With a little help from his friends, Joe Perry is back with a solo album
Joe Perry isn’t quite sure how to describe his new solo LP.
“It’s kind of a modern-made classic rock record, I guess,” says Perry, chuckling.
The Aerosmith guitarist was back in town this week for an appearance at Newbury Comics promoting “Sweetzerland Manifesto,” an album he wrote and recorded while holed up at his buddy Johnny Depp’s house in LA.
Among those conscripted to play or sing on the LP — Perry’s sixth solo project — were Dean and Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots, Depp, Terry Reid , Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, drummer Zak Starkey, and former New York Dolls frontman David Johansen.
Perry said the vibe was relaxed. What began as an instrumental record eventually turned into something else.
“I just started showing up every day and rolling tape — well, figuratively — and started putting songs together,” he said.
Both Depp and Jack Douglas, who was something of a svengali to Aerosmith in the 1970s and remains a good friend, made suggestions to Perry along the way. Why not, for example, ask Johansen if he wants to sing on a couple of numbers?
“I was, like, ‘If he’s up for it, sure,’ ” says Perry. “I hadn’t seen David in a long time. He was great. He came in and spent a week or so and put down some tracks.”
The album, which is on Perry’s own Roman Records imprint, is available now on iTunes and Amazon. But the business of selling records isn’t what it used to be, and Perry’s not sure how to do it these days.
“And that’s kind of exciting,” he said. “The business is scrambling around, but the fans are still there and they still want excitement. Look, it still comes down to having a good song and catching people’s ear.”
If you’re wondering about Aerosmith, which is on one of its occasional hiatuses, they’re not done. The band did cut short a South American tour — billed as the Aero-Vederci Baby! tour — because of a health issue last fall, but they’ll be back, Perry insists.
“We have every intention of playing. We’re kind of plotting it out. But one thing I’ve learned: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” says the 67-year-old guitarist. “When I think about when [Aerosmith] was started, I think about when we gathered in that apartment at 1325 Comm. Ave.
“That was 50 years ago next year,” he says, “I think that’s going to bring a lot of energy to the band, whether that’s in the form of a new record, I don’t know, but I can’t imagine we wouldn’t tour.”