Brad Whitford of Aerosmith Talks "Legendary Child", "Music From Another Dimension!" and Looks Back on "Toys in the Attic"
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 08:12:28
"It's a quintessential Aerosmith album," says guitarist Brad Whitford of the legendary group's forthcoming Music From Another Dimension! due out November 6.
That says a whole lot. Aerosmith remain the premier American rock band, and they proclaim that status once more with their new single "Legendary Child". The track glides to divine heights on the impeccable and impressive riffing of Whitford and Joe Perry. Frontman Steven Tyler also sounds as powerful as ever, belting out the massive refrain. It's another timeless gem from the group and a fitting prelude to Music From Another Dimension!.
Going on about the album, Whitford smiles, "It's a really good representation of where we are musically and what we do".
It's also a big reason for rock fans to rejoice. Aerosmith are back and as brilliant as ever.
While in the midst of a huge headline tour, Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino about "Legendary Child", Music From Another Dimension!, and so much more.
What's the story behind "Legendary Child"?
We've actually been tossing around this lick for many years. For whatever reason, we never got it done. When you're in a band, you end up with a lot of stuff like that. Everybody is usually writing music. There are always lots of ideas floating around. There was just never a hard look taken at that particular idea. When we really started working on the album about a year ago, we decided to take a good hard look at that lick and see how we could make into something that might be an Aerosmith song. We put our noses to the grindstone, and that's what we got. Finally, we can put it to bed [Laughs].
Did that riff change from its initial incarnation?
It didn't change much. It was just the basic idea. We were just trying to decide what the song was going to say lyrically. It's one thing to have a good lick, but can you make it into a great song? That's a whole different challenge.
What's your take on Music From Another Dimension! as a whole?
We approached the album in the way we used to approach them in the early days. It was kind of our old formula, incredibly bringing Jack Douglas to put the album together for us and be our producer. We basically did it the way we did those records in the '70s. It has a very strong vibe to it. There's a very nice flow to it. Personally, I think it's one of those rare records that comes along every once in a while that has a great beginning, a great middle, and a great end. That doesn't always happen. I'm old school [Laughs]. I keep saying "records" and "CDs". This record has a lot of great music on it. I'm really pleased and proud.
Are there any guitar parts that you're especially proud of?
Oh yeah, there are several things. I wrote a song with Steven called "Street Jesus". That had another lick I've had in my library forever. I wrote a solo for "Tell Me". Tom and Steven wrote it. It turned out to be one of the better moments on the album. I was really proud of that.
How did you build that solo?
I was basically hanging out in the studio. Jack said we needed a solo. We wanted to do something like George Harrison in the song. They stuck me in this room with a CD I could play along to. They put me in there for a couple of hours and said, "Do it!" [Laughs] I worked for several hours and wrote this guitar part, and it ended up working really well.
Who's on your playlist at the moment?
My favorite new record is by Johnny Hiland. It's called All Fired Up. He's an amazing guitar player, and I love his new album. It's great. If you don't know him, you should check him out.
What was your first guitar?
I'd say my first good guitar was a Fender Jaguar [Laughs]. Before that, I had a Japanese guitar that I think my father paid 25 bucks for. It was called a Winston. I don't know what happened to it. It's probably buried somewhere in the ground [Laughs]. I don't know if it'd survive all of these years.
How tied to Boston is Aerosmith?
The city is very close to our hearts. That's where we got very serious about our intentions to do this in the first place. They're going to put a plaque on the apartment we first lived in when we went to Boston. They're going to honor us and this piece of real estate where we started out. It's close to our hearts. We spent many years there building this thing called Aerosmith.
What separates this current tour from others?
Well, each time we do this, we seem to go to another level of proficiency. It's done really well. It's really fun to be a part of a band that plays so well together and has been playing so long. There are certain things that happen musically which can only come from many hours of working together on things. People get the benefit of seeing all of the hard work. It's paid off. I think the band sounds better than it's probably ever sounded.
Are you pulling out any songs you haven't done in a long time?
We pull out some stuff from the catalog. It's a tough show to put together because we have so many songs. We do about 22 songs, and that gets us to around two hours. That leaves a lot of songs yet to be heard, but that's the physical nature of it. We try to throw a little bit of everything in there. Most people are happy with that.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Toys in the Attic?
I always think about this barn we put it together in. It was out in Massachusetts. We used to get up every day and drive to this old farm house. These people let us use this room in their barn. We'd go in there with Jack and work on the music all day until we felt we were ready to go into the studio. I have a strong memory of that for some reason. It was a very cool spot to be in. It was really creative.
You can pick up "Legendary Child" at iTunes and check out the video below!
Are you excited for new Aerosmith? What's your favorite Aerosmith song?