Joe Perry: 'We're at the End of an Era'

"The record companies don’t really invest in the artist the way they used to," Aerosmith guitarist says.

Ultimate Guitar

Like a lot of veteran artists, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has seen his band's album sales drop over the past decade - and he doesn't think the music's to blame.

"The record companies don't really invest in the artist the way they used to," Perry said during an interview with Yahoo! Music (via Ultimate Classic Rock). "In the '70s, you usually had fans that were just sitting and waiting for the next record to come out - and if they didn't like it, they bought it anyway! But that's kind of the way our whole economy is now. It's built on growth instead of quality. It's built on 'out with the old, in with the new - buy the new car because last year's car isn't cool,' rather than build a really good car that will last you as long as it should."

Perry felt that pain personally with the group's most recent studio effort, 2012's "Music From Another Dimension!," which he argued was "one of the best records we'd done in years and years." Looking back on the release, which sold less than a quarter of a million copies in the US, he added, "It was the record that the fans seemed to have been asking for. All these years, over the last 20 years, we'd get these requests, like, 'Why don't you make a record like the old ones?' I think that we got back to the real deal with the last record, but circumstances being what they were, it never got the push that it should have from the label."

Of course, bands have complained about bungled label promotion for about as long as record companies have existed, but Perry sees a paradigm shift at play - as he put it, "I have a feeling that we're kind of at the end of an era, in a lot of different ways."

But that doesn't mean he sees Aerosmith pulling the plug on their recording efforts anytime soon. Although he'll be busy with other activity in the near future, with a solo EP planned for 2015 and his memoir due in October, he thinks the band will get around to putting together a "Dimension!" follow-up at some point.

"I have to think we're going into the studio again, just to lay out some new songs," he mused. "I don't know how it's going to go as far as sales, but as far as us as artists, I think we're gonna have to go in."

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    [i]"In the '70s, you usually had fans that were just sitting and waiting for the next record to come out - and if they didn't like it, they bought it anyway! But that's kind of the way our whole economy is now. It's built on growth instead of quality." Actually, it's the same, because buying an album "even if you don't like it" is a focus on economic growth and consumption and not quality, as Mr. Perry says.
    It took him two sentences to contradict himself completely. That's why rock stars should not talk economics.
    Bad album, Aerosmith fan here, but could barely finish listening to the last record, but I'll always believe these guys have killer potential.
    I'm an Aerosmith fan and all, but can they really blame this on the record company? After all these years their name alone should be enough to sell albums. The quality of the music has a lot to do with it too. Not a fan of their newer stuff, but they've got to shoulder some of the blame too.
    The last record didn't get a push because it sucked. Now, make something along the lines of Rocks with a dash of Draw The Line (Kings & Queens specifically) & people will enjoy new Aerosmith again.
    If this was true, Black Sabbath's "13" wouldn't have been as acclaimed and popular as it is
    neither would other really excellent recent albums from Tom Petty, Paul McCartney or Robert Plant either. The problem with Aerosmith's new album was that it was pretty crappy.
    Record companies don't invest like they used to because the returns on those investments are a fraction of what they used to be. Only the big acts of yesteryears can hope to make any significant amount of money from record sales in this day and age.
    Times change, one needs to change as well. After all, you're doing it for the love of music, not monetary purposes...I hope.
    Shouldn't it be both? You make music for the love of music, but also so that you can make enough money to support and feed yourself so that you can keep making more (and hopefully better and better) music. I understand the whole "Pop artists are compromising themselves artistically to appeal to the masses" argument, but this whole idea that 'if making money is one of your priorities, you're not a true artist' bullshit needs to stop.
    I don't understand why it can't be both? They need to make a living off it (which I'm sure they do with ticket sales, though).
    It wasn't at all like their older albums, it was still overproduced pop rock similar to Just Push Play. Even if they at least got back to Pump era overproduced hard rock I'd be happy. But if Kiss can at least get a similar sound to the 70s, why can't Aerosmith?
    Sorry Joe, I love you guys but the last album sucked, great albums still sell. The Aerosmith of 2014 can't write an album like the Aerosmith of the 70's no matter how much they want to. I loved the 90's stuff as well the 70's in different ways but they're just past that stage of having anything fresh or different to make. There's no shame in that at their ages and not many bands can have 2 separate careers with the same line up and be successful in both as they were. They'll always be rock n roll legends but their time has come.
    It's because most of their fans are around their age and don't go onto music websites or even hear about new Aerosmith albums.
    I would have thought it to be because of how easy it is to find good music, let alone make it. Why should I listen to a few dozen bands when I can listen to a few thousand? Variety is the spice of life etc etc Blame the internet and computers. And on the bright side, we're at the beginning of a new era.