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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Aerosmith's Joe Perry Walks His Way in New Memoir

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 5:04 AM

Joe Perry tells his life story -- before and after the gray streak -- in ROCKS. - COPYRIGHT ROSS HAFLIN/SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Copyright Ross Haflin/Simon & Schuster
  • Joe Perry tells his life story -- before and after the gray streak -- in ROCKS.

While they may not be blood brothers, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, singer and guitarist for Aerosmith, respectively, might as well be, given the relationship they've had for more than 45 years.

It's a love/hate story that Perry details extensively in his new autobiography, written with David Ritz, ROCKS: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith (432 pp., $27.99, Simon & Schuster). And, if you've been following the saga of the "Toxic Twins" today, the future of one of America's greatest hard-rock bands is still in flux. At the time we spoke with Perry, just days before publication, neither Tyler nor any other band member had seen a copy of the book.

See also: The Drug That Helped Turn the Beatles into the World's Greatest Band

"Steven has said and done every possible thing to hurt me emotionally," Perry says. "But we work our way through it. He holds on to things longer, but we're not going to change. We have the ability to work together. We have a civil time. We don't not talk, but we might dance around certain things."

Those "things," as Perry writes, might include more recent episodes in which Tyler started using drugs again, let his girlfriend get involved with band business, took a judging gig on American Idol, and even tried out for the Robert Plant-vacated slot as singer of Led Zeppelin. Without bothering to tell his current band.


"Our relationship is like a family," Perry offers. "You love your family, but you don't always get along with them. And you can like or dislike your brother, but you love him.

"And this band is an exclusive club, with just five members," he explains. "That will hold us together no matter what. It's like any other brotherhood. That's one of the things that I wanted to get across in the book."

While Tyler and drummer Joey Kramer have written their own memoirs, and the band has produced an authorized biography, Perry's ROCKS offers scores of anecdotes and insights that will be new. And how far he's come: from the skinny, bespectacled nature-lover who wanted to be a marine biologist to the wild-eyed, drug-gobbling, guitar-shredding maniac to the settled and stable low-key family man.

"I was looking for thrills, and thrills came from a guitar," he writes, while describing certain makes and models lustily.

Perry is brutally honest about his struggles with drugs, which take up almost as much page space as his triumphs with music. He details bender after bender that affected the entire group. "We had been musicians fooling around with drugs. And now we were druggies fooling around with music," he writes of one period in the late '70s.

It was a time that also saw him abandon an idyllic vacation in Montserrat to rush back to Boston when his dealer called to say he'd scored some heroin. Ultimately, it was a fight between band members' wives, literally involving spilled milk (though details among all participants remain hazy), that led to his quitting the band in 1979.

Continue to page two.

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