Just a few months ago the idea of an Aerosmith tour seemed very unlikely. Steven Tyler said he needed a long break to work on "Brand Tyler," while the other bandmembers questioned his sobriety and threatened to hire a new singer. But before the worst-case scenario happened — and after Tyler went to rehab — the five bandmates sat down to hash things out. "Basically I just said one or two things to Steven and he said one or two things to me," guitarist Joe Perry says. "Being as close as we are, that's all we needed to do. Then we just looked at each other and knew it was time to get the band back together."
The group just wrapped a quick South American tour that attracted scores of young fans. "Half of them were between the ages of 15 to 25. After the encore at one show, we were getting ready to leave, but we hadn't done 'Crazy,' " Perry says. "The kids were screaming so loud for it that we just had to go back onstage and play it." After hitting Europe later this month, the band will return to American amphitheaters with Sammy Hagar in late July. Last summer they performed their 1975 classic Toys in the Attic straight through, but they have no such plans this time. "After the European tour we'll start to get feedback from fans about what songs they want to hear," Perry says. "With tweets and Twitters and all that stuff we'll get the vibe of what people want to hear. We have so many songs we never play and we'll definitely make the set list interesting enough so that people won't miss the fact we don't have a new record out." Check out the band rocking "Walk This Way" live from Bogota, Colombia, in the clip below.
The group hasn't released a record of original material since 2001's Just Push Play, and an attempt to record with Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen producer Brendan O'Brien fell apart when they failed to agree on a musical direction. Perry has higher hopes for their next effort. "Looking at the calendar we'll probably be going into the studio sometime around the holidays or maybe in the beginning of next year. We'll have to take time off from touring to make the best record we can make. We owe it to ourselves to make the best record we can make."
Looking back at the band's insane last year, Perry feels that the turmoil ultimately brought the band closer together. "This band has a really strange ways of deciding to take vacations," Perry says. "Our whole rhythm just got thrown off over the last three or four years. We ended up touring without new albums a couple of times and it just didn't work out. It felt off-kilter and the tension was pretty high. Now Steven is singing better than I've heard in a long time and the shows have just gotten better and better. It feels like 1971 again. We've had a lot of ups and downs in the past, and we're up-ing right now."