Joe Perry has read the headlines, too. He’s seen the stories about how he and his Aerosmith bandmate Steven Tyler are always at each other’s throats. But here’s the thing: It’s usually not true.
“I’m not saying it was all fun and games,” he said. “We had our times where we wanted to kill each other, but we’ve always managed to sort it out.”
In fact, he says Steven Tyler may have been the brother that he was supposed to have had.
Wonderwall.com recently caught up with the preeminent guitarist to discuss, among other things, his relationship with the Aerosmith frontman, the “miracle” in his life and his recently released memoir, “Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith.”
“I don’t think I could have written the book 15 years ago because the kids were too young,” he said. “We didn’t let a lot of this out in the press. It’s a whole different paradigm now so we felt OK about putting this stuff out there.”
And one of the several things he realized after writing the book was that he’s still very similar to that defiant teenager he once was, who left school because he refused to cut his hair.
“Considering the kind of person that I am, I just really hadn’t changed that much over the years, besides getting older and little grayer,” he said. “A lot of your basic things that make you tick, they don’t change much.”
Life, however, can throw you some curve balls. After his first marriage didn’t work out, Joe married Billie Paulette Montgomery, whom he calls “one of the miracles in my life.” When he met her, he had split with the band, a band she didn’t even know about.
“When I met my wife I wasn’t in Aerosmith and I hadn’t been for five years. As far as she saw I was broke,” he said. “Actually, I was making good money but I was in middle of a divorce and child support payments and lawyers fees and paying back the IRS and all this. A lot of the money that I had that would have made our lives better went toward paying back all the screw ups from the last marriage.
Billie was also the one who convinced him to give Aerosmith another shot, something he considered because his relationship with the band members hadn’t soured, contrary to popular belief.
“There would be a couple of weeks that would go by where we wouldn’t talk. Other than that we’ve always been talking to each other on the phone,” he said. “We were always friends through this. Steven and I obviously had our disagreements but a lot of it gets blown out of proportion. [The press] might talk about ‘Yeah, we disagree about this’ and he said that, but then we’d go back to the dressing room, kick everyone out and talk it out. You didn’t read about that in the Hollywood Reporter or the New York Post. They just talk about Joe and Steven ready to kill each other.”
Families always have disagreements and he and Aerosmith are a family. They’re brothers. For the record, Joe actually had a brother, but he died shortly after birth. The band, he thinks, may have actually filled that sibling void.
“I gotta think that on some subconscious level there is a space there that was supposed to have been filled. It’s kind of one of those things that you hear about and say maybe that’s why Steven and I crossed paths and why we saw so many similarities.”
He continued, “He could have been the brother I never had. I can’t say yeah, that’s definitely it. It would take a little work with a shrink or something to figure out if that’s an issue, but I get that feeling that maybe that’s it, maybe that’s the drive as to why I was able to relate to Steven on a bunch of levels.”
By Mark Gray for Wonder Wall