Guitarist on why he felt compelled to smash his guitar at the end of Tuesday’s all-star Roxy gig in celebration of ‘Sweetzerland Manifesto’
Aerosmith’s Joe Perry knows something about getting lost in the moment. It happened for the latest time during the final seconds of his show this week celebrating the release of a new solo album at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, where guitarists Perry, Slash, Johnny Depp and Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots were raging through a supercharged “Train Kept A-Rollin’,” a song at the core of Perry’s musical life ever since he first heard the Yardbirds’ version as a teenager.
Perry smashed his guitar onstage. “It was a really a nice guitar, and the guy who made it for me was in the front row,” Perry says. “That’s why I’m feeling bad about it. It was not anything I planned. It was just that the energy was overwhelming.”
It was a ferocious finish to a two-hour performance of hard rock and muscular blues ahead of Friday’s release of Sweetzerland Manifesto, which features an all-star cast of singers including Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, the New York Dolls’ David Johansen and U.K. veteran Terry Reid. Making the album was a long-term project, beginning with a recording of Sixties pop hit “Eve of Destruction” in 2012, but picked up steam last year. It was recorded at Depp’s home studio in the Hollywood Hills.
Joe Perry assembled an all-star band to perform alongside him at the sold-out record release show for his new Sweetzerland Manifesto album last night (Jan. 16) at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. The guitarist, co-founding member, principal songwriter and co-producer of Aerosmith was joined by album collaborators Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), David Johansen (New York Dolls) and Terry Reid (solo artist/vocals).
Also performing were Slash, Johnny Depp (the Hollywood Vampires), Gary Cherone (Extreme/Van Halen), Chris Robinson, Dean and Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots), Buck Johnson (keyboards/vocals/Aerosmith) and David Goodstein (drums).
Sweetzerland Manifesto is being released on his own Roman Records imprint, this Friday, Jan. 19. It marks Perry‘s sixth solo album and is comprised of 10 new tracks, all but one written or co-written by Perry with many with the album’s guest vocalists. (The sole exception is a cover of “Eve Of Destruction” with Perry on lead vocals and Johnny Depp on drums.)
It’s easy to dismiss “all-star” jams (and albums for that matter) as egocentric posturing, but Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry’s new star-packed solo album, Sweetzerland Manifesto (out tomorrow), thankfully, ain’t that. The 10-track album, executive produced by Johnny Depp, features some iconic frontmen on guest vocals, including Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, The New York Dolls’ David Johansen and almost/could’ve been Led Zep crooner Terry Reid, alongside drummer David Goodstein and Perry’s sons Tony and Roman (who co-wrote material as well).
Q: Earlier, you referenced being at the point of your career where you’re touring because you want to. Last year, you were touring with Hollywood Vampires. This year, you’ve got a pretty condensed schedule of solo shows. You’re keeping yourself pretty busy — at least to the point where Joe Perry couldn’t keep up with you last year.
A: Yeah, that was one thing I miscalculated on. Robert DeLeo plays with Stone Temple Pilots, and they’re on kind of the same schedule we are, where you play four to five shows a week. Generally four, but a lot of times five shows a week. And you get in better shape as you go along. It’s aerobic, and nobody’s a druggie and nobody’s a drinker — they might have a couple beers or something like that, but nobody’s got an alcohol problem. So you actually get in better shape as you move along. I didn’t realize with Joe that we had just done eight shows in nine days. And he was not in shape. He was not ready for it. Johnny [Depp] was in great shape, I was in great shape, everybody up there onstage felt pretty good. And I looked over and I realized that, physically, Joe was just not in good shape. I felt bad after that. I talked to Steven [Tyler], I said, ‘Steven, I didn’t realize you guys do two shows a week!’ We talked about it. And the next time I saw Joe, he was in perfect condition. I never saw him in better shape. And he finished out the tour with us. Five days later, he was back onstage and finished out the tour, and I never heard him play so good, and I never saw him look so good. Whatever he did with the doctor, the doctor got him healthy.
Aerosmith legend Joe Perry was bestowed with the Les Paul Award at the recent NAMM TEC Awards in Anaheim, Calif., and Loudwire was given the privilege of sitting down with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist just prior to him receiving the honor. In addition to speaking about the award itself, Perry talked with us about Aerosmith’s ‘Aero-Vederci Baby!’ trek, his take on farewell tours in general, the band’s recording plans and the future of his all-star group the Hollywood Vampires. Check out our chat with Joe Perry below: Continue reading Joe Perry on Receiving the NAMM TEC Les Paul Award, Aerosmith’s Touring Plans
Musician Joe Perry, left, Dave Berryman, President of Gibson Guitar, center, and Peter Leinheiser, Senior Director of GIbson Entertainment Relations. (Matt Sayles/AP Images for Gibson Brands)
Imagine you start a little mom and pop business that grows into a billion-dollar business. That is, of course, the dream. Anything we undertake we want to be successful. But there are sacrifices that come with that success; among them, being much more heavily scrutinized and it’s much harder to be spontaneous as you have more people to answer to.
So of course you are thankful for the success, but every once in a while you dream of what it would be like to start over with a new venture, give yourself a new challenge, one with more freedom. That is kind of the position Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry nicely finds himself in as he explained when I met with him at the NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, California.
Aerosmith, which started as a garage band in Boston in the early ‘70s. has gone on to be the bestselling American rock band of all time, with over 150 million albums sold worldwide and over 70 million just in the U.S. So as he understandably says, “Without a doubt, Aerosmith is a big machine.”