For more than 30 years, Aerosmith has defined American Rock and Roll. Just a brief overview of their remarkable career is truly mind-boggling: over 100 million albums sold, countless awards (Grammy's, American Music Awards, Billboard Awards, MTV Awards), and a diehard fan-base in the millions worldwide. As the band embarks on yet another world tour to support their 25th release Honkin' On Bobo, they remain creatively vital, and are the platinum standard for artistic and commercial success in the music business. Through it all they have defeated the odds, silenced their critics and have undeniably withstood the test of time.
It began almost by chance back in 1969, in of all places, Sunapee, NH. Drummer/singer, Steven Tyler, then fronting a NYC band called Chain Reaction, dropped into the local dive, a club called the Barn to check out The Jam Band featuring guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton. Steven was blown away; "The energy was just so intense. I looked and it was like Joe Perry was the electric guitar. If I can put that energy together with something that my father gave me, that classical influence, we might have something." By the next year, the three had joined forces. They recruited Tyler's old Yonkers buddy, drummer Joey Kramer, and christened the new band; Aerosmith, though one key slot remained open. Brad Whitford was a talented young guitarist from the Boston area who seemed destined to round out the Aerosmith line up. "The first time I played with Brad, it just seemed to work." says Joe Perry. "The Chemistry was right."
Brad climbed aboard, and with the legendary line up now in place, the quintet soon set to work establishing their reputation for fiery live shows and bad behavior. Sharing an apartment in Boston at 1325 Commonwealth Ave, the band lived and breathed their music. It was a time when the only sure things in life were the threat of eviction and their shared determination to rock the world. But as their reputation grew, it seemed only a matter of time.
Their time came in 1972 in NYC, the night the band played the legendary Max's Kansas City Club. In the audience that night was the famed record exec. Clive Davis himself, who was so impressed with Aerosmith that he signed them to Columbia Records on the spot. Remembers Tyler "After the show, Clive Davis put his arm around me, gave me a little squeeze and said, (as immortalized in the Aerosmith song No Surprize) 'Steven, you're gonna be a big star.'" They soon released their debut self-titled album, Aerosmith, and took to the road to spread the word, and spread they did. They toured relentlessly over the next two years, taking time off only to record their follow up LP, Get Your Wings, which went Gold. Aerosmith was on their way, it seemed as though nothing could stop them.