TYLER And PERRY: The Stories Behind The AEROSMITH Hits

September 18, 2007

AEROSMITH's Joe Perry and Steven Tyler recently shared with Gibson their exclusive insights and the back stories to several AEROSMITH classics.

"Draw the Line" ("Draw the Line", 1977)

Perry: "That was a case of trying to use an open tuning in a way that wasn't typical, that wasn't simply going to the sus4. That's kind of how I approach open tunings. A lot of times your fingers just naturally want to go in that direction, and that just calls attention to that open tuning, kind of the way Keith Richards plays it. As a guitar player, Richards grabbed that early on and made it his signature. There's something very distinctive and fun about playing with an open tuning, because you get all those open notes, and it just sounds great coming out of a guitar amp. But you don't want it to sound like the other guy who's using that same tuning. So I've always approached that with the attitude of, ‘Well, I'm going to make this sound distinctive.' THE BLACK CROWES used that tuning to great effect, but I could always tell what it was. I just shifted the tuning around a bit, and made it talk a little more, for my own tastes.”

"Back in the Saddle" ("Rocks", 1976)

Perry: "I had heard [original FLEETWOOD MAC guitarist] Peter Green playing a 6-string bass, although he never really played it as part of a song. He would sort of jam with it. But that's how I knew they existed. I figured it would be a cool instrument to play live. It sounded great, and I didn't know anyone else who was doing it. I wrote that song so that I would have excuse to play it on stage."

"Same Old Song and Dance" ("Get Your Wings", 1974)

Perry: "The original version [a different song with the same title, written by Sammy Cahn and made famous by Frank Sinatra] had more of a swing thing going. We just straightened it out and made it more of a twelve-bar progression. I haven't heard the original in a lot of years, but I seem to remember that it was a little looser. If you go back really far, you don't find a whole lot of straight 12-bar blues. There's always a variation on it, and a change, and I think that's kind of what we did to that song. We brought in the same instrumentation, and played it the way we heard it going down. Listening back to it, I think, ‘Wow, we were playing swing back in 1974. How about that?' It was just another experiment. I'm not sure we really knew what we were doing."

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