Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.’s version of “Walk This Way” blew open the world of crossover collaborations. The song is still held as the gold standard of experiments in music, but it almost didn’t happen. Continue reading DMC: The Real Story of Aerosmith + Run D.M.C.’s ‘Walk This Way’
How Jeff Beck, James Brown, Boston’s Combat Zone, and Young Frankenstein figure in the rock classic.
On August 28, 1975, Aerosmith released “Walk This Way” as a single from their landmark album Toys in the Attic, and we’ve all been rocking this way and that to it ever since.
The sudden, staccato, hard funk percussion that kicks off “Walk This Way” is one of the most distinctive, immediately recognizable, and instantly intoxicating intros in all of rock. Ignited first by Joey Kramer’s pop-and-sizzle two measure drum beat, Aerosmith axe master Joe Perry then spearheads rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton with a riff like that, right off, announces “Walk This Way” as one-of-a-kind.
From there, lip-flapping front-dervish Steven Tyler bursts through with a motor-mouthed onslaught of too many lyrics to fit in any one song that, with mesmerizing machine gun relentlessness, he manages to make it all seem inevitable—and electrifyingly so.
Read on VH1
June 13, 2015 America’s greatest band started their Blue Army Tour. Here are some photos and videos from the show. Continue reading Aerosmith rocks Glendale, AZ
The funky, filthy classic that brought us “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion” and uh, “Big Ten Inch” turns 40
And they made classic albums, including 1989’s all-killer-no-filler Pump, and the unassailable mid-’70s one-two of Toys in the Attic and Rocks, which combined the Stones’ tight-grooving strut with the New York Dolls’ outlandish, pre-punk appetite for shameless indulgence. Both enjoy critical adulation to this day, but the former also spawned major hit singles in the aforementioned “Walk This Way” and the psychedelic blissout “Sweet Emotion.” It also gave Cheap Trick a run for their money with the power-pop nugget “No More No More,” and did the same for Elton John with closing ballad “You See Me Crying.” Smack dab in the middle was “Big Ten Inch Record,” a swinging, dirty blues by Bull Moose Jackson that these riff-fisting sleazeballs made their own.
Toys in the Attic just turned 40, and while the five-piece aren’t retired yet (Tyler recently announced his solo debut and first-ever country effort will arrive later this year), all of the band members save for Tyler spoke to SPIN over the phone about what it was like crafting their first blockbuster album and some of their most enduring tunes.
Continue reading Aerosmith Tell the Story Behind Their Hard-Rock Masterpiece ‘Toys in the Attic’
ParT – I
It’s a chapter out of the handbook,
I didn’t even know I was reading…
I’m thinking some of you may be just a little surprised at this one’s position in the book. No disrespect to it, it could be higher on any given day. And depending on my mood at the time, it could be even lower.
Actually, I give this song immense respect! I mean. without it, there would be no “Dream On”… Yep, the success of this record, and song, gave Leber & Krebs, and Columbia Records the idea to re-release the first album, only the second time it would be known as “Aerosmith – Featuring ‘Dream On’”, rather than just “Aerosmith”, and of course no more little picture, make the picture of the band on that record, the whole cover.
Back to this song though… This song not only made these guys who they were, but also later, it would make them who they are… again, for the 1st time to many.
The year was 1975, and the guys were coming off the road absolutely ready to record, full of creativity. Joe, Tom, Brad, and Joey, all came into the studio with licks, and riffs ready to go. Their work ethic during this album may have been at the band’s peak. Obviously, the eventual success showed that in spades. I didn’t mention Steven being ready, not to slight him at all, it was just the way he / they worked.
Steven was always last. He often got inspiration from just listening to what the guys already had, but he also got inspiration from a multitude of other sources. Jack and Steven would often just trip on down 44th Street, down Broadway, then 42nd and 8th… You know, “Hell’s Kitchen”, just to talk with the street dudes and the hookers. They did this often, for more than a few reasons.
Some of which, I leave alone, some of which are worth a read;
Number 1; They liked the people of the community they were in, but more than that, it was Steven’s focus for the album, remember? He wanted to hear words that are only used on the street. The fact is Joe had some awesome riffs he pulled from his funk influences such as The Meters and James Brown. Joe wanted his own “funky” song, so they wouldn’t have to play those covers, (which is why they often used to start this song in concert with James Brown’s ‘Mother Popcorn’) but Steven couldn’t come up with anything to write, hence the walk into, and around Hell’s Kitchen.
The rest of the band was getting pretty frustrated once again with Steven’s lack of material, so they just let Steven be, to try and figure it out on his own, after 4 nights working together with nothing come from those efforts. Believe it or not, they were ready to just scrap the whole concept of the song that Joe came up with the licks for. The guys said; “Fuck it, let’s go to the movies”, and went and saw Young Frankenstein… Yep, it was Marty Feldman, as Igor (not Egor), telling Gene Wilder how to walk; “Not that way! Walk this way”… The title of the song was born, even without any lyrics yet. But I guess that’s the inspiration Steven needed.
Look back to “Walkin’ The Dog”. Remember Steven wasn’t at the movie. When he heard Joe and Joey say the song’s title was going to be “Walk This Way”, something else came to Steven’s mind. But even then, it wasn’t that easy…
Steven goes back to his hotel room, and over the next 24 hours he wrote the lyrics (At least that’s his story). He actually had a notebook this time too. Proud as Fuck, he catches a cab to the studio, to show everyone what he’s got. Jumped out of the cab, paid the dude, ran upstairs, “Hey Mother F’rs look what I got!!!”… “Hey wait… where’s my notebook?” Everyone called him a liar. And of course the fighting commenced.
A lot of ‘FUCK YOUs’ back and forth, and Steven leaves all pissed off, takes the elevator up to the 6th floor stairwell, and just starts singing his lungs out…. Nope, bad sound, he goes down 2 flights, sits in the stairwell, and finds the right sound, grabs his notebook… “Oh Yeah! No Fuckin’ notebook!”… He starts writing on the wall…. Remembering what the hookers were saying, what the dudes on the street were saying…
So, yeah… “Back stroke lover” was the kid playing with himself, and his daddy caught him, and told him “you ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you’re down a muffin”
And then it gets into some of his own thoughts of having chicks dress up for his fantasies. And then we truly experience the birth of Steven Tyler’s genius with lyrics and the incorporation of sexual innuendo and double entendres, The song is a smorgasbord of all that will be from this day forward…
“I met a Cheerleader…”
A song was born! A song that would sky rocket 3 careers. An absolutely amazing song! A song, that because of its acronyms, would get play on both AM and FM. A song that teenagers could sing along to, with parents in the car.
Now personally, I think the first few years I heard this song, I didn’t get it at all. It wasn’t until 1976-77, when I moved to Santa Rosa, and spent some time with my soon to be Step Brothers Kenny, and Ronnie. I never got to know them real well, don’t know them now, and probably never will. Not sure why, maybe I was too young, maybe I wasn’t cool enough, maybe… who cares? But the time I did spend with them, I really enjoyed. I have to say though, the best thing I got from these two, was music like I’ve never heard before.
Kenny introduced me to his band “Slipstream” and I fell in love with their cover of Marshall Tucker Band’s ‘Can’t Ya’ See’. Still one of my All-Time favorites! But Ronnie!!! Ronnie turned me on to Aerosmith. And not with this song or album, it was with songs I’d never heard before, so as we move through this list, you will hear what captivated me for a lifetime. And with that captivation came more records, more songs. I would listen to Ronnie sing, I would learn the lyrics to the best things I’d never heard before. When I read the lyrics from the songbooks sold at Stanroy’s Music in downtown Santa Rosa, and listened to Ronnie sing this song, I was floored. “WOW!… I FUCKIN’ GET IT!” I learned what it was about. It was more than just a song, more than just an album, it was a lifestyle. It was a fucking manual! A FUCKING HANDBOOK! The first few chapters of the handbook I would keep and use my entire life…
The video below will show you a band of 5 guys being the best there is on the planet! It will show you the most recognizable opening drum beat ever! It will show you two of the coolest guys on the planet, doing what they do better than anyone else on the fucking planet, one with a riff as maybe the most recognizable funky rock n roll jam of all time. Not just playing the riff, but feeling it, and in turn translating that feeling to the audience. The other reciting, one of the best lyrical proofs of genius in rock ‘n roll history! Also one of the most recognizable set of lyrics in the whole world. He’s not just singing a song, he’s showing you a story. Go ahead, watch the video, but do yourself a favor and turn it up, feel it, live it!
For now, at least on this intro, I’m gonna’ close, but I will offer this to anyone who might be interested, to scroll at your own risk past this video for a story of my own experiences, and relationship with this song. However, it is a “[MA] L.S.N.” version, so at this point, you can click on the link and enjoy the video, or you can scroll down. I just ask that you reserve judgment of nothing more than a boy at the time. It’s a chapter out of the handbook, that’s all… The handbook that I would read and follow for a long time to cum…
Until then; “Oh the times I could reminisce…”
Let your fingers do the walking…
This is; “Walk This Way”!
Oh The Times I Could Reminisce
There are so many songs in life that we all relate to, at one time or another, or from one reason or another. Whether it be “Freebird”, or “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”, or “Faithfully”, or “American Pie”, or countless others. But have you ever asked the question… Have you ever thought that maybe somebody else wrote the story to your whole life, or at least a big part of it?
This song has meaning, both good and bad, both pride and shame. But none the less, it’s a chapter. It’s a part of 3 or 4 or 5 years out of my life. It was a manual that I didn’t even know I was reading. It was my handbook, chapter… ?
“Back-stroken lover always hidin’ ‘neath the covers” –
When we enter the years of puberty, and adolescence, things happen to us. Foreign things, beautiful things, wonderful things, confusing things, nasty things, dirty things, kinky things, guilty things, fun things, things that make us feel good. It’s a time when even baseball takes a backseat, but I have to say I wasn’t much of a fan of “The Backstroke” back then. However, a pamphlet on how to deal with what was happening would have been nice….
“’Til I talked to your daddy he said”–
I can remember, clear as day, a drive with my dad. I might’ve been 11 or 12 at the most. We were talking about girls in school who were writing my name inside a heart, graffiti style on the walls; “Mike + K.G.”. I can remember asking him what I should do, not knowing who “K, G.”. was at the time. I remember hoping it was Kelly Garcia, although later finding out I was so far off with that guess. Anyway, I can’t remember any real advice he gave me for the graffiti at Hill Jr. High, but I do remember the advice he gave me to use at a later date. My dad, was never much of a role model. Not to me at least, but I can remember this piece of advice seemed to mean something worth listening to.
He started talking about the kind of vehicle I might drive when I get older. He told me; “Whatever you do Mike, whether in a pickup truck or a Nova, you should absolutely get a stick shift on the floor, with bench seats”. He told me; “That way when your girl sits next to you when you’re driving, after you’re done shifting, your hand drops right to where it should be, the best place you will ever want it to be.”
Although I was pretty young when he told me that, and I truly didn’t understand at the time what was so important, I had seen enough of his private stash of Playboy magazines to know what he was talking about. And I must admit, my 1st girlfriend, Stormy and I had already attempted, at only 9 and 10 years old, to see how the puzzle pieces of boys and girls bodies might fit together. Yeah, even at the tender age of 9 and 10, down by the creek at the openings of the municipal water pipes of our still new subdivision in Novato, Stormy and I were already trying to play with the kitty in the middle. Truth be told though, it just doesn’t work for kids that young, and nor should it… However, unlike many who will immediately look at these acts as if they were sick, or twisted, I’ll tell you right now it wasn’t. It was just two very young people, who’s souls, through time, were sexual, not at all criminal, or like so many of the Christian Right like to say; “deviant”. Nope, not all, this was pure innocence, with a complete lack of understanding of who they were born to be.
Like I said; I didn’t “get it” (yet), but I can distinctly remember having the conscience of mind, to put my dad’s piece of advice in my back pocket. I truly knew at that moment, that I might use it someday.
‘He said you ain’t seen nothin’ ’til you’re down on a muffin”-
The 2nd time I saw a girl in full bloom, was my 1st summer in SOCO… and oh what a summer it was! I think I was 13, maybe 14 years old. Still a young man whose banana was still green, if you know what I mean? I met a group of 3 sisters, who had a mud hut hot house to sauna in. Smoke a little, toke a little, and take a sauna. Only one of the sisters was halfway cute, but when you’re that young /old and surrounded by young sweaty naked girls and young women… well let’s just say it’s hard to hide your appreciation for what you see.
Then there was also a girl I met named Roberta “Bird” Antonio (last name changed to protect the innocent), and her friend Marcy, who later became the wife of Tommy Smothers, which is a strange story in itself, because she’s my age, and Tommy Smothers was already about 92 already in 1976. Anyway… we would ride horses up onto Tommy’s ranch in Kenwood, CA and skinny dip in his pool, and stroll through his crop of pot plants… But the point I’m getting at is, I am finally “seeing” the muffin and truly knowing the desires of which the female body stirs in a young boy… And maybe even more than my fair share…
“Then you’re sure to be a changin’ your ways”-
It was about this time in my life, that things like baseball, and football were starting to take a back seat, maybe because I wasn’t as good as I needed to be to continue on that path, maybe it was the pot, maybe it was the beer, the whiskey, maybe it was the girls. I know this line is about self gratification, but I truly wasn’t there, not yet at least. But this new found beauty I was seeing on a semi regular basis with summer-nightly saunas in the mud hut, and skinny dipping with a 14 year old beauty with 36 C’s were definitely changing my path.
“I met a cheerleader was a real young bleeder”
This line was both hot, and creepy at the same time to me. Yeah, I get it, but still… Anyway, I won’t say, or use any names here, in order to protect the guilty. But man oh man! A boyhood fantasy, come true, more than once. Although, I had no clue what I was doing, it was fun “to do the do”. When I was 14 years old, my 1st real girlfriend was a cheerleader. And although I had already been down the road with a few swingin’ kitties, the memory of her asking me to show her the way, is so pure! More on that later.
I was about 16 years old, living on my own, It was kind of “party central” at my apartment. You learn things about people when there’s no rules. And in my house there were no rules. It was nothing for some girls at school, to want to stay a little longer after the party. More girls than you would think, and girls you would never assume, but it’s best to keep the secret. After all, why would you want to spoil a good thing, right?… But when she’s a year, or two older than you, and the Captain of the Cheer Leading Team… “Oh the times I could reminisce”
‘Cause the best things of lovin’ with her sister and her cousin
Only started with a little kiss
A like this…”
Heh, heh, heh,
This one takes me back to 14 years old…
I had a few friends in that little apartment complex in Bennett Valley. Some were sisters, but we were all too damn young… When you play Truth or Dare, are there any rules? Sisters… Heh, heh, heh, My fingers learned how to walk that summer, and took an awful lot of leisurely strolls. Of course it was always by invitation only, but yes, exercise was a good thing…
The 2 sisters introduced me to their cousin Michelle, who was a Santa Rosa H.S. Cheerleader. (Yep, another cheerleader), who had sex appeal just oozing from her. Eyes that that could make a young man cry, lips to make an old man weak, strawberry blonde Dorothy Hamel haircut with just enough bangs to make you wonder what’s behind them. The sex appeal was real, and it was fucking drippin’!
Awkward at first, with all the time that I spent with the sisters, having no real idea of the emotions I was literally playing with, and the damage that may have been done from those sex-capades. Friends with Benefits way before the phrase was ever coined. I decided to look at a much loftier prize though, at least in my eyes. I mean after all, it was all in fun, right? Michelle and I showed each other what it was like to “want”, to “need”, to “give”, to “receive”. And it was often, and it was wet, and it was silk, and it was no secret, and it was full on desire without restraint, and it was cool, and it was a fucking blast!… and her parents even approved!
“Seesaw swinger wit da boys in the school
And your feet flyin’ up in the air
Singin’ hey diddle diddle
Wit’chor kitty in the middle of the swing like you didn’t care…”
Being a High School bachelor with his own place was really odd at times, especially as I got a little older. 16-17 years old, I knew a lot of guys. Certainly never tried to be the most popular guy in school, and I certainly WAS NOT, but popularity actually did come easy for me… Comes with the territory I guess of having your own apartment and just being an all around fun guy I guess… At least when the insecurities weren’t showing.
I knew a lot of guys, and girls both. And as guys do in high school, “we” talk. We talk more than we should. And often times conversations would come up about; “who was with whom, and when”… I had a hard time with this. You see, living on your own at such a young age, with no parents to talk to, and not being able to talk with your friends, because they were the ones singing “hey diddle diddle”, the problem often came up where I just had to keep my mouth shut. While the guys were telling stories of nailing “her” on Saturday night, “her” was with me with her “kitty in middle” on that Saturday night… So there was no way their stories could be true. An awkward time to say the least, and later, maybe the reasons for close friendships ending. Actually on a few occasions, there’s no “maybe” about it. As I said earlier, there is also shame in this remembrance…
“So I took a big chance at the high school dance
With a missy who was ready to play
Was it me she was foolin’ ’cause she knew what she was doin’
And I knowed love is here to stay
When she told me to
Walk this way…”
Didn’t go to many high school dances, but I did take some chances with a few “missies” who were ready to play. Back to Bennett Valley Apartments, 14 & 15 years old. With a “neighbor who needed a favor”… or maybe it was just a “want” more than a “need”. I first met “Linda”, and a friend of hers, no idea what her name was, but Linda was just wow! She was a Georgia born classy, but sassy Southern Belle. Who was “hotter” than hell, before the word “hot” meant hot. She wore a white bikini with gold rings to hold it together where it needed to be. And just barely at that. “Can I look?” … “She’s old; She must be 28 years old!” What if her (Air Force) husband catches me looking?”… “She’s got two little boys!”… “This is so wrong!” But damn!!!! She looked so fucking good, that you knew it was bad for you.
Linda asked me if I wanted to help her bring some lemonade back to the pool from her apartment. Tripping over my tongue, I said “sure!”, and made sure to walk just two steps behind… It was probably obvious with just swim trunks on, that I was delighted to do this. I started to just wait outside while she went in. She came back and took me by the hand, with both hands, and a caress that said; “I wanna’ show you something you’ve never seen before”… She put a white see through mesh over-shirt on, and said she had to change her top. “Holy shit! Right there in the kitchen!”… Yep, looking at me right in the eyes, with an occasional glance down, she pulled her arms inside the over-shirt, and took off her bikini top just watching my jaw drop, and another part rise…. She giggled, and asked if I was uncomfortable. As nervous as I was, I said’ “No, I’m not uncomfortable at all”. She asked if I’d like to touch, and of course I did… And that was it for the day… FUCK ME!
Linda was the Queen of Tease with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. She quickly ran upstairs, changed her bikini, and we went back to the pool. Little did I know at that moment, that it was just the beginning.
This was the start of a summer long education program that to this day, I am so grateful for! Trips to the beach in the back of a pick-up truck, showing me the things that only a woman knows, only a woman loves, things that “girls’ have no clue about, but would know soon enough. She was teaching me lessons in life that my daddy could never teach me, and I was a damn good student! Always early for class, stayed in at break to learn more, stayed after to go over it all again, and again, again. How to let your fingers do the walking, how to give a little kiss like this, and where those kisses should be given, among other things. It was the first time and eventually the only time I would ever ask a girl or woman for pleasure, and she was okay with that. But all the while, teaching me that I would never have to ask again for the rest of my life. She was teaching me how to expect without force. How to take what is being given, and to recognize the very moment a girl decides she willing to give. She even taught me the boundaries girls and women have, that are not permissible to cross. She made it so easy, almost like asking to borrow a cup of sugar. Linda sure knew how to blow a kiss!!! And in turn, I learned what a Lick and Promise was all about. Little did she know, all she had to do was talk with that southern charm, and that might have been enough, but damn I’m so grateful for the time well spent.
This scene would play itself out all over again in almost one year’s time with Debbie, and her roommate (can’t remember her name either) who lived next door to me and Mitch, on Bethards Dr. in Bennett Valley, across from Safeway. Again twice my tender age of 16, these two chicks were about as crazy as girls could get, with “Misfits” for boyfriends, I think I’m lucky to be alive, but man talk about “Feet flyin’ up in the air”!!! Both could not get enough… Not enough rides, not enough kisses, not enough licks, and not enough blow… Both with tramp stamps before there were tramp stamps, these two absolutely “wronged all the right outta’ me”. It was really something to pass out while doing the do, and wake up 3 hours later because they were right back where they left off, like some sort of human alarm clock. I don’t think they were educating, just using… But at the same time, I was very willing to loan my time…
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
Walk this way
“A just gimmie a kiss… like this
Schoolgirl sweetie with a classy kinda sassy
Little skirt’s climbin’ way up her knee…”
A few come to mind here… “skirts climbin’ way up her knee”. I would love to call out their names, but I’m sure the best thing to do is refrain. But after Linda, I learned how to kiss, and to give a kiss that would bring a girl bliss… This would actually come to be a blessing, and a curse both. I lost very close friends because of my desire, and my learned expertise to please, even if it was pleasing those who weren’t mine to please.
“There was three young ladies in the school gym locker
When I noticed they was lookin’ at me”.
Just because they look at you… you know “LOOK AT YOU”, doesn’t mean you always have to return the favor. Adolescent hormonal desires are a very difficult thing to control, when you live in a world without control. My house was their home if they wanted…
“I was a high school loser never made it with the ladies
‘Til the boys told me somethin’ I missed
Then my next door neighbor with a daughter had a favor
So I gave her just a little kiss
A like this…”
Nope! Was NOT a high school loser… not me. I probably won more than I should’ve, but when my next door neighbor who’s daughter had a favor, I made sure to help where I could. Again, not a proud memory here… Just real, and truth. When a girl comes to you and asks for “The Favor”… Unless you’re willing, and able to be the lifelong memory she’s looking for, then I would advise against it! It will haunt you, and haunt her. I said yes… “at least”, one time too often.
This story is not to pat myself on the back. It’s not to brag, it’s not to put shame on those who were there. It’s just that life sometimes imitates fiction, sometimes fiction imitates life. Sometimes fantasy is reality, sometimes reality is a fantasy. and sometimes you just follow the handbook…
It’s a memoir… that’s it…
Just the beginning chapters to a manual that I read most of my life…
Now step back in time, to one of the best versions from the days I just shared with you. Feel the funk, feel the grit, feel the sleaze, feel the fun! And then one more from Boston Strong to give you the Mother Popcorn connection…
One of the two principal members of Aerosmith, Joe Perry, has shared stories of their career in a new book, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith. He and fellow “toxic twin” of Aerosmith, singer Steven Tyler, were the primary architects of the sound that defined teenagers lives in recurring decades, defying the typical path of success to become a multigenerational phenomenon. He took time to provide insight into the Boston band’s four decades of work with HPR All Things Considered Local Host – and former Boston resident himself – Dave Lawrence.