Aerosmith giving it up? Dream on

The iconic rock band includes Israel in its so-called final foray.

Aerosmith (photo credit: PR)
(photo credit: PR)
They keep calling it a farewell tour, but they might not mean what they think they mean.
Aero-Vederci Baby! was the moniker given to the two-month tour of Europe that venerable American rockers Aerosmith have launched that includes a stop on May 17 at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv. However, ever since the seemingly “farewell, so long” tour was announced, the leaders of the one-time Boston bad boys, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, have intimated that the future may still be wide open for the band.
“We’re gonna go out and tour until we’re done,” said guitarist Perry to the AZ Central website ahead of an Aerosmith show in Arizona in March. “And we’re gonna try and hit every place we’ve ever played and never played. There’s always new places to go. New countries. I’d like to play China and the Far East. There’s a lot of places that are off the beaten path. Is this the last tour? Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
Tyler backed up that sentiment when he recently told People magazine that the farewell tour may just be another phase of their more than 40-year career.
“We’ve done so much; one thing we’ve never done is a farewell tour, so you never know — it may wipe the slate clean of some of the problems, things that happen with each other,” he said.
Conceived as an American homage to the blues-based, hardedged guitar rock of The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds, the Boston-based quintet released their first album in 1973 and haven’t strayed too far in the ensuing decades from their patented brand of raunch and roll.
Tyler’s pouting lips and manic stage presence drew immediate comparisons to Mick Jagger, while Perry and co-guitarist Brad Whitford’s no-nonsense weaving style of rhythm and leads conjured up the classic Keith Richards-Brian Jones mid-1960s trademark sound.
“For me, Chuck Berry, the Stones, Yardbirds – they’re what I listened to before I started to write songs,” Perry told The Jerusalem Post prior to the band’s first show in Israel 22 years ago.
The band established themselves as one of America’s premier live acts in the 1970s, with enduring songs like “Toys in the Attic,” “Walk This Way” and “Mama Kin,” as well as their golden ballad “Dream On.”
By the early 1980s, Aerosmith imploded due to lifestyle excess, and it took half a decade until the members cleaned up and reconvened with renewed vigor. A pivotal turning point took place in 1986 when RUN DMC joined Tyler and Perry for a hip hop version of “Rock This Way.” Suddenly Aerosmith was in vogue again, and “phase 2” of their career took off.
Polished, over-produced power ballads and a pop commercial sheen clouded some of their material, but it filled their pocketbooks. Live however, Aerosmith remained a rootsy powerhouse, with the eternally energetic and thin Tyler boosting his legacy as one of rock’s great frontmen.
The band has recorded and toured steadily amid the usual mid-life dramas, threats of breakups, relapses, solo projects, strained relationships and health scares, factors that perhaps Tyler was alluding to as being part of the impetus for the farewell tour.
“The band’s been together for 40 years. Can you imagine?” Tyler said to People. “There are no marriages together for 40 years where the passion still runs as deep as it did the first 10 years, in my humble opinion … But the passion is still there.”
Perry, in his interview with AZ Central, also didn’t sound like someone who was ready to close the door on his life’s work.
“There’s something about a band that’s been together for a long time; you just can’t bottle it. There’s no way you can replace what all this experience gives you…. And I know when my band is playing, we just give it up for the audience. And that’s why it’s never boring playing our hits."
"When I start playing those songs and I see the reaction, it’s never boring… It’s a long time, but when we’re onstage, it feels timeless. It’s funny, I would think I would feel kind of worn out, tired and too jaded to do this, but I don’t feel that way. I feel that way about other things in life, but not the band.”
Aerosmith will perform on May 17 at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv.