[As of this week, I'll be on with my rock 'n' roll pal Kaedy Kiely at 97.1 The River every Wednesday at 6:50 and 7:50 a.m. to talk about the latest rock news. Tune in to see what's up!]
Aerosmith is in the midst of a gut-kicking tour and Steven Tyler just announced that he’s departing “American Idol” to return to his first love as Aerosmith’s ringleader. But what Joe Perry really wants to talk about is the band’s new album.
“I’m really anxious to hear what fans have to say about it. It’s different than anything we’ve done in a long time, but the energy that runs through rock ‘n’ roll has stayed constant through all the years. Mostly by now I’m so sick of listening to the [new] songs, but now I’m listening for the fun of it,” Perry said.
He’s calling – coincidentally – an hour after Tyler publicized his decision to vacate his post as a judge on “Idol,” and Perry has some thoughts about that. And about Aerosmith’s current tour, which plays Philips Arena Thursday with Cheap Trick opening.
But still, for a few more minutes, talk revolves around “Music from Another Dimension!”, the band’s first record of new material since 2001’s “Just Push Play,” due Nov. 6.
The first single, “Legendary Child,” comes equipped with a mini-movie video that uses roller derby girls to tell the band’s story – and it’s a story tagged with a “to be continued…” coda.
Perry, 61, views the video as a new way to reach a younger generation, a group which, interestingly, Aerosmith has never had much of a problem courting thanks to parents handing down the band’s musical legacy. They’ll also play “Legendary Child” and another new track in concert.
“Every time we go out with a new record, we’re re-educating a new generation of fans to the band. A lot of classic rock band don’t have much of a presence now. Then there are the living, breathing bands that create all the time,” he said.
The band performed “Legendary Child” on the season finale of “Idol” last year and the song later debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Digital Songs chart and No. 32 on the Mainstream Rock chart – neither an easy feat for a veteran act.
While Perry believes that Tyler’s “Idol” tenure made “people on the street” more aware of the band, he said he hasn’t seen an “obvious jump” in younger concert attendees – any more than usual – that would point to an “Idol” effect.
“We really saw it when we did ‘Guitar Hero’ [in 2008]. That really hit our demo,” he said.
So speaking of “Idol,” Perry hadn’t yet talked to his friend about his decision but didn’t sound too surprised to hear about it.
“I know he really wanted to go back to the show if they asked him, but when the record started gathering momentum and the thought of going out and being locked into another year…as much as he enjoyed doing [‘Idol’], I think he missed being in the band full time,” Perry said, quickly adding, “Not that I ever felt he wasn’t present 100 percent for the band.”
Aerosmith – particularly Tyler and Perry – have long maintained a brotherhood fraught with bickering, but their bond is apparently unbreakable.
Perry recently signed a deal to write his autobiography – likely out in fall 2013 – and said he plans to be candid about the band’s notorious history.
“I expect there will be a fair amount about me and Steven, considering I’ve spent a good part of my life with him and three other guys,” Perry said. “The reality of writing it is starting to sink in, but I’m mostly wondering how much I want to put in the book and what to keep out.”
Aerosmith plans to play another short round of dates before the holidays and is discussing a world tour in 2013 that will bring them back to the U.S. with a show spotlighting the new material.
The train, obviously, is still a-rollin’.
Aerosmith with Cheap Trick
7:30 p.m. Thursday. $49.50-$149.50. Philips Arena, One Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.