice as the perfect tool to tell this story, but also as an instrument, to deliver vocal hooks within the melody, like no other.

““You’re thinkin’ so complicated
I’ve had it all up to here
But it’s so overrated
Love and hate it
Wouldn’t trade it
Love me Jaded… yeah… yeah…”

This is; “Jaded”

Number 23 – Slide On Over Baby,

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Slide on over Baby,
I got somethin’ to show ya’

Okay some more changes, to “this year’s” list. This song was only an honorable mention, but the more I hear it, and the more I can’t wait to hear it live, and see this man play it, it earns a well respected spot in the Top 25. So, that leaves me with another surprise to create… Hmmm… What will it be? I guess we’ll have to let it play out, and see where it goes.

And with this move, the universe is now on balance… The following song though, whether it be a top 20, or just outside of that honor, I’m sure its worthy of a top 10 selection somewhere in this world, especially JP fans, and of course the fans that truly understand what this song means.

As with most Aerosmith songs, there’s always a double entendre. So with this one it’s all on the time of history that it was written, that gives me the opinion of it that I have.

The song was taken off of Night in the Ruts. Being the album that Joe left the group in the middle of making, it never really had its time. However, being that Joe brought the riff in to use on the record, it was an “Aerosmith” song. The group decided to not use the whole song, as it really was 100% Joe Perry, but it was good enough to use a piece of it on a song that was all about “raunch” and sex and nasty… “Cheesecake”. Continue reading Number 23 – Slide On Over Baby,

Number 22- Like A Walk In The Park

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The more I listen, the more I like
The more I listen, the more I relate

Welcome Generation #3!!!

I sometimes wonder how professionals do it, day in day out. Always come up with something “fresh and new”… Me, I struggle everyday, and when Writer’s Block hits, it’s like a hangover you can’t get rid of. I have envy for writers, who do something different, and yet keep their fans, their audiences forever interested. That is exactly what this band does with my #22.

Last year’s #39, grows on me like an addiction. I absolutely love this song! It has the best of what Aerosmith does from start to finish. They take a song just above a ballad type tempo, and create a Rocker that flows like a mountain river after snowmelt. It’s crisp, it’s pure, it has rises and falls. It has sharp edges along its way, it crashes, but it flows continuously, never getting stuck.

Joe bends chords in this song, and creates sounds that are as effervescent as the mist of the water at the bottom of Vernal Falls. Steven has often discussed many of his literary influences, including Lewis Carroll, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise when he writes a song around one of the greatest stories ever written. Not so much so for the book’s importance, as much as it’s varied interpretation over the years by its readers, The time enduring classic story itself, along with its author, have been linked to one of the greatest imaginary feats in history. Although it is filled with life lessons, told in a way that is so desperately far away from any sort of dissertation or lecture. The author has also been perceived by many to have written the story while high on opium, or a sort of magical mushroom, or any other sort hallucinogen of his time. Proof of that though, has never been found. Is the proof in pudding, or cake if you will.

Lewis Carroll takes the reader on a little girl’s journey through a magical, and yet scary, and creepy place, where she “Leaves all the things that are real behind… Nothing’s seen, real’s the dream”. Each of the characters in the story play a vital role in the path the young girl takes. It’s full of promise, and joy, elation, and deceit and fear, and honor, and dishonesty. It’s in a sense, a story written about the paths people take in life, all brought into an imaginary tale of a “trip” one may not want to take at all. However the curiosity of what might be, leads the girl and the reader, through doors just to find out what’s on the other side. It’s in no sense a story, or lesson to NOT open the doors, only a lesson to open the door, feed your curiosity, but always understand, you may find something you were never looking for… both good and bad.

The song was written by Steven and Joe, with the help of Grammy winner Marti Fredericksen. Marti was involved on a few other hits on this album, as well as many others before this one came out. These guys really do some good stuff together. In my opinion, this one is one of their very best. It’s so interesting to me, how Steven and Joe tell these stories together. The music exemplifies the lyrics in every way. It takes you on the same journey the girl in Lewis Carroll’s story did, and therefore leads Steven down the same path. It was released in mid-2001 as a promo single, and they even had to cancel a gig in Irvine, so they could finish shooting the video.

When you hear the song, or see the video, you have to wonder if Johnny Depp, was the wrong guy to play The Hatter as Steven easily takes to the character “like a walk in the park”. With lyrics like; “I followed Alice into wonderland”,  “I ate the mushroom and I danced with the queen”, among others. The line; “She’s finer than a painted rose” makes you wonder how well Tyler knows his Disney movies, or at least used the Disney Classic as an added influence.

Director Samuel Bayer, who had worked on major videos by Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, Marilyn Manson and Garbage, to name a few, captured with absolute perfection, the song’s ethereal, and even mystical theme. To be honest, the video of the song, and the characters within, help with my opinion of the song. Even if I hear it on the CD, without any visual to accompany it, I picture what the director chose for me to perceive. He also chose a common perception of Lewis Carroll’s book. That being, perhaps an LSD type of “trip”, or at least the drug of the era, putting it in there for some to perceive it in the same way I did, given that the name of the song, is also a street name for LSD.

As Steven has always done so eloquently, the LSD reference may be only one meaning of two or three within the song. Aerosmith, is so very good at letting the listener interpret what the songs may mean, in the ways that are in the listener’s best interest. He relates to the original story of the lost little girl, by way of her own curiosity, temptation leading the way, into what seems like innocence, only to end up dancing with the Queen, and he keeps referring to what he’s looking for as a sort of “Sunshine”, a light, a delight, a pleasure, but with each verse, each step down the path, down the hole if you will, he finds as much conflict as he does the pleasure he’s seeking.

In the video, Bayer uses color saturation, high contrast and a sort of jerky type effect of characters, including Tyler shaking his head so violently, while Joe sits comfortably in a an old antique chair, within a creepy shack giving the viewer a sense of discomfort, to say the least. It’s creepy, even a bit scary for some kids I would say, but all the while it tempts you further.

In that true Aerosmith circular motion, it seems to bring you back to another meaning;  the double, or even triple entendres that Steven is vocalizing when he sings lyrics such as; “…the one that everybody knows”. He’s telling you; “maybe it’s not LSD”, rather the Sunshine that “everybody knows”. However, it’s entirely up to you how you want to perceive.

I’ve talked about Steven’s personality, and character traits of contradiction, of alteration, the art of living in a state of contrariety. We all listen to it, that style of writing in so many lyrics. We hear it when he does interviews, always giving two sides of almost every question he’s asked. This song in particular, tells that side of his personality. The song, as well as Lewis Carroll’s classic story, gives you an inside look at the world of “His World” of dissimilarity. It paints a picture of the idea of reality, not always being what one sees. And sometimes the fantasy may be even more true than reality…

In my very humble opinion, this song may be one of the very best pieces of work Aerosmith has ever done as a band. The lyrics are a story, the music, is the ride you’re on, while listening to the storyteller. It starts you off innocently, with sounds as familiar as a quiet forest, but a sense of caution and still troubling melodies quickly rise, then it brings you back to another almost quiet peace, but not at all. It rises and falls with comfort and discomfort, and all the while maintains the original path of desire and curiosity…

The song itself is brilliant! The video to go along with it makes it a work of art. I hope you enjoy #22, as much as I do.

“I followed daylight right into the dark
Took to the Hatter like a walk in the park
But then I met her yeah she felt so right
No child of the night yeah was she…”

This is; “Sunshine”

Aerosmith to perform Concert for Legends

Legendary Band to Take Stage in Canton on Eve of Enshrinement

The 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival will feature more legends than ever before. AEROSMITH, Rock’s greatest live act, will perform at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s first-ever Concert for Legends on Friday, August 7 at 8 p.m. ET. The concert will pay tribute to the legends of the Game on the eve of the Enshrinement for the Class of 2015. Continue reading Aerosmith to perform Concert for Legends

Number 21 – You Wanna Come With Me?

blind
Close Your Eyes, 
You’ll See…

When I started this book 100 days before the 2015 Tahoe Concert, I can think of a 100 things going at the time, and even over the course of the past few years, that helped this one climb up my list…

 I don’t expect this one to be much higher than 82 on anyone else’s list, but for me personally, it gives me a message,
and something that I continue to strive for
.

Whether it was Police violence, or a group of people using someone else’s valid plight against brutality, as their own excuse to loot and riot without a cause, it makes one question what’s really going on.

Or, whether it was a group of gun hungry banshees, rallying around a millionaire rancher against a very small group of government workers ordered to confiscate property by the District Supreme Court. Whether it be these same self titled “Militia”, who took up arms against Americans with families, and bullied their very young children in school, or whether it be about the seemingly new reprisal of racial tensions in the country, or the plight of the homeless in my hometown where police destroy their only habitat, because some don’t like them walking by their street to get to their tents along the bank of the river, all  because it invades their comfort zone, a lot has happened over the course of a few years time, that keep this one up on high for me.

I like to consider myself an excellent judge of character. I like to trust, rather than not. 9 times out of 10, I’m gonna’ offer someone my assistance, where others won’t. However, with that said, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been wrong many, many times… Still, I’m gonna’ give someone who I don’t know, the benefit of the doubt every single time, at least twice. I believe strongly in 2nd chances. I believe strongly in innocence. I believe strongly in learning a man’s story before casting judgment. I’m not saying I’m immune to judging. I’ll admit upfront we all do it every single day.

There’s a saying I use often that helps me justify my thoughts, or even actions in a way of disapproval, resulting in a negative opinion of others; “I’m not judging, I’m just forming a pretty damn good opinion based on the information your putting out there”’, and there’s the one I learned from my own kids; “hey, don’t judge me for judging”. The truth is, we all do it on a daily basis, whether we realize it or not. I think the key though, is to do exactly that; realize it. And then ask yourself; was that fair, what do you really know about these people?

We’ve all seen “The People of Wal-Mart” pictures and videos, and we’re all guilty of negative reactions to them, but how many of us stop and ask ourselves; “Does she have a thyroid issue?” “are those the only clothes he owns?” “Is she that big, because frankly the food that is good for her, is out of her budget?” Or any number of legitimate reasons for people’s plights?

I’m not trying to bleed your heart all over the floor here, just asking how much we really know about others’ conditions. I’m also not trying to say that maybe they didn’t necessarily  put themselves in these situations by making bad choices, but I’m asking for some to realize that we don’t all get the same decisions, same choices in life to make.

In this country alone, not to mention so many others, religion plays a role as in the Angels that we all need, but also plays the Devil’s hand with the hypocrisy many exude. So, I ask the question; how would the world look, if we could not see? How would we react to what some may look like, or even act like at times, if we weren’t capable of forming an opinion visually?

Truth is, we do have eyes, most of us anyway, so back to the choices people make… do we choose to judge without knowledge? Or do we choose to trust first? The reality is it’s usually somewhere in the middle, at least I hope so. However, if you’re still at one extreme or the other, you may want to ask a Blind Man about what he can help you perceive… He might just teach you something.

Then again, with all that said, let’s look at the simple idea, of just taking another look at who, and what you got in life. Instead of seeing what’s wrong with your relationships, try to take a look at what’s right in your relationship. This is another lesson I personally continue to learn on an almost everyday basis. For a man who tends to create a lot of his own issues and problems in life, it’s a really good idea, to look at your partner in life, and instead of asking what the hell is wrong, It’s sometimes a lot better to ask yourself; what the hell is right…  In my case, I’m damn glad she was blind to so many things, and eyes wide open to others…

The song was written in ’94 by Steven and Joe, and Taylor Rhodes, as a new track for another compilation album. And in my humble opinion, if I’m gonna’ listen to ballad, this might be at the top of my list on any given day. Obviously it was as low as 82 a few years back. It’s probably not a song you’ll ever hear live again, as it seems to have been retired from any potential set lists since the GAG tour.

Although we see this song as a message of looking for the good in people when they may not show it, it can easily be turned around, and give you the usually very hard lesson to learn in life, being that not all that looks rosy is rosy. Don’t be gullible; don’t be blind to those that would just assume see you fall. So again, we have Steven “The Master Contrarian”, in such an upbeat, and fun way, asking you to just take a look through a different pair of sunglasses.

Joey admits that video for the song directed by Callner is his least favorite overall, but I have to say, if you can get Pamela Anderson in for a cameo, it can’t be all bad, besides it does really look like at least Steven’s having a good time.

Some have said it has a lot do with being sober after such a long period of dependency, that Steven sees things, not before seen. I don’t know if it’s that simple. There’s another story floating around that the idea for the song came from a guy who had a really bad car accident. The guy’s vision was really bad shape, who happened to know a lawyer for Aerosmith, and because of his own troubles from the accident, he was able to help this lawyer who was going through some tough times of his own, and as a result of the lawyer coming out okay, the attorney gave Steven the idea for the lyrics. True or not, it makes for a good story.

Allmusic.com confuses me a bit in their review of the song, starting it off as not such a good review, but then giving 4 out five stars? “A let down after many great songs, “Blind Man” never really captures the mood it’s trying to get and seems like Aerosmith was trying to copy their success of “Amazing”. That being said, it ain’t too bad of a song and the lyrics; “Until I met a blind man, who taught me how to see”, always find a way to please my ears. 4/5

Indulge me in what might be your #82, as the ballad I’d rather hear over IDWMAT any day of the week….

“I took a course in Hallelujah 
I went to night school for de blues 
I took some stuff they said would cool ya… hea ha 
But nothing seemed to light my fuse 

But it’s all in the past 
Like a check that’s in the mail 
She was a tall whiskey glass 
I was an old hound dog 
That just loved to chase his tail…”

This is; “Blind Man”

Number 20 – I’m Really Not That Choosy…

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I won’t be choosy
long as I get a view of a bloozy

Still has enough heart to be in the Top 20.

Take me back to Bennett Valley (Santa Rosa, CA)… 1976 (like I said earlier, this was my discovery year).  My, soon to be Step Brother Ronnie, who lived in an apartment with his brother Kenny, down on Maher Dr., across Yulupa Dr. from where I lived with my dad (at the time), two of my sisters, and a brother, in the “Bennett Valley Apartments“. There are a few people who might remember these days, and maybe even my early obsession with the Boys from Boston. You know who you are…

Ronnie introduced me to a sound… a “feel”, that was so uniquely American, so Rock N Roll, so raw, so fresh… this wasn’t the delta sounds of CCR, or the now very commonly known, sounds of Southern Rock, or the British tribute to the blues sounds of Zeppelin, or the Stones, nor was it the beautiful harmonies, yet wimpy sounds of The Eagles, or the wholesome sounds of the Doobies. This was new! It had an edge! It was “real” in every sense of the word!

It was energy in sound! Only AC/DC at the time had the same consistent edge, but these guys had meaning, and more fluid talent, with the lyrical genius of a Jagger and Richards, and the audacious and unrestrained energy of The Who, yet as American as anyone could wish it to be. It was a blend of all of the above with a little bluegrass, and funk, and soul thrown all together to make a sound so very different. This was not the ‘gimmick rock” of the age. This was not Gary Glitterer, or David Bowie, this was not KISS in full make up, or the New York Dolls. This was; “In Your Face”, “Take it, or Fucking Leave it” Rock n Roll! This was Aerosmith!

I would visit Ronnie quite a bit in the summer before my 10th grade year at Montgomery High School, my 1st year in Santa Rosa. Once again without a clue, in my short life already, of who my friends were going to be, or where I would fit in, and once again needing to prove myself to new people that I not only didn’t know, but for the most part, didn’t give two shits about knowing either… at least not yet anyway. You move 11 times in 14 years, two states, and 6 cities, and be the new kid in town / school 5 times between your 1st year in Junior High and your 1st year in High School, you kinda’ learn to just go with the flow.

With teenage adrenaline, and hormones flowing, you can’t help but search for something that is relatable, identifiable. I didn’t go looking for this band, in fact they weren’t that frickin’ popular out here in the west. But These Guys… These Guys spoke to me! And Ronnie helped translate what they were saying. Lot’s of pot, good pot! Lot’s of beer and whiskey, and other things that I won’t get into, created a definition of understanding that was not just “Sex, Drugs, and Rock n Roll”… but it certainly was the first chapter of The Handbook of my life, with a full dose of those three, just for good measure.

This song is deep with me, not only because it’s one of my first 5 real discoveries of the band, but the relation to it was spot on. As I was saying earlier, a 14 year old kid, who not only needed some friends in another new town, but damn… a girlfriend would be cool too! Someone who had a bit of floozy, but who could also stand up… I also knew, even way back then, that I would not be an easy guy to be with. A very complicated boy, who could never define the differences between need, and desire, and want, and satisfaction, yet very simplistic in what appeals to him.

Something many, many girls would find out along the way… and something very few among them would be willing to understand.

It’s weird in a way… a desire to have love, but then, “leave me the fuck alone!” Someone who would be cool enough to be happy with “what is”, rather than want something “that isn’t”. Unknown to me at the time, but then again… absolutely known, I was gonna’ lead a new life from these years forward.

No more silver spoons, only “sporks”. No more nice dishes, just paper plates, or the dishes someone was getting rid of because they were broken or chipped, and nothing matched. No more new clothes, no more new shoes, no more dental check ups, no more doctor’s appointments. There wasn’t gonna be any car daddy would buy. Hell, there wasn’t even any bread that daddy bought. Picked up on one side of the tracks, and dropped off on the other, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if I found a girl of the same background.

In a matter of months, I would find out what it truly means to be alone. Alone at 15 years old… It would be cool to meet some friends made of the same “steel” too, and a woman who could handle the road I would follow. It would take another 15 years to know her, and maybe another 15 years after that to realize I had already found her.

This song was supposed to be a hit in ’73. It was put out, as the B side single, opposite of “Dream On”. Who knew? Written by Tyler, and Steven Emsack, who was a friend of Tyler’s back in his days with William Proud, also one of Aerosmith’s 1st roadies.

John Mellencamp’s “I Need a Lover” is kind of written in the same vain as this one. Maybe that’s why I liked that one so much also. Such an upbeat song, the song is sung from someone who is so alone, yet not at all lonely. He knows who, and what he wants, but not in the sense of wanting too much.

One of my first favorites! That early backbeat Aerosmith rhythm with dueling guitars, and a raspy personal voice. A voice that sings WITH the guitar, on the guitar.

Wiki says ; “they haven’t played this song since 1988, but that’s not true, it was played on the “Get A Grip Tour” in 1993-1995. But I also know they played 102 different songs on that tour, and it was by far the best concert I’ve ever seen in my life! Although I did get to see a few of my other Top 20 favorite songs during that tour, along with the first known live performance of “Stop Messin’ Round”, but alas, I didn’t hear this.

Brad, when interviewed by rockcellarmagazine.com for the “Rock For The Rising Sun Tour” was asked; Which songs from their early career he would like to play? His answer;
“Yeah, there’s some. We talk about those kinds of things, but we still haven’t pulled them out of the freezer yet (laughing). We play the song “Somebody” from our first album. We always do it in rehearsal and it just kicks ass! But it never makes it to the stage. I think we’ll continue to pull out more obscure songs because it’s a lot of fun to play them. But a lot of times it’s difficult because you go; ‘Oh my god, I haven’t played that one in awhile, how does that one go? (laughing)…”

I hope they remember how this one goes. My life just may be complete if I see this one live before I leave this earth… (As if there’s another earth?)

If you’re an old soldier of The Blue Army, if you are of the ilk of Blue Army, whether you are 63, or 24, this one starts my Top 20. This is the boys from New Hampsha’! This is the boys from 1325! This is Nipmuc High School! This is the band and the beginnings, the infancy of the greatest rock n roll band in history!

I sure hope you like this one…

Enjoy the studio version, really is the best anyway.

“Good Lord send me… good Lord mend me
Send me down someone for me
Said I won’t be choosy, you could send me a floozy
Send me anybody ya please…”

This is; “Somebody”

Number 19 – Just try and Chill…

Pump-cover

The song is close to the vest for me, for many reasons…

Besides the cool laid-back melodies that ultimately explode into raw aggression, with that so very Aero sound, it’s also a tool that I’ve tried to use within times of my life, in order to not fall to far.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t fall pretty fucking far and hard anyway…

This is the part of the list, where many may not agree, but there are always reasons for people’s favorites. Mine vary from reasons such as just plain loving a song with its perfect melodies and lyrics, to having a bearing on my life.

Utimateclassicrock.com, along with others that don’t necessarily need to be named right now, actually didn’t have too many kind things to say about the album, and even less about this particular song. In fact, out of the 10 songs ranked on the album, the afore-mentioned Classic Rock website ranks it the 2nd worst on the entire album. Whatever guys…. Personally, I guess I’m just a sucker for life lessons, catchy riffs, and awesome harmonica. Maybe not so much life lessons “to be” learned, as much as life lessons learned in parallel…

1989 was a good year for the boys from Lake Sunapee. Not that we should ever look at rock n roll as competition, but it just is by its nature, an adrenaline filled, hormone driving competition.

At the time, groups like Motley Crue and Poison were doing their best, to be the best. But wait a minute! These old dudes from Boston said; “Just watch and learn boys”… And of course the awards were there to back it up. They came out with their 2nd best selling album of their careers, and the best album of the year. So, I’m never quite sure what “some” of these so called “critics” expect or are looking for with this band.

For me though, the song I’m introducing here really started to hit me in the early to mid 90s. So much was going on at the time. America was coming out of its own “In Excess is Best” personality. In excess of everything, whether it was hair mousse or pastel Madonna style scarves, and bootie socks, or the guys with multiple polo shirts and skinny leather ties. Everything in the 80s was over the top, cars, drugs, everything! Catch an Episode of Miami Vice and you’ll surely get my point.

However in the 90s, it was all about trying to hold onto whatever you had, and there always seemed to be someone waiting to shoot you down. In work, in school, in society in general, everyone was looking for the crack in the armor to squeeze through, and if that meant taking some one else down in their pursuit of another ladder rung, so be it. This is where the phrase “Yuppies” really started to take off.  The phrase started in the 80s, but blossomed into what it really was in the early 90s.

But this album would prove to be way more than just the innuendos, and yes they are certainly there… Perhaps bigger, and more direct than ever… But the lyrics in this album along with new sounds, which were a lot less “poppy” than Vacation was (Thank you Joe!!!), this album brought back the “rawness“, the edge that is Aerosmith. It’s amazing what coming clean can do, and it’s amazing what Joe does when he is allowed to just play.

Rolling Stone wrote; “Aerosmith is still the reigning king of the hard-rock double entendre…”

The 90s were full of people who were just in it for the quick buck. Not a lot of substance, it was more about seizing opportunities than it was about being qualified. We saw this in Corporate America everywhere, we saw it in the housing boom of the later 90s, everywhere you turned John was trying to get one over on Jack. It was easy to get mad at people at the time. It was easy to have a little animosity towards some who slithered their way ahead. The trouble was, also during the same time period, things like digital paper trails were forming. This was the beginning of the phrase “Politically Correct”, saying things that were socially acceptable, rather than saying what you really felt, saying something that would not, or could not be held against you later, because someone has a copy of it somewhere, or even more slithery, a “screenshot”

Funny too, here we are in 2016, in the middle of maybe the most disturbing Presidential Race in the history of our country, and the Frontrunner is campaigning on the fact that he is not “Politically Correct”, but is as much a snake as anyone can ever be, threatening lawsuits left and right, because someone said something, and there’s a digital copy of it somewhere…

But I digress; The 90’s were a time when people regularly tripped over their own tongues, only to be recorded in a conference room. And sometimes that trip turned into quite the fall. It was a time when Paparazzi was really becoming more than just the National Enquirer. People would pay to see you fail!

When I first started relating to this song, there was a tremendous amount of turmoil in my own life. Lot’s of backstabbing, not only corporate wise, but also within family. To make matters even worse, there was “Family Corporate” backstabbing… my own family kicking me off the corporate ladder, just to appease. There was family hierarchy backstabbing, just to claim favor. There was financial and real estate conniving behind closed doors, just for sole purpose of accumulating dollars that were earned by others.

In a quote out of Wiki, the kid gets it;
“Pump changed my life,” said Justin Hawkins of The Darkness“I’d been listening to bands like The Cult and The Mission and then discovered this album that was about “fucking” from beginning to end… It just blew me away.

And this song is about “Getting Fucked” and how to deal…

It was a very difficult time for some of us to not get angry. In fact many of us did, on a fairly regular basis. It’s my opinion that the 90s gave birth to the “I don’t give a fuck!” attitude that we have in America today. All the back stabbing and ladder climbing had a profound effect on the personality of this society of ours.

Joseph Kennedy is often credited with the phrase, in reference to politics; ‘Don’t waste your time getting mad, get elected, and then get even”. His point was to wait until the time is right, and then exact your revenge in a political way. Is it about getting revenge, or killing them with kindness? “Get Even”, like in balance, or doing damage in return? You tell me. Personally, I think it’s about finding an “even keel”, not that I ever refrained from revenge in my life. At times, especially back then, it was probably a driving force, more often than not. 

This where I get my interpretation of this song. Although Steven writes lyrics about ‘kicking ass’, I think the song is more about finding yourself a better way to deal. He writes about the snakes in society who will “roll you for a dime”, and he sings about how one’s indiscretions will come back on them, whether it be your own, or someone you trust. He’s telling you to be wary of sharks everywhere, and if you put down your guard, you’ll get jumped. But what do you do with that anger? “You got to be discreet”, or you’ll be tossed.

So, when you get angry, just try to get yourself to “even”, to “balance”, and karma will take care of the rest. This is a lesson in life, that I have truly tried to learn, but I’m still such a novice at it. I still have a lot trouble with it, and I’ve been schooled for years. When you’re someone who often speaks without much of a filter, you can often find yourself with your feet in concrete. However, I won’t sleep with the dogs, for fear of catching their fleas.

Sure, it’s relatable to a couple who cheats on each other, and for all I know, that’s probably the original message. In fact I’m sure it is. But for me, the girlfriend is those who you thought you could trust in life, lifting their skirts to get ahead, and if you end up on the street, or in the alley, well that’s just part of doing business for them.

I’ve heard this song described as “Swamp Blues”; maybe that’s a really good description of it. Maybe it’s even better described as “Aerosmith Original Raw Blooze”. This song takes me back to the 1st album. It takes me back to OWS and Movin’ Out, and maybe that’s a big reason why it makes my Top 20. Either way, the Tylerisms flow through this like water through a sieve. Joe’s twang and slicing riffs in this song cross from Bluegrass, to Funk, to Blues all in one song, for that so uniquely “Perry-esque” brand of Rock N Roll! Many try to copy, but there’s only one Joe “Fucking” Perry!

The hardest thing about going to an Aerosmith concert is, watching two Super Stars at the exact same time…

Joe says that;
“When we went to do this album, we knew what we wanted, we wanted to strip off a little fat we felt on our last one. We didn’t say ‘We need a drug song or a child abuse song,’ but when they fit, we used them. That’s Aerosmith: we aren’t bound by any rules.” 

Also from Wiki; that lack of rules lead to the instrumental interludes between the songs. The interludes were done with the collaboration of musician Randy Raine-Reusch, who was brought to the studio after Perry and Tyler visited his house to search for unusual instruments to employ.

On this song you’ll hear Randy’s “didgeridoo”… Okay everyone sing along this one’s fun!

“Ahh roll the dice get lucky, 
‘Cause they you for a dime…
You got nothing left to lose,
If ya only lose your mind…”

When pleasure that is shallow,
Gives you trouble that is deep,
You been dusted with the devil,
While he sweeps you off your feet…”

This is “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even”