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Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013

Aerosmith Set Aside Their Differences

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It took Aerosmith 11 years to release an album of new original material, Music From Another Dimension, but the album could have easily not happened at all. As singer Steven Tyler explains, the band’s future fell into doubt about four years ago, after Tyler fell off of the stage at an Aug. 5, 2009 show in Sturgis, S.D., breaking his shoulder and hurting his neck and head. The rest of the band was angry at Tyler for the fall, which prematurely ended what was shaping up to be a successful tour. Tyler, meanwhile, was upset that his bandmates did not communicate with him better or provide more support in the aftermath of his injuries. That November, guitarist Joe Perry announced that Tyler had left Aerosmith.

That announcement turned out to be premature. Later that month, Tyler joined the Joe Perry Project on stage at a show at Irving Plaza in New York City and insisted he was not leaving Aerosmith. Sure enough, in 2010, Aerosmith returned to the road for a 40-date tour. But then came more questions in fall 2010 when reports surfaced that Tyler was working on a solo album, and soon after, Tyler announced he was joining “American Idol” as a judge. Around this period, Tyler also flirted with becoming the singer for a possible Led Zeppelin reunion tour.

Tensions had cooled by the summer of 2011, when Aerosmith—with Tyler—began work on Music From Another Dimension. Any further questions about Aerosmith’s future evaporated in spring 2012 when the band announced its summer “Global Warming” tour and that summer when Tyler revealed that he was leaving “American Idol” after two seasons.

So what happened? Tyler said the members of Aerosmith, including guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer, decided to put aside their differences. Simple as that.

“After I fell off the stage at Sturgis, there was a lot of tumultuous times where, during my time of healing, I didn’t feel like I got any love from the boys and so I just needed to heal and they were busy out trying to find another lead singer so they could go on tour and make some money,” he said. “So when I finally got right with it, I just called up and said, ‘Come on, let’s not be foolish here.’

“It was all for the sake of forgiveness,” Tyler continued. “Everybody put their fuck-you fingers back and put their suck pills away that everybody seemed to be taking for the last two years. And thank you God for another day to rock.”

In a sense, Music From Another Dimension was more of a pure band album than recent releases such as Just Push Play (2001) and Nine Lives (1997). On those albums, Tyler and Perry did considerable co-writing with Marti Frederiksen, Mark Hudson and other outside tunesmiths.

Tyler and Perry still wrote with some outside writers (including Frederiksen and Jim Vallance) on the new album, and Tyler also brought in the Diane Warren ballad, “We All Fall Down.” But the other band members got back into the act as songwriters.

“This album, we started working on Tom’s songs and we got a couple,” Tyler said. “And Brad’s song, ‘Street Jesus,’ and Joey’s got a song [‘Closer’] and I got a bunch and Joe came in with three and it was more of a band endeavor is what I’m trying to get at here. So everybody was on fire with the fact that we were doing this together and as a band.”

The finished album is a long one, 15 songs, that has a bit of a split personality. There are several raucous rockers (“Oh Yeah,” “Legendary Child” and “Lover Alot”) that bring back memories of Toys In The Attic and Rocks, the two mid-1970s albums that rocketed Aerosmith to its first wave of major success. Other songs, meanwhile, like “We All Fall Down” and “What Could Have Been Love” are more reminiscent of the poppier power ballads that were part of Aerosmith’s second wave of success.

Tyler thinks Music From Another Dimension delivers the goods musically, even if it hasn’t been a blockbuster commercial hit for the band.

It’s been a long three years whipping this album out, but we’re so proud of it, man,” he said. “I mean, you know when you put your differences aside it’s astounding what comes out…. I think it’s a real good piece of work that shows that we’re not just in a studio looking for hits like we were in the ’90s.”

Aerosmith headline the Marcus Amphitheater on Friday, Aug. 30, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration.