Have Guitar, Will Travel
Q: How many members of Aerosmith does it take to step up and finally deliver a record of new material that doesn’t suck?
A: Apparently, only one.
After soaking their loyal audience with a torrential downpour of rehashed Best Of collections, live compilations, and uninspiring studio records (Remember Just Push Play and Honkin’ on Bobo?), Aerosmith’s creative “well” had appeared to run dry over the last decade — well, almost.
“I’m not one to sit around,” co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter Joe Perry stated in a recent interview regarding “holes” in Aerosmith’s 2009 schedule. The end result of this downtime from his day gig is Perry’s current solo effort, Have Guitar, Will Travel.
Produced by Perry and recorded at his Bone Yard Studio in Boston, Have Guitar (his fifth solo record) marks a bona fide return to the gritty, nuts and guts rock style that first made him a superstar more than thirty years ago.
Perry shares lead vocal duties this time around on several tracks with German singer, Hagen, discovered on YouTube by Perry’s wife Billie. Bringing to the project vitality, rawness, and even an occasional stylistic similarity to Steven Tyler, Hagen shines on several of the record’s crowning jewels, including the blood-pumping “We’ve Got a Long Way to Go” and the Nine Lives-ish “Do You Wonder.” In fact, for the sake of continuity, the record could have benefited from Hagen’s heightened presence.
Other highlights include the boogie-woogie, swagger-oozing “Slingshot” and “No Surprise,” which reeks of such old school badness, one could swear that Perry’s back pounding smack.
Perry penned ten of the twelve tracks on Have Guitar, Will Travel in addition to the Fleetwood Mac classic, “Somebody’s Gonna Get (Their Head Kicked in Tonight)” and “Do You Wonder,” co-written by Perry along with Marti Fredrickson and Billie Perry.
Simply put, Perry hit the bullseye with this one. And as the title of the lead-in track suggests, he apparently still has a very “long way to go.”
Joe Perry: www.JoePerry.com