Where’s Joe Perry in the featured pic? Yep. He’s been replaced by now. These are dark days for Aerosmith and me.
Wildwood, NJ – Autumn/Winter – 1979
My older sister was off to college and my father had moved the family to the seashore. It was a dark time for me, having been ripped from my life in Philly. My friends, my band, my school. All gone. I basically had to start over in Wildwood. You can read all about that mess and ultimate triumph in the series, Wildwood Daze on this blog.
But, through all of this darkness, my beloved heroes put out a new record. Somehow they put their drugs down long enough to crank out this album. I will note here that Joe Perry quit the band halfway through the making of this record. Steve Crespo plays on many of the tracks, but The original band is pictured on the cover. I thought the cover was awful. I thought the name sucked too. Oh, what’s your next album going to be called? “A Bic in the Cut?” “Dig Ol’ Bicks?” Come on, guys! What’s happening? I’m counting on you!
Aerosmith – Night in the Ruts – 1979
The cover is bleak and the band looks dirty and worn out. Pretty much how I felt much of the winter of 1979 in Wildwood, so I guess it sort of fits.
Let’s go through this album…
- No Surprize: Solid opener to the record. I like it and I think it got some airplay. It’s about how the band came up. It’s good.
- Chiquita: It’s good. But I’m not thrilled.
- Remember (Walking in the Sand): This is a cover of an old Shangri La’s song. It’s not bad, but why this song? Does Steven miss Joe?
- Cheesecake: Just more Chiquita stuff here.
- Three Mile Smile: Fantastic song. Hard rock kick-ass song in the spirit of Rocks. I’m assuming it’s about the near-meltdown out in Pennsylvania. But the guitar work on this song is searing and I love it. The guitar work is outstanding.
- Reefer Head Woman: Another cover here. An old Buster Bennet tune. We get it. It’s about pot. The boys are running out of gas musically at this point. It’s a good song, but I miss the original stuff.
- Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy): This is a solid rocker. I dig this song a lot. It’s got that manic quality that Rats in the Cellar on Rocks had so I’m in on this one. (Incidentally, a Coney Island White Fish is slang for a spent condom.)
- Think About It: Still another cover. This is an old Yardbirds song. But you know what? I kind of love this version. It’s a blast. I can hear the 1960’s sound in there, but the boys supercharged it on this number.
- Mia: This is a sad song about I think Steven’s baby daughter at the time. Nothing’s wrong with her, it just feels sad, like You See Me Cryin’ the final track on Toys in the Attic. It’s a haunting ballad, by an absent, drug-addicted father.
Overall I like this record. I like it better than Draw the Line. But we’d be getting another record in the Spring of 1980, but it wouldn’t be an Aerosmith record.
Wildwood, NJ – Spring 1980
I was sitting in the back of our bass player’s station wagon smoking cigarettes and listening to this on cassette. I was the guitarist in a band called Union Jacks by then, and he and I both loved much of the same music. He kind of reminded me of the bassist from my last band, Renegade, because he was a huge music lover.
The Joe Perry Project – Let The Music Do The Talking – 1980
Was I sad that Joe Perry had quit Aerosmith and their future was uncertain? You’re darn right I was. But… I still had all of their previous albums to make me happy, and anything that even resembled Aerosmith was at least something!
I still loved Joe and wanted to be like him, and I would take what I could get at this point. I really couldn’t complain. I had plenty of Aerosmith music and anything new by anyone in that band was welcome.
This brings us to this album. Let’s discuss. I’m not going to go track by track on this one. But I will say this. Joe put out a rock-solid solo album. This a really good hard rock album. It’s not Aerosmith by any stretch, but it still feels good, and I liked just about every song on this album. There are some real kick-ass tracks on this record. Well done, Joe!
The best ones are: Let the Music Do the Talking, Shooting Star, Break Song, and The Mist is Rising.
Wildwood, NJ – Summer of 1981
Still, nothing from Aerosmith at this point, and the future of the band is unsure. I’m living my life at the seashore, playing in my own band, and working at Hunt’s Pier. Life was good and there’s plenty of rock out there to listen to.
Then this quietly comes out.
Joe Perry – I’ve Got The Rock ‘N Rolls Again – 1981
I really liked his first solo album from last summer and anything was better than nothing at this point. Was Aerosmith finished and all I’d be left with was Joe’s records and my sweet memories from the ’70s?
Joe gives us another 10 new songs to listen to and enjoy. But did we enjoy it this time around? Not really. The songs just aren’t strong enough on this follow-up record. I appreciate that he’s trying, but I’m just not feeling it. I feel like I was the only person who bought this record. Sadly, Joe has withered down to a skinny, frail junkie at this point.
I remember listening to it on cassette on my boombox on the beach. I was with my best friend and lead guitarist from my band. The title track came on and the singer was singing, “I’ve got the rock and rolls again!” My buddy says: “What’s he singing? Is that, I’m a rock and roll chicken?”
I laughed but I can never listen to that song without thinking of that funny bit. Actually, I haven’t listened to that record in over 30 years. If you’re a hard-core fan, go ahead, but it’s just not that good. Joe needs to get off drugs and get himself together at this point.
Whitford St. Holmes – 1981
Here’s something else that was released in 1981, after Brad Whitford also quit Aerosmith. He teamed up with Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent’s band. I didn’t know it existed when it came out. I saw it in a cut-out bin in a record store several years later. I’ve never heard the album, so it can’t be part of this series. I assume if I never heard of it in 1981, and didn’t buy it, no one else did either.
Sorry, Brad. You’re awesome but without Tyler and Perry, it ain’t happening. No one cares… (Oh, and the cover blows)
Check out my Aerosmith playlist.
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