Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry recruited Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander, Stone Temple Pilots guitarist Dean DeLeo and STP bassist Robert DeLeo for a rattling live version of “Aye, Aye, Aye” filmed at L.A.’s Roxy Theatre in January.
Perry commands the track with a handful of bluesy riffs and solos, and Zander pushes his vocal range by howling the main hook. Drummer David Goodstein and keyboardist Buck Johnson (Aerosmith) also accompanied Perry on the song, a highlight from his sixth solo LP, the January-issued Sweetzerland Manifesto.
The Aerosmith member detailed the writing process behind “Aye, Aye, Aye” in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“I had just finished writing my autobiography Rocks with David Ritz so we’d been based in L.A.,” Perry said. “My friend and future bandmate [Johnny Depp] offered the use of his studio to record my new solo record. Later that week I went to his studio to talk about the record and the possibly about it being an instrumental CD. Ironically, that night we recorded ‘Eve of Destruction’ with Johnny on drums. Even though it was big hit in the Sixties, I felt with everything going on in the world today that this song was more than relevant than ever especially since the Atomic Clock had just been moved even closer to midnight.
“‘Aye, Aye, Aye’ was the only song written from the ground up for this CD,” he continued. “All the other tracks I had written before the vocalists heard them. Robin had a chorus that he sang to me over the phone, and he said ‘this sounds like a riff that could be right up your alley.’ When Robin walked into the studio singing ‘Aye, Aye, Aye,’ I said, ‘What is a good key for you?’ He said, ‘The Aye, Aye, Aye key.’ [laughs] By that night we had a demo of the song finished. Later I found out it was inspired by my love for my custom Gibson Billie guitar which has my wife’s picture on it (painted by John Douglas). The only requirement or pressure behind this album was all the songs had to be fun to play live. And after having the chance to perform ‘Aye, Aye, Aye’ with Robin live, I have to say it hits the mark. Little did I know it would be one of my favorite songs on the CD.”
Depp, Perry’s bandmate in Hollywood Vampires, executive produced the all-star album, which also features guest spots from the New York Dolls’ David Johansen and Terry Reid, drummer Zak Starkey and Perry’s sons Tony and Roman.
“I sit back and listen to what they have to say,” the guitarist told Rolling Stone of working with his children. “Nobody is as interested anymore in hearing guitar gymnastics. Sometimes a really good riff is enough to carry the day. It’s all about the song again. I learned that from my kids.”