Aerosmith Set To Rock East Rutherford
Guitarist opens up about new album and tensions with frontman Steven Tyler.
An Aerosmith ticket stub in good condition from a 1974 concert at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park was recently listed on eBay for more than $300. The hefty price tag can be seen as a testament to the rock icons surviving 40 years of drugs, near break-ups and more drama than an Emmy-winning daytime soap opera.
The drama continues to this day as Aerosmith prepares to rock the Izod Center in Bergen County on Tuesday. The prospect of seeing the Bostonians perform has recently seemed unlikely. Over the past two years it appeared that the band would implode.
In late 2009, after two years of aborted attempts to record the first Aerosmith studio album of all original material since 2001, singer Steven Tyler declared that he was more interested in pursuing solo projects than working with Aerosmith.
Guitarist Joe Perry responded by stating that Aerosmith would look to replace Tyler. Ugly words, and legal salvos, were exchanged.
Tyler and Perry appeared to make up by mid-2010, and Aerosmith was back on stage once again. But tensions flared when Tyler joined the cast of “American Idol” without informing the band, who thought Tyler’s next destination was the recording studio rather than a sound stage. (Tyler this month announced he was leaving “Idol” to focus his energies on Aerosmith).
Ultimately, and not for the first time, Aerosmith worked out its differences. Earlier this year the band scheduled recording time around Tyler’s “American Idol” commitments and finally completed its 15th studio album. “Music From Another Dimension!” is scheduled to be released on Nov. 6. The album’s first single, “Legendary Child,” is out now.
We recently spoke with guitarist Brad Whitford about the band’s trials and tribulations over the past couple of years and the making of “Music From Another Dimenson!”
Patch.com: With all of the drama between Steven Tyler and the rest of the band over the past 2½ years did you think that Aerosmith’s time was coming to an end?
Brad Whitford: We were looking at all sorts of options. We were at odds with Steven. He had made it clear to us that he wanted to work on his own solo thing for a while. And then he signed onto “American Idol.” We felt a little bit left in the lurch. We wanted to go out and make music. We felt maybe we could go out and maybe bring in someone else to sing, maybe call it a different name. We talked about it but it never panned out. Things just worked out. I always knew the band would perform again, but I didn’t know when or how.
Patch: Was it tough having to record around Steven’s “American Idol” schedule?
Whitford: I think it forced us to become a more disciplined unit. We’ve always had too much time to record and when Seven started his television show we had to plan recording the album around it and executing it because time became a factor.
Patch: You’ve been trying to make a studio album of all original material for more than a decade. How does it feel to finally have completed that mission?
Whitford: It’s a terrific feeling. A great deal of relief and satisfaction to be on the other side of it. We started a couple of times previously to do it and it turned out to be a complete disaster.
Patch: Ultimately Aerosmith chose Jack Douglas to produce “Music From Another Dimension!” (Douglas produced the band’s 1970s classics “Toys in the Attic” and “Rocks”). What was it like working with him again?
Whitford: It was like putting on a pair of old slippers. It just felt so right. We got to work and the album just came out so good. Everybody in the band contributed music to the album. We’re so psyched about it. It’s going to blow people's minds. The band sounds and plays better than ever.
Patch: How would you describe the album musically?
Whitford: It’s a classic Aerosmith type of record. Everything from hard rock and very powerful music to almost country-type music to beautiful ballads and everything in between.
Patch: The release of “Music from Another Dimension!” was recently pushed back from August to November. Is that frustrating?
Whitford: It’s unfortunate. We were going to have the song “Legendary Child” as part of a movie soundtrack that was going to come out this summer and the movie [“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”] was delayed to next year, so the whole marketing campaign that went along with that and the album’s release went right down the toilet. So the record company wanted time for a whole new approach and they wanted to get a slot to release the album they thought would be good for it. It’ll be worth the wait.
Patch: Do you have any favorite memories of playing in New Jersey?
Whitford: This is where I became a true New York Jets hater. We did a show at the Meadowlands one day and we got to the arena very early because that afternoon the New England Patriots and the Jets were playing next door. So we went to the game. It was bitterly cold and the Jets kicked our butts and ever since that day I don’t like the New York Jets. But it was a good day. I got to see a football game and walk across the way and do a rock show.
IF YOU GO: Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, 7:30 p.m. July 24, Izod Center, East Rutherford. Tickets are $49.50, $99.50 and $149.50. 201-935-3900 www.ticketmaster.com.