Joe Perry and Brad Whitford dissect Aerosmith's wild 50-year ride – only in the new Guitar World

december 2023
(Image credit: Neil Zlozower/Atlas Icons)

Fifty years of Aerosmith!

Of course, if you look at the band timeline that starts on page 54 in this issue, you’ll notice we’re actually dealing with 53 years. And if you happen to remember our April 1997 cover (which celebrated Aerosmith’s 25th anniversary using 1972 as the band's Ground Zero), we're suddenly talking about 51 years.

It gets confusing. Let’s just say that – for the purposes of this (awesome) issue – we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Aerosmith's self-titled debut album, the one that gave us Dream On.

But does the exact number really matter anyway? The point is, these guys are still here. And – here’s a true rock ’n’ roll miracle for you – it’s the same five guys. What other major band from that era can make that claim? (OK, maybe U2...)

Often I’ll think about how a band starts out with five friends or relatives from the same place, people who get together because of a unique set of circumstances, all involving a love of music and – most likely – a thirst for fame, and then go on to make magic. Then, about 13.5 years later, they break up; the singer hires five pro musicians, and the guitarist and bass player do the same thing.

I know that’s considered common practice, but if you ask me, something primal and emotional is lost when it happens. And, outside of about five bumpy years in their relatively early days, this never happened to Aerosmith. That, to me, is what’s really worth celebrating here.

Anyway, speaking of Aerosmith...

In two exclusive – and considerably long – interviews by Andrew Daly, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford reflect on their more than five decades as members of the amazing roller coaster ride we call Aerosmith. It's all here – the ruts, the riffs, the solos, the gear, the tones, the breakup, the reunion and so much more (including a few interesting revelations).

We also check in with Joe Perry's guitar tech and hear from an all-star cast of greats, including Brian May, Steve Hunter, Marty Friedman, Nancy Wilson, Zakk Wylde, Nikki Sixx, Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie Martinez, Steve Lukather, Nita Strauss and more.

To top it all off, we have a fresh, completely from-scratch transcription of Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic.

This issue (aka the December 2023 issue of Guitar World) is available right here, right now.

December 2023

(Image credit: Neil Zlozower/Atlas Icons)

Once you're done reading about Aerosmith...

* Robbie Robertson (1943-2023): GW, with a little help from Warren Haynes, selects the late Band legend's 10 essential tracks. (By Alan Paul)

* K.K. Downing: The original "Sinner" takes you behind the scenes of his recent one-off reunion with Judas Priest. (By Jon Wiederhorn)

* The Mars Volta: In 2006, GW called Omar Rodríguez-López one of "the new guitar gods" – not that he sought out, understood or even agreed with the accolades. Anyway, now that we've had 17 years to think about it, we can safely present 10 blazing Mars Volta moments that provre our point (And Omar, you'll just have to sit there and take it!) (By Ryan Reed)

* The Hives: Nicholaus Arson and Vigilante Carlstroem theorize on The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons. (By Gregory Adams)

We also chat with Styx man James "J.Y." Young, Royal Thunder's Josh Weaver, the Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon, Maebe's Michael Astley-Brown, Skindred's Mikey Demus, Annie Shred, Danni Stefanetti and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's Joey Walker. We even check out Jennifer Batten's pedalboard.

We've got reviews of the Blackstar Debut 50R amp, the Sterling by Music Man Valentine Chambered Bigsby, the PRS Modern Eagle V, the Electro-Harmonix Andy Summers Walking on the Moon Flanger and D'Angelico's Deluxe Eric Krasno Brighton.

In Power Tools, Chris Gill explores the history and allure of the Vox AC30.

In our columns section, Joe Bonamassa discusses "Famous Amos," aka his 1958 Gibson Flying V; Andy Aledort shows you how to play Magic Sam's Sam's Boogie;  Andy Timmons shows you how to play Winterland; and Josh Smith explains how to combine chromaticism, diminished patterns and ii - V - I's in a solo.

This issue's other transcriptions (besides Toys in the Attic, that is) are Starcrawler's I Love LA and Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

You can buy new issues of Guitar World at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Hudson News, Books a Million and other stores – and online from Magazines Direct. And, while you're at it, why not save on every issue by subscribing?

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.