BACK ISSUE #405

Music: Aerosmith
This may sound uncool for a music writer, and being from Boston may bias me, but Aerosmith rule.

Already into their fourth decade, they still possess the leering sexuality and raunchy riffs that the Stones somehow lost years ago, while managing at the same time to put younger wannabees like The Strokes (who follow them to Tokyo) to shame.
If singer Steven Tyler's voice holds out (they've had to cancel a series of recent dates), Aerosmith's upcoming Tokyo engagement should be one of the highlights of a winter filled with visits by lumbering dinosaurs of rock.
While I don't follow the band's every move the way I did as a rabid hometown fan in the late '70s, Aerosmith still somehow manage to surprise with their against-the-odds evergreen freshness. Yes, the Toxic Twins Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry are long since detoxed, and yes they've got personal trainers. But look beyond the airbrushed images and what you will hear is a band still in their musical prime.

Take, for instance, their latest single, "Sunshine," from their new album, Just Push Play. A psychedelic tour de force, the song has more twists and turns that ex-President Clinton's legal strategy, but brings you safely back to ground on a bed of cushiony Perry guitars and trademark Tyler vocal overdubs.

At this point it would be usual to go into the story of Aerosmith's comeback from their '80s descent into drug-addled decadence, or to recall their pioneering rap-rock workout with Run DMC on "Walk This Way." But instead, let's dig way back to the band's roots.
A meeting at a Sunapee, New Hampshire, ice cream parlor, The Anchorage, brought the two frontmen of Aerosmith together. Joe Perry (b. Anthony Joseph Perry) was working there, and when Steven Tyler (b. Steven Victor Tallarico) stopped by for a cone, the die were cast.

Together with bassist Tom Hamilton, drummer Joey Kramer and rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford, the band quickly established themselves on the Boston club scene. A successful gig at New York's Max's Kansas City was witnessed by music mogul Clive Davis, leading to a recording contract with Columbia. The band released their self-titled debut in 1973, and the single "Dream On" became a Top 10 hit in 1976. The rest, as they say, is history.

Aerosmith play Tokyo Dome on February 2-3. See listings for details.