AEROSMITH's JOE PERRY On Early Influences, Current Guitar SetupJanuary 27, 2010
Premier Guitar recently conducted an interview with AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Premier Guitar: What was the spark that ignited your desire to play guitar?
Perry: It was a series of things, really. I had an uncle who owned a homemade four-string instrument that looked like a ukulele. He would probably get mad if I called it a ukulele, but that's what it looked like. During the holidays, he would play Portuguese folk songs and then let me play with it. I must have been five or six at the time. I used to go to school and listen to the orchestra, and I didn't like any of the wind instruments, but I did like the guitar. I begged my parents for an acoustic guitar, which they bought for me. It came with a 45-rpm record that taught you how to tune, how to strum, and all that. This must have been around 1961 or 1962 —definitely before THE BEATLES came out. I bought a fake book and learned chords from that. I never took lessons. Once I discovered THE BEATLES, their music and movies, and all the other British bands like the STONES and YARDBIRDS, I was captured by rock 'n' roll.
Premier Guitar: You were influenced by Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix specifically, but how did Peter Green fit into the equation?
Perry: A lot of English bands came to Boston before they hit New York back then. I guess they wanted to warm up first there. I had a friend who got a lot of free tickets to the Boston Tea Party club. FLEETWOOD MAC took up residence at the Tea Party for weeks on end, and I must have seen them thirty times or more. I saw them on great nights, terrible nights, nights when they were all drunk. Peter Green's style, attitude and sound really got to me. These guys didn't care about being rock stars. It was all about the music for them. I became a big fan of FLEETWOOD MAC. I guess you could say I was most influenced by the second wave of British bands, like THE YARDBIRDS, MAC and THE WHO.
Premier Guitar: The first time I saw AEROSMITH, you guys were opening for MOTT THE HOOPLE.
Perry: We toured with them a lot in the beginning. I can't say enough nice things about those guys. They were very good to us. They took us under their wing, you might say. All they wanted to do was play rock 'n' roll and party. They're back together with all the original members playing shows in England, and I heard they sound great.
Premier Guitar: Let's talk specifically about guitars. What are you using on tour right now?
Perry: I'm using a few Strats right now, including the first upside-down one I had back in the early days of The Project. I got that one out a while and ago and began playing it again. A left-handed Strat played righty just has a whole different vibe and sound that a standard right-handed one doesn't have. I have a black Jeff Beck Strat, not a normal color for that guitar. I have both of my signature Gibson Les Pauls, my Billie guitar, a reissue Gibson Custom Shop flametop, a Gretsch White Falcon, a Dan Armstrong see-through Plexi guitar for slide, and a Supro Ozark that's strictly used for slide. I rotate guitars a lot out of the collection. I really don't like changing guitars that much onstage, but I have so many great ones that I like to play. I went through a ton of Strats over the years trying to find the best ones — the same with Les Pauls. You want to play good guitars all night. I also have a guitar that was put together for me by RS Guitarworks that has a Fralin P-90 in the bridge and Joe Barden pickups in the middle and neck.
Read the entire interview from Premier Guitar.
Comments Disclaimer And Information