Aerosmith Ready First Album in 8 Years
Two days after announcing a summer tour of the U.S., Aerosmith staged a media event Wednesday in Los Angeles to discuss the trip, the status of their new album and wave hello to a few hundred fans gathered at the outdoor shopping mall, the Grove.
Steven Tyler predicted that the album, not yet titled, will be out a month after the Global Warming Tour begins June 16 in Minneapolis. "Doing a record in four months is unheard of in Aerosmith territory," Tyler said from a stage built on the Grove's lawn after talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel introduced the band.
The band still has to write two more songs and mix the album, which is being produced by Jack Douglas, whose productions include 1975's Toys in the Attic and their last album, Honkin' on Bobo from 2004. It's Aerosmith's first album of new material since 2001's Just Push Play.
"Jack is part of the Aerosmith DNA," drummer Joey Kramer said. "On the first day of writing at rehearsal, that all came right back."
In an exclusive interview with Billboard, guitarist Joe Perry explained the recording process for the new album and how they'll set the set list for the upcoming tour.
Each record, Perry says, "always starts with the stuff left over from the last record." In the case of "Legendary Child," which will appear on the new album and in the film G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the song dates back 21 years to the Get a Grip sessions. "This record is different from the recent past, say the last 20 years, where everybody is getting in the studio and throwing down their songs," Perry notes. "Some of the songs are completed and some are just riffs. This record is a lot more band-written stuff than there has been in the recent past.
"We probably have two songs to write to finish. Or certainly there are slots to fill. We don't sit there and listen to the songs as a bunch. First time we did that was two weeks ago. The record company came in and wanted to hear what's happening and that gave us a chance to listen to everything as a bunch. We get a sense of where we're at and we'll do that again very soon."
Aerosmith is finishing the record in Los Angeles, having recorded the basic tracks at their Pandora's Box studio in Boston and Perry's Boneyard Studio. While the album is being mixed, Aerosmith will rehearse about 25 songs -- including two or three new ones -- for the tour.
"This tour, in addition to a couple songs we know we're going to play from the new record, we want to bring out songs we just haven't played for years," Perry says, singling out "Woman of the World" from the band's second album, Get Your Wings. "We'll be playing some of those -- songs that were staples in the sets back in the old days that will be new songs to a lot of people if they don't know the albums."
Perry is also keenly aware that their hits -- more than 30 singles on the mainstream rock top 20 -- are their bread and butter. Rehearsals will determine the backbone of the set list and then they'll see how the others play out. Perry adds that in Japan the band added "Hangman's Jury" to a show in a heartbeat.
"They said we've got to do a rehearsal for that; I said I don't think so. I took my practice amp and walked into Steven's dressing room and worked on the harmonies and went out and played it that night.
"When you play to 15,000 to 20,000 people you don't want to disappoint too many. We're entertainers first. We're very cognizant of the fact this is the only time someone will see our band this year or in two years or perhaps ever. We always have to think about it that way. We give them the songs they want to hear. Playing songs that we would like, that say ‘f--- you’ to the audience? That isn't part of our vocabulary; we just don't work that way."