Michael Roberts of Westword.com recently conducted an interview with AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Westword.com: You guys have had a series of health-related issues over the past year or so. For one thing, you had knee-replacement surgery. How long was the recovery time for that?
Joe Perry: I've been putting that off for the last three tours, and it was pretty rough. It was really badly damaged. It actually started almost twenty years ago. I jumped off a platform on stage, and it's just been getting worse. I've done one band-aid operation after another, and finally, they said, "Look, if you don't get this done, it's going to go out on you." So I went in going on a year and a half ago, and it was almost healed. And then around Thanksgiving, it got infected and I had to go back in and they had to do the whole thing over again. So I had a pretty lousy winter. At least I was able to be in the studio after they'd let me get up and move around. But that's nothing now. I'm fine, I'm moving really well. It was Brad who really blew our minds. He never gets sick, and for him to have that thing.... Again, it's just one of those things. It can happen to anyone.
Westword.com: From what I've read, his injury was so fluky. Did he really hurt himself that badly from hitting his head getting out of his car?
Joe Perry: Yeah, that's pretty much what he can remember. He doesn't really remember any other time when he did anything. You bump yourself how many times a day? Everybody does that, and you don't remember every one of them. But that one, I guess it hit him just right, and when they checked him out, they said, "Get in there." He was in the hospital that afternoon, and luckily, he came out of it okay. It's just a matter of resting. I know he was probably up and around like a week after it happened, but they really wanted him to lay back until they were sure it was fixed. But he's back now. He's ready to go. When we start the tour back up, he's going to be back on stage with us.
Westword.com: Well, you've got both an AEROSMITH album that I know has been delayed because of health issues, too, and also a solo album on the way. So you had to come up with a lot of new material.
Joe Perry: Yeah, but I'm always coming up with new material anyway. I'm always in the studio. That's why I built it in the house. I don't have far to go, and I was totally focused on working on the AEROSMITH record. And again, there were some health things, and finally, when we were just about ready to go, Steven got pneumonia, and they said, "You won't be able to sing for three weeks." And that was at the worst time. We had the songs all rehearsed and we were ready to go. That was really a drag, because we had it all set up to do the record and have a record under our belts before the tour. But I had so much pent-up energy, studio energy, that I just went in and started finishing up the solo record. I didn't have any plans of doing one for a while, but I had all the AEROSMITH stuff in a pile, and stuff for future use in another pile. And the future is now, so I went ahead. Aside from auditioning drummers, the whole thing took about 47 days from front to back. We worked around the clock, through the weekends, and we're mastering it now, as we speak. I get the songs over the Internet, listen to them, make comments, and then my engineer tweaks it and we'll have the thing ready to go probably in the next couple of weeks.
Westword.com: How do you decide what's an AEROSMITH song and what's a song for a solo project?
Joe Perry: There are some things I write lyrics for right away and they're just too close to my heart to have anyone else sing them, and then there are others.... I don't know, there are only so many records you can put out, and so many songs. And we had a ton of AEROSMITH songs ready to go for the record. Like I said, I had a pile of things, and I suppose some of them could be massaged into AEROSMITH music. It's not much of a jump. After all, I write how I write on the guitar, and stuff comes out pretty raw. Like I said, because we had so much stuff ready to go for the AEROSMITH record, it was pretty easy to pick some other ones and write some lyrics and have it go. This'll be the second solo record in two years, I think.
Westword.com: Another way things have changed is doing exclusive deals with major retailers. And there was one comment you made in an interview that made people think AEROSMITH might be going into business with Wal-Mart like AC/DC did with "Black Ice". Is that the case?
Joe Perry: We've talked about it, we've definitely talked about it. And it's not just AC/DC. It's become pretty common for bands to do that. So I don't know. Who knows? The way the business is now and the way it's changing from month to month. Even three years ago, this Guitar Hero thing.... I don't know when it came out, but before then, who would have thought of it. When I walked by my son playing it, it was actually in Phoenix, in the hotel, and I think he was playing a JIMI HENDRIX song. I walked by and saw the controller and the whole thing was like, "This is amazing. We've got to get a couple more of our songs onto one of these games." And as it turned out, we got our own game. A whole game (laughs).
Read the entire interview from Westword.com.