He wanted to be a marine biologist, like his hero Jacques Cousteau, but got sidetracked playing guitar. That was good for us, and it didn’t turn out too bad for Joe Perry either. At this point, it’s been 40-plus years of kick-ass music with “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band,” as Aerosmith has been called, and with his occasional forays down the solo path.
How can you quantify the impact Perry has had on the rock guitar world? Aerosmith has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide – more than 70 million in the U.S. alone. Is there anyone out there who hasn’t heard or learned to play Joe’s iconic riff in “Walk This Way” yet? Well, maybe Kanye West’s fans, but not too many others.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer made the rounds recently to promote his new autobiography, “Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith,” which surprises with its honesty, and its insight into the mind of both the young Joe Perry – the potential scientist – and the Joe Perry of today – the family man who has somewhat quietly been married to the same pretty girl for 30 years.
Oh, and of course there’s all the classic stories about the making of some of rock’s most revered albums, and the open discussion about the decades of craziness that have been his life on tour as one-half of the “Toxic Twins,” as he and partner-in-crime Steven Tyler were often referred. Certainly there’s no shortage of sex and drugs to go with the rock and roll in Perry’s excellent memoir.
When his publicist contacted me to set up the interview, I was told I had 20 minutes, and was given a list of “talking points,” all of which centered around a section of the book. But when Perry called at the end of what had already been a long day of interviews, he sounded relaxed, and when the conversation turned to guitars, he was in no hurry to end the call.
In our hour-plus conversation we talked about everything from how his bandmates responded to his book, to his early love of the water, to his relationships with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. But Joe really opened up when the discussion turned to effects pedals – he loves to check out new pedals and is on an endless search – and guitars new and old, including plenty of boutique dealers and lesser-known brands that are among his favorites.
And when we hit on amps and mics and live sound and recording techniques, Perry was eager to share, full of details, and seemed to really be in his element. Here’s how our conversation went: Continue reading Joe Perry Interview: Aerosmith Guitarist Talks Guitars, Gear & More