Joe Perry knows all the moves. Here he gets feedback by angling his tiger-finish signature model Gibson Les Paul at a monitor. It’s a cool technique for making a 6-string howl without standing in front of an amp cranked up to 10.

It’s not every day you get to speak with a bona fide rock ’n’ roll legend—especially one with an encyclopedic knowledge of tone, gear, and the mechanics of groove—but we interviewed Joe Perry and, man, he delivered in spades.

Perry, as you probably know, made his name in the ’70s with Aerosmith, and along with a few others—like Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and people like that—defined the term “guitar hero.” (There’s a reason relative youngsters like, say, Slash, play Les Pauls and dress the way they do.) Perry’s playing is all over classic songs like “Dream On,” “Back in the Saddle,” “Sweet Emotion,” “Draw the Line,” and many, many others. But unlike other ’70s icons, Perry’s band, Aerosmith, had a second career in the ’80s and ’90s, which—at its peak—was even bigger than anything they’d done in their early years. Along the way, they also racked up multiple Grammy awards and a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.