Guitar god Joe Perry stopped by the Billboard studios recently to talk about his highly anticipated new memoir, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith and his combustible relationship with the band’s frontman Steven Tyler.
Written with David Ritz over a year and a half period, Rocks is not your typical sex, drugs and rock’n’roll autobiography. It’s a thoughtful book in which Perry writes of his love of nature — he wanted to be a marine biologist when he was a kid — and candidly confronts the human costs of his booze-and-drugs period instead of glorifying them.
Despite his long-standing rep as one of rock’s sex symbols, 64-year-old Perry also reveals that he wasn’t really into the groupie scene. “Using the rock and roll thing to try and up my chances was not one of the things I took to heart. I was always kind of a one-girl guy, and I was always looking for the right girl. And I finally found her,” he tells Billboard about second wife Billie Paulette Montgomery, whom Perry married in 1985. “We have a 30-year marriage, we’re able to raise kids in the middle of this insanity, and we’re still going strong.” A picture of Billie even adorns one of Perry’s guitars.
Perry’s relationship with Tyler is not nearly so rosy. Although he describes Aerosmith’s flamboyant frontman as “the brother I never had,” their relationship often resembles a bitter sibling rivalry. He explains that some of the things that Tyler wrote about him in his 2011 memoir, Does The Noise in My Head Bother You? “were way off base,” adding, “I know the guy so well I really shouldn’t [be surprised], but he never fails to amaze me with some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth.”
At the time Perry spoke to Billboard, he had yet to show the book to any of his bandmates, and says he couldn’t predict how Tyler would react to it. “One thing I’ve learned about Steven is that I’ve never been able to figure him out,” Perry says. “I think there’s going to be stuff he’s going to take exception to, [but] it will probably be just the opposite of the stuff that I think it is.”
Watch Perry’s video interview with Billboard below: