:: Pepsi Center :: August 1 ::
By Brandon Daviet
A quick non-scientific survey of Baby Boomers and pre-pubescent children would lead you to believe that Aerosmith are enjoying a resurgence in popularity and name recognition in relation to Steven Tyler’s now-completed stint on “American Idol.”
However, in a recent interview with The Marquee, Aerosmith bass player extraordinaire Tom Hamilton revealed that isn’t necessarily the case. “So far, the ticket sales have been a mess, we haven’t really seen any difference yet.” Hamilton’s statement should be taken with several grains of salt, given the fact that Aerosmith have never really suffered from poor ticket sales anytime in recent memory and remain one of a handful of bands born in the 1970’s that command a legion of fans and possess a back catalog of albums and singles that are not to be taken lightly.
In any event, Tyler’s decision to become one of the judges on “American Idol” was one that came out of nowhere and was hot on the heels of a somewhat ill-fated tour with ZZ Top that had many fans wondering if the band was imploding. That said, any longtime fan of the band understands that Aerosmith is just about as indestructible as a heap of road cases. In fact, total Aerosmith fanatics and ‘arm chair band managers’ even speculated that Tyler, no stranger to impressing the press, was running a long-con by joining “American Idol” and had his band’s best interests at heart the whole time. But Hamilton doesn’t seem so convinced of the theory. “Well, I think he may very well have rationalized it in his head that way, I think he minimized the time he would have to put into the show and maximized what it would do for the band and in terms of album sales, he was out there in front of millions and millions of people, so maybe we just aren’t seeing it yet,” Hamilton said.
With Tyler’s recent brush with “tinsel town” now being a footnote in history, Aerosmith is fixing to release a new album in November called Music From Another Dimension. The album is the band’s first of all-original tunes since 2001’s Just Push Play and is being touted by the band as a return to the “classic” Aerosmith sound.
For his part, Hamilton breaks the band’s creative periods into three eras. “There was the ’70s era. Then there was the post-breakup era that produced Pump, Get a Grip, and of course Permanent Vacation. Then there was the era of Nine Lives and Just Push Play. And that first era was really when we learned how to work in the studio and how to make a record, and that had a lot to do with Jack Douglas, who was our producer and who also produced the new record,” said Hamilton.
But the first single from Music From Another Dimension, “Legendary Child,” sounds more like a continuation of the more contemporary Aerosmith than anything. That is not to say that the song doesn’t rock ass, because it does. However, without being privy to the entire forthcoming album (not even press copies are available yet) it is hard to gauge if Aerosmith have actually recaptured their earlier musical stylings. One thing that the band has made clear about the album so far is that it is more of a group effort than the last few albums. “On this album everybody’s voice is heard — in my case literally,” said Hamilton. “We have a deluxe version of the album coming out that will have some extra songs on it, including one that I sing lead on.”
The extra material should be a good omen for fans, because one thing that has been consistent throughout Aerosmith’s career is that even their b-sides and songs for movie soundtracks have been top shelf. Hamilton admitted that over the years, the group has ammassed a vault-worth of unreleased and unfinsihed tracks, but he added that for the time being, anyway, the group wouldn’t be dipping into those stacks. “I’m sure there are some leftover tracks that we have had for a really, really long time that we have just never finished and brought to their full potential, but I’m not sure because we are so focused on this record that I really haven’t thought about it,” he said.
Any fan of arena rock worth their salt has at least heard, if not read, The Dirt, the low down and dirty account of Motley Crue’s rise to stardom and the excess that went with it. Not so many fans, perhaps, are aware of the book Walk This Way that chronicles Aerosmith’s rise to fame, breakup, and struggles with addiction. That book, however, along with Hammer of the Gods about Led Zeppelin, really is the template that The Dirt was built on. In addition, both drummer Joey Kramer and Steven Tyler have released autobiographies putting forth their own personal views of Aerosmith’s never-dull career.
Hamilton has also had the itch to pen his stories about Aerosmith, but he said that he is looking to do something different than those other rock tomes. “Yeah, actually the idea really appeals to me, I would love to do something that is kind of a narrative to adventure and inspiration. I have zero interest in writing something about how ridiculously addicted to drugs we were and how wasted we were and how we are all better now,” said Hamilton with a sincerity that only someone that has lived the rock and roll fantasy to the fullest can muster.
:: Aerosmith ::
:: Pepsi Center :: August 1 ::
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