Aerosmith in Turmoil: Rolling Stone's 2009 Interviews

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Joe Perry

How did that Steven wind up on stage with you in New York?
He just came in. There was all this commotion during our encore break and I just sat down on the couch and saw all this commotion at the door and somebody said, "Steven is here." And I was like, "What?" He came over and it was like, "How are you doing? What have you played so far? What songs have you done?" That kind of thing. I said, "You feel like sitting in and joining the band for a while, or what?" He said, "Of course." I said, "You got your choice. You can blow harp on the blues song or sing 'Walk This Way.'" He said he wanted to sing "Walk This Way." And I said, "All right, we could always use another singer." And being an acquaintance of 40 years, I said, "Why not?" So he came up and sang and that was the last I saw of him.

He said onstage that he hasn't quit the band...
With 40 years there's a lot of emotional ties, but he wants to take two years off from the band. The rest of the band is kind of figuring out what we want to do. We have so many different options to fill up that time. All I know is that we want to work. I'm doing the Joe Perry Project and expecting to be touring through February. All the other guys want to work, so I'm not sure what form that is going to take in middle-future, but everybody in the band wants to work, so we will see.

Is a new singer still possible?
Anything is possible at this point. We are still trying to figure it out. This is kind of new. I just found out that he had reiterated that he wanted to take that time off to do what he was going to do. We're going just look at all our options. Steven has made it pretty clear; he wants to go off and do what he wants to do. But the band isn't going to wait around, I mean this bands wants to… Aerosmith is too good a band to sit around and twiddle their thumbs.

Do you think the fans will accept a new singer?
That's... I don't know, I really don't know. There's certainly plenty of examples of it working, and plenty of examples of it not working, so... At this point I'm just focusing on my solo project.

Why do you think things have broken down so much between the two of you?
I really don't know. One thing that I got to say is that there isn't that personal stuff that people have tried to lay on this. Part of the problem in the seventies, but there is no personal grudge or any of that stuff going on. That's kind of what I got across last night. Other than that, you know, I really don't know what's going on over there.

You haven't written together in a decade. Do you think you drifted off into two different musical direction?
Hard to say. My solo records speak for where I'm at musically and what I've tried to bring to the fans' ears. I let the music do the talking, as far as that goes. As far as he's at, I can't say.

Steve has his own manager now, right?
Yeah. Basically, any communication that we've had over the last couple of months has been through managers, so that's been pretty strange.

But you just did some dates with him, right?

Did you talk at all?
No. I called him a little while back about doing these South American dates. He said that he didn't want to do them and then I realized there was nobody on the other end of the line. So yeah, I guess he hung up.

Is this something that's been simmering for years or is this sort of a recent development where you didn't talk all that much?
Over the last probably few months it's definitely been, since he got his own management it really became apparent that he's kind of pulling away. Other than that... I mean, we've been together for so long sometimes we don't talk. None of the band talks for a couple of weeks and then we'll hook up before we go onstage and put on a show and then go off and do our own thing. So, that part is kind of obviously it's different circumstances but on the surface it's how bands like us work that have been together for so long.

How do you feel these days about Just Push Play?
I'm not a big fan of that record. I think we got too much into the technical end of things and letting that take over. The band really didn't play any of those tracks live in the studio. Everybody kind of came in and put their tracks down. I think one of the most valuable things Aerosmith has is the energy we produce when we all play together.

Don't you just want to sit down face-to-face with Steven and hash this all out?
At this point I'm considering the posture he's taken, I'm really involved with my band right now, with the project, I'm really digging the direction it's going in, and each show is a new experience. Hopefully I'm bringing to rock n' roll the kind of spontaneity that I love, and always believed rock and roll stands for. So, that's really where my focus is now.

More Q&As:

Joey Kramer

Brad Whitford

Former Aerosmith A&R Rep John Kalodner

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