Joe Perry Addresses The Major Difference Between Aerosmith And Led Zeppelin
Aerosmith co-founder and lead guitarist Joe Perry was interviewed by Ultimate Classic Rock recently and talked about many things like being a guitar mentor, finding his voice as a player, and the earlier days of the band.
In 1970, the current frontman of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, met Joe Perry while working at an ice cream parlor and they decided to form a band alongside bassist Tom Hamilton. As Steven had played drums with his earlier bands, he insisted on being the vocalist and the line-up was completed.
During their fifty-year-long career, Aerosmith released fifteen studio albums and embarked on dozens of tours worldwide. The band won numerous awards including four Grammys, ten MTV Video Music Awards, and six American Music Awards. According to the official numbers, Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, selling more than 70 million records in the US.
During the exclusive interview he had with UCR, Joe Perry recalled the days they’d first formed Aerosmith and detailed their differences between other legendary bands, like Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones. According to the lead guitarist, people could relate to Aerosmith because they could come and watch them every night in Boston, unline Stones and Zeppelin.
Perry called Aerosmith ‘America’s garage band’ since they choose to play in suburbs instead of bigger clubs in Boston. Joe also admitted that they were influenced by the cultural phenomenon named ‘British Invasion’ and that’s why they had a sound similar to the English bands, which is the reason why they were ‘looked at as outsiders.’
Joe Perry recalled those days Aerosmith saying:
“We came in at a very weird time. You have to understand that. We were influenced by the second British Invasion. It wasn’t too long ago that I was standing on the stage in Tokyo with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, just the three of us – and then about 40 guys from other bands were standing over there watching us. It’s kind of weird. We came up at kind of a strange time because we were influenced by those bands.
We were listening to ‘Led Zeppelin III’ or ‘IV,’ I’m not sure which one, when we wrote the first song for our first record. So we kind of came up in the middle there, like right at the beginning of the ’70s. We really didn’t start peaking – and the music pulled us there – but it wasn’t until ’74 or ’75 that we started to conquer and become credible, because we’re an American band but we were sounding like an English band. I know that’s why, like in Boston, we were kind of looked at as outsiders.
We didn’t really play the clubs in Boston. We played out in the suburbs. We were America’s garage band. That’s kind of how I look at it. We were the band you could come to see and you could relate to because you couldn’t go to see the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin every night.”
Aerosmith star continued:
“We played all across America and people realized we were actually a different kind of band than Zeppelin or the Stones. Back then, we fell kind of in the cracks. We weren’t the New York Dolls. We were a blues-based rock band and we were influenced by those English bands that came over, like The Who, Yardbirds and we liked what we were hearing, how they were interpreting American music, the American R&B, and blues.
We got kind of caught in the middle there. We played some of the biggest gigs on record, but it wasn’t Woodstock and it wasn’t Monterey. But, I mean, Cal Jam II, there was something like 400,000 people.
Anyway, finally we burned out and it wasn’t until we got back together and started rolling that people started to see us on TV and see that we weren’t Led Zeppelin and we weren’t the Stones. They actually listened to the music, because we didn’t sound like either one of those bands.”
You can listen to the whole interview below.