Joe Perry: Traveling Man
Originally published in Guitar World, January 2010
Joe Perry takes a second solo flight with Have Guitar, Will Travel, and hits the road with the Joe Perry Project.
For Aerosmith fans, these are confusing times, indeed. This past November 10, Joe Perry announced that singer Steven Tyler had quit the group. Later that same day, Tyler joined Perry's side project, the Joe Perry Project, onstage at the Fillmore New York and announced "I'm not quitting Aerosmith."
So which is it? Only time will tell.
"Aerosmith are kinda like a family by choice," Perry says. “And as with most families, the people who make it up are not always on the best of terms.”
However you spin it, it’s certainly been a tumultuous few months for the group. In June 2009, Aerosmith embarked on a tour that was beset by cancellations due to various health problems. Guitarist Brad Whitford injured his head and had to miss several dates. Upon his return, bassist Tom Hamilton had to leave the tour to recover from noninvasive surgery. Tyler, for his part, injured his leg on June 28, requiring the cancellation of seven shows. Then, on August 5, the singer sustained head and neck injuries when he fell offstage at a show in Sturgis, South Dakota, forcing the group to cancel its remaining tour dates.
Tyler, who retains his own management and legal representation separate from Aerosmith, has been out of contact with his bandmates for much of the time since his fall, leaving them uncertain of his future plans. In early November, prior to performing with Perry's Project, the singer told Classic Rock magazine he was planning to put time into working on "Brand Tyler".
And now comes a new solo project from Perry: Have Guitar, Will Travel. The disc was written and recorded during downtime after Tyler's injury. The band had originally planned to work on an album during that time, but Tyler pulled out, claiming he was suffering from pneumonia. Says Perry, “There were two and half months booked to do the Aerosmith record, and I knew I could do a solo album in that time if really put the pedal to the metal.”
Ironically, all this happens as the resilient Boston five-piece prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Guitar World sat down with Perry for a candid talk about his new album, the latest incarnation of the Joe Perry Project and whether or not Aerosmith will fly again with, or without, Tyler.
GUITAR WORLD The future of Aerosmith seems to be a hot topic at the moment. What’s happening between you guys and Tyler?
JOE PERRY After his fall, he sent out an email through his managers, which he got because he didn’t want the band’s manager working for him anymore, saying that he wanted to be left alone to rest. I think he really wants to go off and do some other projects. I don’t know for certain because he’s never come to me and said, “Look, I wanna do a solo record.” We’ve never had that kind of conversation. I’m just picking up everything second hand. I know he loves to play with Aerosmith, or at least I know that’s what he used to love to do. But the way I see it, if Aerosmith want to be viable and deliver to the fans what should be delivered, we need to do a studio record with some new material and do a tour behind it.