The initial spark behind the mid-tempo track “Closer” started with Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer. He had an idea that he wanted to explore and dove into it during a 90-minute jam session with longtime band collaborator Marti Frederiksen. “He’s one of the few guys who has the patience to hear out my ideas, because I’m not musical that way. I wanted to do something at that particular tempo, so Marti and I started jamming together,” Kramer says of songwriting with the producer-composer. “You always come out with something at the end of the day. Always. There’s never a blank day.”
Kramer’s first Aerosmith songwriting credit was as co-author of “Pandora’s Box,” from 1974’s Get Your Wings, and he is listed as a writer on a few others from the Seventies and Eighties. On Music From Another Dimension! Kramer has four credits, but “Closer” is the one he feels the most responsible for initiating. That writing session took place at Frederiksen’s home studio in Los Angeles, as Kramer sat in a room just big enough for his drum kit. They listened back to what they had played and picked out something for a verse, something else as a chorus.
Other band members soon heard what Kramer and Frederiksen had begun. Brad Whitford added dramatic guitar flourishes, and Steven Tyler provided stormy vocals and lyrics, growling words of fading love: “How can I turn off the flame? You know how much it kills me.”
The final four-minute song is credited to Tyler, Frederiksen and Kramer, who says of the experience: “The biggest excitement for me, not being a songwriter, was having life breathed into it by the band – with Steven writing the lyrics, having him sing it, having Brad play guitar on it.”
The others felt much the same. “It’s a real rock ballad,” says Whitford. “It comes from a real rock place.”