Aerosmith started as a full-on blues-based rock ‘n roll band. They were America’s answer to The Rolling Stones. So much that even main men Steven Tyler and Joe Perry mirrored Mick and Keith in looks and attitude.
But that was about it. Aerosmith’s career ended up being far more bumpy. The road to success, they decided, would be going full-on pop, which crystallized on albums like Pump and Just Push Play. The bet paid off as hits like “Jaded” and “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” reached glorious heights in the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200 charts.
The band didn’t shy away from other ideas, such as unlikely crossovers, particularly with hip-hop. “Walk This Way,” an earlier hit from Toys in the Attic, was revamped with the beats know-how of Run-D.M.C. and was a massive triumph. “And, we’ve also done songs that were kind of country music,” guitarist Brad Whitford tells Billboard Argentina.
In the late 2000s, after years of enjoying chart success, the band lowered their output, and rumors of retirement began to float about. Steven Tyler’s American Idol tenure as judge and Joe Perry’s comments on the subject only added fuel to the fire. But still, the band toured.
According to Whitford, however, the band is still “going to be playing for the next five years” and will most likely be releasing singles with new tunes: “You don’t have to record a whole CD anymore. We’ve started recording a new song. It’s very rock ‘n roll.”
He also hinted that he’d be open to see the group explore a new type of crossover — with Latin artists. “You can’t ignore Latin rhythms,” he mused.
Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford talks to Billboard Argentina about the band’s future:
Have you been recording lately?
We actually did some recording while we were touring Europe, and we started recording a new song. We were in the studio in London.
It feels like the age of singles again. Everyone is recording singles rather than albums.
Yeah, you know, you don’t have to record a whole CD anymore. So, hopefully, we can put out this one song or two or three.
Do you feel you pioneered the notion of new songs in greatest hits?
It’s a little hard to get used to. The music business has changed so much since we started. You have to do things really differently, We could just release one song and make it available for download. It is a different world in the music business.
Why was this change so big? And how do you feel about the Latin boom?
I don’t hear it that much. But the rhythm is undeniable, and the quality of the music is superior. I don’t think there’s anybody that can ignore Latin rhythm!
Do you think it’s possible for Aerosmith, being so roots rock ‘n roll, to incorporate these kind of rhythms, or rather impossible?
I don’t think it’s impossible at all. I would love to try that.
Well, you did it with hip-hop in the ’80s.
That’s right. “Walk This Way” was very successful. And we’ve done some songs that were kind of almost country music. So, I think we can do it.
What can you tell me of this new song you recorded in London?
This song is a musical idea of Joe Perry’s. We’re doing it very much like we did songs back when we started out. It’s a very rock ‘n roll.
How’s Aerosmith’s health?
Hopefully, there’s five more years. It’s got longer. We’re going to keep playing until we can’t play anymore. (Laughs)