It’s taken the Boston blues-rockers more than 10 years to write and record their upcoming album Music From Another Dimension! And in typical fashion for the volatile crew, it’s been a decade marked by feuds, defections, near-breakups and health crises. But for the band’s co-pilots — singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, the onetime Toxic Twins — it’s all been worth it.
“I wish we could have had this album out five years ago or six years ago, but we couldn’t have made this record five years ago,” says Perry during a joint interview. “We needed the experience of doing the things we did — all the side projects that went on, the extra touring that we did. We’ve been touring all these past 10 years. We did a blues record, which is something we always wanted to do. We literally started making this record a couple of times. A bunch of stuff happened.”
That stuff included Tyler and Perry’s very public spat, which began when the singer tumbled off a South Dakota stage in 2009 and culminated with his decision to sign on as an American Idol judge without consulting his bandmates. During the brouhaha, Perry told the media (including me) that Tyler and the rest of the band were not communicating, and they intended to hire a replacement singer while Tyler was unavailable.
Expressing no regrets, the flamboyant frontman suggests the conflict might have been what the band needed to get back on track.
“During the time it’s going down, things can get ugly,” he says. “But if you look at it, it’s like a rudder — it’s what kind of steers the ship. It’s sometimes what it takes.”
For his part, the always-verbose Perry downplayed the spat as a media creation.
“I think much more was made of it in the press than what was really going on. We’re constantly talking to each other,” he says. “It’s like a family. You go through those little things (but) it doesn’t mean that the weekend trip you planned is canceled. Everybody gets in the car and it’s ‘Where’s the beer?’ What’s the big deal?”
Music From Another Dimension! is the big deal. At 67 minutes, the 15-track disc is the longest album of the band’s four-decade career and perhaps the most varied, with touches of country, folk and funk peppered in with their usual modern arena-rockers and power ballads. Mixing new songs with material that dates as far back as the ’90s, the album also finds the musicians celebrating their own past with tongue-in-cheek lyrical and musical callbacks to hits like Walk This Way, Train Kept A-Rollin’ and Dream On — and welcoming VIPs like Julian Lennon, Johnny Depp and Carrie Underwood.
“There’s something for everybody,” Tyler proclaims. “And that’s probably as commercial as you’re going to get Aerosmith ever being."
Music From Another Dimension! is out Nov. 6. Aerosmith return to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre Nov. 27, with more Canadian dates undoubtedly in the offing.
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