Politics doesn’t come up a lot in Aerosmith songs, and that’s just as Joe Perry likes it. But the guitarist has been outraged by the story of African warlord Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army has been widely condemned for abducting thousands of children as soldiers and sex slaves in and around Uganda. Perry learned of the atrocity as a result of documentary footage that has gone viral (Jason Russell’s Kony 2012), and found himself deeply inspired by the documentary filmmakers behind it.
Perry sings “Freedom Fighter” himself, growling across jagged layers of rock guitar of the documentarians he calls “freedom fighters.” Kony has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. In the song, Perry attacks the warriors behind him who are kidnapping children and spreading death: “The guns you carry and the bombs you make / Cause too many tears, too many hearts to break.”
It’s one of two songs on Music From Another Dimension! to feature Perry on lead vocals. Actor Johnny Depp and producerJack Douglas are on background vocals. Bassist Tom Hamilton calls the track “a blazing rock song.”
“We don’t really get into politics and stuff,” says Perry, “but I felt so strongly about this guy [Kony], and the freedom fighters that are out there who do so much good by going to the front lines with cameras and tape recorders. They’re freedom fighters, and it was a tip of the hat to those kind of people. I was really so moved.”
The final song is stripped down hard rock, with ricocheting guitars and keyboards.”The hardest thing was picking the lyrics because I wrote so many verses for it,” says Perry. “The music came as an afterthought because it had to have the drive and the power. I didn’t really care if it sounded like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith or what – it had to have the drive to capture the freedom fighter thing.”