“Out Go the Lights” is a hard-rocking, lip-smacking blues, set to a cowbell beat as an anxious Steven Tyler vamps about “Living on coochie and romance/ Waiting for Cupid to call.” Female backing vocals take on a taunting, torrid flavor, as Joe Perry ignites a red-hot guitar solo that doesn’t quit for the song’s nearly seven minutes.
The track’s working title was “The Guilty Kilt”: “There’s a joke about the guy who gets a hard-on with a kilt on,” explains bassist Tom Hamilton, “so it’s a guilty kilt.” It’s a riff idea that dates back to sessions for 1989’s Pump, which popped up spontaneously between songs on tour over the years, with Tyler sometimes scatting on-the-spot vocals.
“I remember jamming that live during the show,” says Perry. “There was something about that tempo – it’s got that funk that we do. It just wouldn’t leave us alone.”
The version on Music From Another Dimension!, which has a nastier snarl than early demos bootlegged and YouTube’d by fans, was just one of many new tracks that Aerosmith laid down during demo sessions in Boston in the summer of 2011. Tyler took the demos with him to Maui and sat by the ocean scrolling through them by night on his iPad. “I’d stay out there for three hours, going through song after song,” says Tyler, who finally wrote some suggestive lyrics and a new title, and plays harmonica on the track. “We put that together with our old Seventies head, and it came out so good.”
There’s a false ending at about the 4:10 mark, before drummer Joey Kramer kicks up the beat again, the backup singers do another round of “ooh, ah-oohs” and Perry’s solo gets a second wind. “That guitar solo, that’s it from beginning to end – no editing, no cutting, no two tracks, there’s no nothin’,” says Perry. “The groove was there, and it was just one of those things that went on.”