Music From Another Dimension! is the first new set of original Aerosmith songs in a decade. It has been a long time since the band have been in the studio and Joe Perry will tell you there have been several reasons for that: No time in the schedule; producers not coming up with the goods; internal bickering; and the simple fact of life getting in the way. But the new albumv — if "Legendary Child," the first single is any indication—has all the earmarks of their earlier classic releases like Toys In the Attic and Rocks. All five guys were in the studio at the same time banging it out while Jack Douglas, the producer responsible for the group’s landmark albums, put it all on tape. For the first time in a long time Perry is excited about what the group has produced and he wants to talk about it. In the midst of their first tour of the U.S. in some four years, the guitarist found time before a gig in New York to explain what the band has been doing for the past 10 years and why it has taken them so long to make an albums the fans have been waiting for.
UG: It has been 10 years since you released Just Push Play. When you went into record Music From Another Dimension! did you take into account how much music had changed in the past decade? Did that influence the songwriting at all?
Joe Perry: After that first time around, that generation of music changed pretty fast. Disco came out and punk came out and we’re amateur musicologists so we know that there are trends. When you’re in the middle of it and you see it happen, even in our genre there are those times when this band is the hottest or that band is the hottest. And there’s always a new one coming up. So you kinda like pay attention and listen to what’s going on but we’ve always pretty much stuck to what we do. Every couple of years somebody will say, “Hey, I hear guitar music is back” and we’ll all kind of laugh because it’s really all about the songs.
Aerosmith have always been successful because of their songs.
Then it’s like a new generation of kids coming up and they’re playing the same chords and the same guitars and they’re just putting a different melody on it. You can tell this one’s spent a little more time listening to some of the blues and that one’s spent a little more time listening to Bon Jovi. There’s a lot of different things going on out there but when we go in we’re pretty much self-contained and trying to make the best Aerosmith music we can make.
So it’s more about being aware of new sounds but not necessarily being influenced by them.
Certainly there are things we bring to the table. We’re not music snobs or techno snobs as far as using new equipment or only wanting to record on tape. We are very conscious of the sounds and if we hear something that comes along that doesn’t meet with what works for us sound-wise then we have to take a look at it. But we’re open and we’re listening to different things. We listen to different music and we’re certainly influenced by it mostly in a positive way. Just because it’s encouraging to hear that some of the basic things that we like about this kind of music isn’t going away. We see that in the fans and the bands coming up making the music. We listen to it but when we’re in the studio working it’s really about trying to get the best out of us we can get.
When you look back at the Just Push Play record 10 years later, how does it hold up for you?
We’ve made records probably every way you can make them from literally having the band turn on their amps and the producer turning the machines on and recording. The first couple of records were mostly songs we played in clubs or wrote on the spot because we needed a few extras. To making a record like Just Push Play where we kinda demo’d the songs and everybody kinda came in and put their parts on and everything in-between.
What process works best for Aerosmith?
What we found out and what I think a band really is is when they’re in there making music together. You can put a picture on the cover of an album; you can put a title on it; and you can put songs on it. But unless the band’s really in there living, breathing, kicking, fighting and being dynamic whether it’s for an audience or for microphones, it isn’t the band.
Is that the approach you used on Music From Another Dimension!?
That’s what we tried to do with this record. I think we got away from that slowly over the last decade just experimenting and trying different things. Looking for different places for inspiration. What this new record is is the culmination of 10 years of trying to make this record.
There were a couple of false starts with Music From Another Dimension!?
We got together six years ago and started working on new tracks with Jack Douglas and we ran out of time. The circumstances weren’t right and we ended up doing Honkin’ On Bobo. Then we went through some ups and downs, some thicks and thins and then just went in the studio with Brendan O’Brien for a month. Again every time we did that we brought along some of the old licks, wrote some new ones, put some stuff down on tape, demo’d some things but the Brendan O’Brien thing didn’t work out. So this is really the culmination of 10 years of wanting to do a record but the timing just wasn’t right. Whether it was a physical thing and people were sick and whatever—life. And touring and all that. Everything kind of lined up for this one.
You knew you wanted to work with Jack Douglas again?
Jack was available and we had a bunch of riffs and songs we had accumulated. It was a really interesting process because we did the record pretty much how we did probably Toys In the Attic. The whole band got in a room with Jack and everybody had riffs; everything from riffs to songs to completed songs to literally one riff. But we all got in the studio and kind of slapped it all together. Then last summer we laid down I’d say about 20 tracks of basics and then we went on the road, which was really a gift. Because we got a chance to play in front of some of the best crowds we ever played for in South American and then onto Japan.
Taking that time away from the studio gave you a better focus on the music when you returned to the studio?
Taking that energy back into the studio and looking at the basic tracks and going, “Well this one really works; this one needs work.” So if you compress it all together and did it over the period of two or three months, it was the same kind of paradigm or the same kind of schematic so to speak of one of those early records. Working in the studio with Jack; getting the basic tracks done; letting that stuff simmer; and then Steven and I going off and finishing the tunes. Him finishing lyrics and me polishing up some guitar things and then mixing it and that’s basically what we did.
Working with Jack Douglas again brought back that feeling of working on the Toys In the Attic and Rocks albums?
That side is always there. There’s so many different facets to any artist when they go into the studio. It depends what facet you want to polish. We’ve been on the road and touring constantly over the last 10 years as much as we could. And that side like I said where a band really lives and Jack wants to get that essence. That’s the hard part. Anybody can go in and lay parts down and build tracks and you don’t have spent three years working your ass off in clubs to go in and lay tracks down and make potentially great music. But it’s another thing to capture an essence of five guys that have worked together for 40 years and get some of that indefinable magic and try and get it on tape and that’s always been Jack’s job.
You actually co-produced Music From Another Dimension! with Jack Douglas.
We co-produce the records and we know what we want to sound like but then we turn to somebody who’s not in the middle of it all of the time for feedback and to hold up the mirror sometimes and throw in some new ideas. We’re pretty with Jack at doing that so this is the record we’ve been wanting to make and we’ve been trying to make for the last 10 years.
“Legendary Child” is the first track that has been released from Music From Another Dimension! This is the first original song fans have heard from Aerosmith in many years. Is it meant to re-introduce the band here in 2012?
We have a lot of different styles on this and all of it is Aerosmith. We have the funk stuff; the mid-tempo rockers; we’ve got some ballads and just some different kinds of music on there. But this particular song seemed to have a little bit of everything. It’s like when a band’s really young and you hear their first couple of records, you can kind of hear their influences. Again if you’re any kind of student of music and music history you can kind of hear what influenced them and what they’re not playing and what they are playing and that kinda thing. When you get to be a band like us you start to see the lineage of the kinds of things we like. It’s one of the things that gets harder to have it sound inspired.
And not sound like you’re copying something you already did.
But I think there are things that sound like Aerosmith on this song. Between the funk kind of half-step rhythm to the melodies, you can see the lineage going back.
Do you think there’s any kind of a “Walk This Way” groove in the verse of “Legendary Child”?
"Every couple of years somebody will say, “Hey, I hear guitar music is back” and we’ll all kind of laugh because it’s really all about the songs."
Well I know what influenced those songs way back when. I was a fan of those New Orleans funk bands and that probably inspired me to write “Walk This Way.” But we had a tradition of playing James Brown songs and some Sly Stone songs. So we kinda mixed that in with our basic blues rock thing. Which put us apart a little bit from our contemporaries. So yeah, there’s a bit of that in there.
Didn’t “Legendary Child” also end up in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie?
This particular song was the closest to being done when we went into record it. And as it turned out there was a chance for it to be in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie. They needed to hear the whole thing done before they could say, “Yeah, we wanna put it in there.” I was going around to some different people talking about some soundtrack work and this possibility of getting an Aerosmith song in a movie came up. I played them the instrumental part of the track and they said, “Well, sounds great. What’s the rest of it?” So we went in the studio and over the weekend Steven stepped up to the plate and finished it off and put the final touches on it and it worked. So it kind of went hand-in-hand.
So “Legendary Child” became the first single and a cut in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation movie.
This was a song we had our eye on as the first song out just because of what we talked about—it representing what the band does. But as it turned out it worked great for G.I. Joe so it was gonna be a double whammy. As it happened they decided to hold the movie back but we were gonna go with the song anyway so we did. And I think it’s a pretty good representation. I think it would have been a mistake to put one of the ballads out there or something’s that a little harder rocking so to speak. The song is great to play live and that’s the other thing.
Have you always thought about how a song will translate from the studio to the stage?
We really got into that headspace because we toured last year and we were thinking, “How are these songs gonna go down live? How are we gonna play ‘em? How are they gonna turn into the vehicles for our live show?” That always played a big part in how we put the songs together in the ‘70s because basically that was it, man. You either played the songs live or if you were lucky it got on the radio. There was no Internet; no download; no mp3. Commercials? C’mon, there was nothing. People have been putting songs in movies but the kind of music we make, you never heard it in movies. So the outlets for your music were pretty narrow. Live was important and just as important today as it ever was. So yeah, we thought about how these songs are gonna play live.
You’ve been performing “Legendary Child” live?
“Legendary Child” was definitely holding up as we played it. We’re playing one other song in the set that’s new that’s called “Oh Yeah.” It’s another kind of trademark, straight-ahead rocker. We’ll probably put a few more songs in the set before the album comes out.
You mentioned earlier about the funk influences in Aerosmith. You covered the Temptations’ “Shakey Ground” on Music From Another Dimension!?
We had a lot of fun doing that. That’s one that we talked about doing over the years. We’ve got a short list of, “Someday we’ve gotta cover this one and someday we gotta cover that one.” That was on the list and when we were thinking about covering a couple of songs, this was a no-brainer. We really had a lot of fun with that.
In talking about covers, Honkin’ On Bobo was an entire album of covers except for “The Grind.” What made you decide to do those songs?
There were some of those whatever you want to call it—blues rock or rock blues tunes—that we’ve all loved and we all brought some of our favorite stuff to the table and that was it. We started off working on new material but the way the schedules were working out and like I said life was going on out there, we didn’t have time to settle down and do an all-original studio album. We did have a fair amount of time. Jack had put the time aside and it seemed like the logical thing to do that because that was one of the things we had talked about doing for a while.
You listened to those early blues musicians like Sonny Boy Williamson and Joe Williams?
Yeah, I mean wherever I am there’s at least a Muddy Waters or Chuck Berry record around. I mean you can count on that. I always have to be able to lay my hands on some of that stuff. It’s really the touchstone and then you dip back a little farther and you hear what influenced those guys. I’ve done a fair amount of homework and I keep it with me.
You mentioned life going on out there while you were recording Honkin’ On Bobo. Did Steven Tyler’s commitment to American Idol get in the way of recording Music From Another Dimension?
We went to L.A. while he had his thing for American Idol and he would come off the set of that and come down to the studio. He only had to work two days a week at American Idol so the rest of the time we were working on the record. Even though it was stretch out the dynamic was the same and we really had a chance to massage these tracks and we were working on it right up until the tour. We’re listening to the masters now and it’s done and ready to go. We pushed the release date back a bit so we could really set it up right. Because we realized there’s a whole new generation of fans out there and a lot of people that haven’t seen the band and a lot of people for one reason or another were aware of the band but never had a chance to see us. Because it’s been three years since we played in the States, which is a long time for us. So there’s a lot of energy around this record and all the controversy that has been going on, most of it has just been blown out of proportion but where there’s smoke there’s fire.
You were also involved in some other projects as well?
I had quite a few things out there between the Amnesty International record [Perry covered Bob Dylan’s “Man Of Peace”] to all different kinds of side projects and Steven doing his TV thing. There’s a lot of interest in the band right now. I can feel it when we go out onstage.
You recorded a solo album, Have Guitar, Will Travel in 2009.
Pretty much everything I’ve put on the solo records—no, not everything, I’d say two-thirds—I’ve run by the band at one point or another in the course of events. And then the rest of ‘em, I just like the idea of being able to lay something down and not have to turn my head and go, “What do you think of this?” I just usually bring it upstairs and play it for my wife and my kids. [laughs] If they’re downstairs listening to me play the stuff, they give me feedback. But that’s why I do it because I’m constantly writing and constantly just coming out with stuff.
The solo records become outlets for the music Aerosmith doesn’t use?
In the ‘80s and ‘90s it was pretty much a 24/7 job building Aerosmith back to where we should be and then surpassing where we were. So I pretty much had my hands full. But the red album [Joe Perry] and Have Guitar, Will Travel, those records because of the timing and what was going on with Aerosmith, I had a large assortment of things to choose from. I guess that’s the best way to put it. I really needed to get that out there ‘cause for a while there I was thinking, “Maybe I should just leave it in the studio and we’ll put it all out someday.” But then I started thinking, “Well there’s a lot more coming so we gotta keep this stuff moving.” I found myself getting more and more prolific over the last 10 years. I mean this last six months out in L.A., I probably wrote more new material than say the last two years.
You were psyched about writing songs for Music From Another Dimension!?
Not just working on the record but hanging out with a lot of talented musicians like film composers. Being involved with the movie side of things and soundtracks and rubbing elbows with some of these musicians that I just never would bump into living in Boston. It was a really creative time and the hotel we were staying at had a studio.
The Sunset Marquis.
Yeah, the Sunset Marquis had a studio in the basement and I had a Pro Tools rig set up in my room. So stuff was just pouring out and it was a really creative time hanging out there.
Any new solo albums you might be releasing?
There’s a Best Of record on the horizon probably within the next year. But the main thing I’m doing is I’m finally gonna do an autobiography. That’s looming up right now and actually carving out time to settle down and write it. It’s gonna take a big hunk of my time. There’s some really great ideas coming out about kind of dovetailing it with some original music as well. That’s something that some of the new technology is allowing us to do and it seems like every month there’s a new level of being able to mix the media up. Put video with audio and it’s pretty incredible what’s out there and I’m really excited to get into it.
What will the book be about?
It’s gonna hit on a lot of different levels. It’s gonna hopefully be from my point-of-view as accurate as we can make it. After reading about 40 biographies and autobiographies, there’s some things I liked and some things I didn’t like and I’m gonna bring a lot of that to the table. It isn’t just gonna be another rehash of the old stuff. When you talk about “Walk This Way” you’re talking about maybe 10 years of our career and we’ve been around for 40 years and there’s a lot of history there that hasn’t even been touched on.
The Aerosmith legacy could fill a lot of books.
"We have a lot of different styles on this and all of it is Aerosmith. We have the funk stuff; the mid-tempo rockers; we’ve got some ballads and just some different kinds of music on there."
I’d like to have it operate on a couple of different levels. Trying to find out what makes me tick and I’m not even sure yet. The writer I’m working with, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right guy who gets the story. I think there will be some technical aspects to it but we’re not gonna dwell too much on that obviously ‘cause not everybody wants to hear what kind of microphones I used on this amplifier of those kinds of things. But certainly there will be some of that in there because I miss some of that in some of the other autobiographies. So there’ll be that but I think the most important thing is trying to keep the chronology straight and some technical things like that. Because music plays such an important part in people’s lives and when you talk about a song people like to think about where they were when they first heard the song. What it meant to them and what it meant to me.
A lot of people have memories about first hearing Aerosmith songs and where they were in their lives.
I’ve said in interviews before where we’ll be onstage and play “Mama Kin” and I think about where we were when we wrote it or rehearsed it or recorded it. So in a lot of ways I’m approaching this book like a fan because I am. It’s gotta come from the heart, it’s gotta be real and it’s gotta be as accurate as I can make it. Part of it I have a picture of what’s gonna be in there and then some of it is going to be a journey as well of discovery. So there will be a little bit of everything in there.
You talked earlier about the advancements in technology. Can you talk a little bit about how you approached your guitar playing and tones on Music From Another Dimension!?
In some ways it was the same way I did the very first album. We were pretty much amateurs on the first record or two and then we kind of learned as we went. I start with going for what the song needs and then try to go down that road as far as I can. Some of the guitars that I used on tracks in those days are on this record. But it’s really about what sounds good and how it resonates. Just like there are some of the old guitars on there, [there are some new guitars.] I met a guitar maker out in California that literally made a guitar the previous week, walked in the studio with it in a case and handed it to me. I plugged it in and used it ‘cause it sounded great and it worked.
You’re willing to try whatever it takes to make a track work?
I’m not a techno snob like I said but I am fastidious about the right tone for the right job. There’s some really interesting sounds on this record and I really had a lot of fun doing that. I kind of go, “Well where do I do my best work?” The answer is down in my own studio where I can really cut loose without the pressure and probably thinking about something else.
Do you think you’ve gotten better at creating different guitar tones and matching them to the style of the song?
Well it gives you a place to start at least and especially having so much time. Brad was out playing with the Experience Hendrix Tour out on the road so he was playing all the time and fine-tuning his sound. And I had done solo records and a lot of experimenting with that. I played with the Project a bit and hit the road with them in the last few years. Playing with that Amnesty International thing I got to play some live gigs so all that stuff comes into play. You go into the studio and yeah, you do have this vocabulary.
Were there times when you did get a sound together but it didn’t work for the track?
You try and start there but sometimes you set it up and it just doesn’t work and then you start experimenting. You kind of go, “This worked with that and we got this sound here.” But then every song’s a totally different animal. So sometimes you go in there thinking, “Well this is the sound we’re gonna use. I’ll call up ahead and say, ‘Look, we’re gonna set this up and put these two amps together and get it dialed up and I’ll be down in half-an-hour.’” I plug it in, we go and it just doesn’t work. But that’s part of the fun of it and being fast on your feet and letting that be an inspiration as opposed to a tail drag.
Did you actually record guitar tracks in your home studio?
We did cut some of the tracks down in my studio but Jack kind of has this attitude of having a comfortable place and keeping the pressure off and just letting us do what we do best. Which is pretty much why we wanted to work with him. So that was it and getting in there and whatever time of day works the best. If I’m feeling hot at two o’clock in the morning, that’s when we’d go in to get this track or that track. If it’s not feeling right we’d move onto something else.
Was there a main guitar and amp rig that you used for the album?
On Honkin’ On Bobo I used an Epiphone Casino; that was pretty much my go-to guitar for that record. There was a Strat and a Les Paul here and there and the odd whatever. On this record I got hold of an Epiphone 175. It looks like a 175 and is a short-scale Gibson and it’s from the ‘60s with the mini-humbuckers. That thing has so much bite to it. I’d say most of my basic tracks were done with that guitar. It just worked great. One guitar that I used quite a bit besides that Epiphone was my ’57 V-neck Strat. It’s really an amazing guitar and I played that a lot on this record as well. A lot of solos came off of that guitar.
What was your main amp setup?
They’re kind of rare but I used a three-speaker mid-‘50s Bandmaster. Those were pretty much the go-to pieces. Usually I would have some kind of a Vox sitting next to it or one of the boutique amps that somebody would bring in. Either an Allesandro or the people at Budda gave me a couple of nice combos. So that was it but the Bandmaster was pretty much the main one.
You talked about not being a techno snob so it’s safe to assume you recorded digitally?
You can’t deny the flexibility you get in the digital world. But what we did was we used this new system called the Clasp System. You have a 24-track tape machine running all the time and you’re running through a Royer ribbon mic and a Shure 57 for up close going into either a Spectrasonics mic pre or a Neve mic pre. Then it goes through the 24-track tape machine running at 15 ips then into Pro Tools. It’s pretty much how we did it.
You think digital recording has improved over the years?
I think the way the Pro Tools is now it pretty much reproduces what you put into it. So you have to be really conscious of that because it doesn’t do that natural thing that tape does. So you gotta like be careful to feed it what you want to hear. Going through tape on the way in is one of the pieces—you take one piece out and leave the rest in you might not notice it. But it’s really the sum of all those things. Everything from using the right mics; putting the mics in the right place; and all that stuff comes into play. So the new technology is great and makes editing, comping and keeping track of things like that so much easier. You’re not lugging around 10-pound reels of tape and that kind of thing and having to stop to rewind and clean tape heads. Computers have their own batch of problems too like crashing and stuff. You just pray that they hit save all the time.
For a long time you said that your playing on Rocks was the best you’d ever put on record. Your body of work is so huge with all the solo albums and everything. How would you characterize what you did on the Music From Another Dimension! album?
I think some of the stuff on this new record and obviously I’m gonna say, “Yeah, this is the best record we’ve ever done and my best playing.” I think there’s some moments on this record that I feel like are inspired. I’ve done, like you said, playing on a lot of records and certainly there’s a certain standard that works. But there’s a couple of moments where you go, “I don’t know where I was and I don’t know where that came from.” I know there are a few of those moments on this record. Without you having heard the record it’s hard to say which one. But there’s one solo on “Can’t Compare” off the red solo album.
Can you talk about how you approach soloing?
I’m a big believer in getting out of your own way when playing solos and songwriting in general. But for soloing the more you think about it, the more it’s a natural tendency to self-edit. The more you can get out of your own way and let your heart go right to your hands without having to take the shortcut through your brain is the best way to get the best stuff.
That’s what you did on the “Can’t Compare” solo?
"Unless the band’s really in there living, breathing, kicking, fighting and being dynamic whether it’s for an audience or for microphones, it isn’t the band."
We were getting set up to do that solo and had done pretty much what we talked about—we got this guitar which was the Mary Kaye relic and it had worked before with this particular amp but I hadn’t tried it yet. So I said to Paul Caruso, my engineer, who passed away sadly, “Run the track and let’s see how this sound works.” He ran it and I played and the track finished and I said, “I hope that was in record.” And he said, “You know I record everything.” It was like I couldn’t have played it better and I didn’t even try. I mean it was just one of those things where one note led to the other and it said so much about how I was feeling. I still listen to that and go, “I don’t know where that came from.” I’m not talking about a ripping it up, tearing it up solo. There was a lot of air in it and it’s what’s between the notes to me that matters so much. And in that solo you can hear it—each little statement kind of leads to the next one and there’s a certain coherence to it that I just couldn’t have planned.
Songs like “Walk This Way” and “Mama Kin” and “Back in the Saddle” have become Aerosmith classics that you still perform today. Do you think there are tracks on Music From Another Dimension! that will become the classics of tomorrow?
I have to think so because those songs you mentioned were put together with the band and everybody’s on those songs. Brad’s responsible for some of those solos and some of the rhythms and some of them I did. But it’s a group effort and on this one I think we pushed the bar higher. From what I’ve heard about what people like—we’re talking about the rockers and guys like you that are listening to those things—I think the majority of this record are those kinds of songs. There are probably three or four songs that actually have almost the whole band on them as songwriters because we were all in the room. One of the songs that Steven sings I wrote and I wrote everything: lyrics and everything. We just went around and picked all the best fruit, man. But it felt good because it came from the band.
You did work with some outside songwriters: Jim Vallance co-wrote “Legendary Child,” Desmond Child co-wrote “Another Last Goodbye” and Diane Warren wrote “We All Fall Down.”
Even though there are some outside songwriters on there, how that happened is sometimes the basic guts of a song might have been written with an outside writer. But all the stuff that really gives it the personality and the flavor on this record is different than on other records. Where we worked with the other songwriters right up until the final track. We took riffs like “Legendary Child,” the opening riff I wrote 20 years ago. It actually appears in another song and we liked that riff so much, we wanted to use it and so we put it in some different places. When we started playing this other song, we realized, “Hey, wait a second. It goes to the riff to ‘Legendary Child.’” So we left it in there.
That sounds like something Aerosmith would have done back in the day.
It sounds a little different but it’s still the same basic melody and the same structure. But we went ahead and left it in because it felt right and it worked right. So we took some liberties like that. We didn’t go back and go, “Oh, that’s against the rules. You can’t use that riff more than once.” But I think there are a lot of songs like that. Tom has a couple of songs on the record and one of which he sings and does a duet with Steven [“Lover a Lot.”] I think people are gonna be really happy with this record as far as, “Why don’t you go back to basics and make a record like the old ones.”
Have you truly captured the essence and passion of records like Toys In the Attic and Rocks?
You can never do that. One of the things that makes those records what they are is age and they’ve been around for so long. You can never have another “Walk This Way.” You can certainly have a song that has that funk and that kind of breathing room between the riffs and has a great melody and all of that. But it’s never gonna be “Walk This Way” and it won’t be for another 40 years [laughs.] But it works you know what I mean? And I think there’s a lot of songs like that on the record. I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually enjoyed listening back to a record at this point in its making. Usually by now I’m so sick of it with the writing, recording and mixing and all of that—the editing and mastering, I’m so sick of hearing those songs. But I’m actually getting off on listening to the record. For me that’s saying something.
You have a show tonight? Do you ever get nervous anymore?
Yeah, we’re on our way to Albany, New York. Not really. Not other than I get excited and I don’t get excited until I hit that first chord. It’s that hour beforehand and I never seem to have enough time to get everything ready. I’m very superstitious about being sure that everything’s right then I get out there and I can let go of everything. But as far as that sometimes it’s more nerve-wracking in an odd situation than going on and playing tonight. I mean I’m just thinking about some of the songs we’re gonna do and how I can make ‘em better or watching tapes back, which I hate doing. It’s a chore but I know it fast-tracks the show to another level. So I spend some time listening to that and making sure the tones are right and how the sound guy is doing it. And Billie, [Joe’s wife] I rely on her judgment because she’ll tell me if it sucks right off the top or if it’s good or whatever. She’s out at the soundboard. We have a lot of the same tastes in music so I know when she says something about a certain way that this Strat sounds or that sounds, I know what she’s talking about. It’s impossible for me to be out there to really hear it. So that is the only part I really kind of obsess about—getting the songs right so they work right for me. I know if they work right for me they’re gonna hopefully connect with everybody else out there.
What is the first song in the set?
”Draw the Line.” We’re pretty much doing the set we did in South America and Japan because it worked so well for us. We just kind of changed things around a little bit and plugged in a couple of new songs but we used that as the basis just to get the ball rolling. It changes and slowly morphs over the course of the tour. But we’re doing pretty much the same show or at least the same set of songs that we did when we were in Japan.
Interview by Steven Rosen
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