Written By Braddon S. Williams

Aerosmith: Rocks

1976 was the year Aerosmith released Rocks, in my opinion both a monumental raw album and one of the best titles ever. I mean, all you had to say was “Aerosmith Rocks” and you were simultaneously making a true statement and talking about their new album.

By this time, the Boston boys had serious monkeys riding on their collective backs, but between the extracurricular activities and their own peaking creativity, Aerosmith managed to put it all together into a cohesive group effort with all hands on deck contributing ideas, stellar performances, and boundless enthusiasm for the material at hand.

The proof is in the songs, all with world class production from Jack Douglas, arguably Aerosmith’s version of what Sir George Martin was to The Beatles.

From the opening sounds of Back In The Saddle, Rocks just takes off, takes you by the throat, and never lets go. Rocks is a treasure trove of Aerosmith at their finest…Last Child, Sick As A Dog, Nobody’s Fault, Lick And A Promise, Rats In The Cellar, Home Tonight, Get The Lead Out…no weakness, just diamond strength hard rock at its finest.

Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer…thank you guys for making my teenage years ROCK!

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

AEROSMITH: TOYS IN THE ATTIC

1975 was the year Aerosmith broke big, and by big, I mean BIG…colossally big. They released Toys In The Attic that year, accompanied by the singles Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way. Then a brilliant person in their record company decided to release Dream On from their first album, and we all know how hugely popular that one became.

Needless to say, the bad boys from Boston had ascended to the dizzying heights of rock superstardom with Toys.

The entire album is a highlight reel of great songs and killer performances from Steven Tyler and the lads.

I have to give kudos to some of the lesser known songs, like Uncle Salty, Adam’s Apple, No More No More, and You See Me Crying.

Aerosmith learned how to put together a monster album when they were recording Toys In The Attic, and it remains their biggest seller in the United States, standing at over 8 million in sales.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

“It’s been like 40 years since we’ve been in this thing,” says onetime band member

The History Channel series American Pickers recently unearthed an awesome piece of rock ephemera. A recent episode found hosts Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe stumbling upon a dilapidated van used by rock legends Aerosmith in their early days.

The 1964 American Harvester Metro van, with some sweet R. Crumb-inspired art painted on the side, was found slowly crumbling away in the woods behind a farm in Chesterfield, Massachusetts, a town located just over a 100 miles west of Aerosmith’s home base of Boston.

Aerosmith formed in 1970, and according to Boston.com, the van’s authenticity was confirmed by Ray Tabano, the band’s original rhythm guitarist who was only in the band for a year. Wolfe reached out to his buddy, Black Keys co-founder Dan Auerbach, who sent photos of the van to Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. Tabano then apparently got a call from his old bandmate and made his way over to the farm to confirm its legitimacy.

“I’m afraid to say how long it is, but it’s been, like, 40 years since we’ve been in this thing,” Tabano said, adding, “We’d drive from Boston up to New Hampshire for $125 [per gig]. Then after the gas, the tolls, and the food and back, we’d all make like $3 apiece.”

What’s not known is how the van wound up there. The owner of the property where it was located (identified only as Phil) said it was there when he bought the land from someone who was supposedly connected with Aerosmith. For his troubles, the American Pickers hosts paid Phil $25,000 for the van, with Wolfe calling it “one of the biggest and most iconic pieces of rock and roll history.”

Aerosmith’s First Tour Van from 1964 Found Abandoned in the Woods in Massachusetts

The first album I ever purchased by Aerosmith was Get Your Wings, released in 1974. To this day it is still my favorite, although Toys In The Attic and Rocks are super close. At that time I was a total diehard Kiss fanatic and Aerosmith was supposedly the enemy. They were at the very least the competition. Anyway, I fell in love with Aerosmith upon hearing Train Kept A Rollin’ (a cover of a song originally covered by The Yardbirds). Get Your Wings contains a couple of all time classic Aerosmith tunes, Seasons Of Wither (best ballad they ever recorded in my opinion) and the hard rocking Lord Of The Thighs. This was the record where Aerosmith found their signature sound. Eventually I figured out that they were far better musicians than Kiss and that it is perfectly okay to still love and support both bands. Aerosmith is the soundtrack to my life!

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

On this date in history, 9/21/1998, I saw Aerosmith and Monster Magnet at Deer Creek. This was my 6th time seeing Aerosmith and they delivered an incredible performance like they did every time I saw them.

Monster Magnet were amazing, too…however, they were treated so rudely by the crowd, many of them so closed minded and stuck in their comfortable little box where the only music that matters is what they hear on the radio.

Consequently, I was in the minority as someone cheering as loudly as I could for Dave Wyndorf and his awesome band.  I wish people listened with their ears instead of their preconceived notions. I certainly don’t blame Aerosmith.

I saw Deftones open for KIss one time and Kiss’s audience were just obnoxiously mean to Deftones…damn it, people…the headliner will play when the opening acts are done! Give ’em a break…they’re trying really hard to give you something to accentuate your concert experience! Rant over…but try to keep an open mind. You never know what cool bands you will discover when you least expect it…everyone starts somewhere!

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

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On this date in history, 8/17/2003, my inner teenager was treated to a concert dream come true. Aerosmith and Kiss (with Saliva…who didn’t matter, as we arrived late and missed entirely) appeared together at Deer Creek in a truly epic match up.

When I was growing up and first discovering the joys of rock music, both Kiss and Aerosmith were in the process of conquering the scene, and dominating my formative musical taste. Back in those pre-MTV days, we learned about bands through magazines like Circus, Creem, Hit Parader, and to a lesser degree, Rolling Stone. Word of mouth was key, also, as anyone who saw a great band would have bragging rights and our undivided attention as they regaled us with the sights and sounds of their concert experiences.

Kiss and Aerosmith were direct rivals in those days, and sometimes the bands took shots at each other in the press. I remembered all this and was thrilled to learn that they would be touring with each other and possibly taking the rivalry to the stage in a battle of the ’70’s titans.

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Kiss played first and unleashed a monster set of primarily songs from their first 3 albums, so it was like Kiss Alive! was being performed before our eyes. Of course, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss had been replaced by guys who were forced to wear the classic makeup, a point that I take issue with, but it is the way that Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley want it, so we just have to deal with it. That small complaint aside, it was a great Kiss show, and all these many years into their career, that remains a beautiful thing.

Aerosmith closed out the night with a barrage of greatest hits and classic bad boy swagger. The Toxic Twins (Steven Tyler and Joe Perry) brought their “A” games and they held serve. Each fan will have their favorite of these two monumental American bands, providing endless fun debates, but I like the idea that we all win in this type of scenario. These bands have long since ended whatever war they had going on back in the day, but that competitive nature provided all of us with a concert for the ages.

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 8/2/1988, I saw Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses play a devastating show of hard rock brilliance at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. GNR were riding the insane wave of popularity surrounding their debut album, Appetite For Destruction, and word in the arena prior to the show was that the upstart Guns were set to blow Aerosmith off the stage. This did not happen, but not for lack of effort by Axl Rose and company. At this time, they were still the original 5 piece classic lineup of the band, and they were phenomenal. The energy, the attitude, the songs, everything coalesced into this massively dangerous rock n' roll entity. Axl and Slash were the latest in a prestigious line of singers and lead guitarists that included Mick & Keith, Robert & Jimmy, David Lee & Eddie, and let's not forget Steven & Joe, but more about them in just a minute. As I was saying, Axl and Slash lit it up and had the ravenous crowd in the palms of their hands. At one point, Axl made an impassioned speech about how Aerosmith was one of the only bands that Guns would consider opening for. Aerosmith's bad boy past reputation had paved the way for the new poster children of decadence, and this speech was a great acknowledgement of that fact. After their blazing performance, Aerosmith had no choice but to bring it on full steam ahead, and that is precisely what they did. Steven Tyler galloped around the circular ramp that went up and around the drum set 3 times in a row at top speed, riding his microphone stand like a horse during the beginning of the opening song, and never slowed down for the rest of his time on stage. Joe Perry showed no signs of being intimidated by Slash's playing, unleashing his own sneering attack on a variety of prime axes. While Guns had just one (albeit fantastic) album of songs, Aerosmith had a vault of them and used it to great advantage. All in all, it was a clinic on how American rockers can throw down the jams. Hats off to Aerosmith for bringing along the hottest band on the scene at that time and letting them bring out the best in the headliners.

Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

aerosmith1972.jpgOn this date in history, 6/8/2004, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick teamed up at Deer Creek in Noblesville for an All American demonstration of classic hard rock at its finest.
This was my second time seeing these 2 bands together, my 10th time seeing Aerosmith and 5th time seeing Cheap Trick, so there were no big revelations going on. I knew Rick Neilson would bring out the monstrous 5 necked guitar.
I knew Steven Tyler would have more energy and sing notes that a man his age shouldn’t possibly be able to produce.A-132066-1395584992-7034.jpeg
If you haven’t seen one or both of these bands live, do yourself a favor and go check them out while they are still around and playing concerts. You don’t have to thank me, but you’ll definitely thank yourself.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 5/28/1990, Aerosmith and Joan Jett took the stage at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN.

Aerosmith was touring in support of the Pump album and they were at the absolute peak of their powers at that time.

track16Joan Jett began the show with a solid set of her punk-inspired high energy rock attack. She looked and sounded fantastic, convincing the crowd with no trouble at all that she does indeed love rock ‘n’ roll!

I was thrilled that she played my favorite song of hers, “Bad Reputation.” Her backing band, The Blackhearts, did their jobs well and left the spotlight to the pint sized dynamo.

 

After Jett’s well received set, the bad boys from Boston came out and captivated the crowd with an amazing display of American hard rock. By the time of Pump, Aerosmith had developed a truly rich catalog of songs to choose from.

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The newer MTV hits blended well with the more raw and sleazy classics from their drugged out heyday in the ’70’s.

As always, Steven Tyler was the consummate front man, demonstrating that amazing energy, charisma, and that unmistakable voice.

Tyler and Joe Perry were born to portray the lead singer/lead guitar player roles, leaning in to harmonize on the same microphone, looking every bit the rock stars that they are.

Equally important, but content to stay out of the spotlight, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer set up that bedrock rhythm that anchors so many Aerosmith anthems.

I had always heard that during their earlier years the band was pretty erratic. Depending on what chemicals they were ingesting, you might see either the best show of your life, or the worst.

By the time I finally got to see them, Aerosmith had figured out consistency, and that is why I kept going back to see them over and over.

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History

On this date in history, 5/17/1986, a bunch of my friends and I went to a concert that sparked a debate that went on for years among us.

The argument concerned who was more awesome between Aerosmith and Ted Nugent, who shared the bill on this night at our favorite venue of that time, Market Square Arena.

Getty621Images-97205036Ted took the stage first in his inimitable wild man from Borneo trademark style, all high intensity, ear shredding lead guitar and gonzo stage raps, like an auctioneer on meth. All the classics from “Free For All” to “Stranglehold” were delivered at maximum intensity and volume.

TED NUGENT – Stranglehold

Half of my crowd were convinced that nothing could top this…and then Aerosmith appeared.

Aerosmith2This was my first (of many) times to see the bad boys from Boston, and what a first impression it was.

Hard times had been the rule as opposed to the exception for the past several years in the Aerosmith camp. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had both left the band and tested the waters as solo acts, while Steven Tyler enlisted a couple of hired hands and released an album that still sounded great but failed to yield any hits.

Fast forward to the time of this show and the wayward guitar tag team had returned and the reunited original five recorded and released Done With Mirrors, a solid record, but once again no singles were lighting the charts on fire.

However, on this night, apparently the Nuge brought out the best in Aerosmith, and they came out swinging.

A few songs from the new album were played, but all the magic was in the classics. “Walk This Way”, “Sweet Emotion”, “Last Child”, and the ultimate power ballad, “Dream On”, were infused with stellar performances.

Aerosmith – Dream On

Tyler matched Nugent’s energy, but in a more focused way. My vote was on the Aerosmith side of the coin, as I argued that they played better as a band, whereas Ted was all about, well…Ted!

Ultimately, we all had to concede that this was one rock solid slab of kick ass American music.

A year later and Aerosmith came out with Permanent Vacation and the hit machine was back in a big way.

This show was a preview of a band that was finding its purpose once again and it remains a thrilling memory.

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History