What Have Aerosmith Been Doing Since Their Last Album?
The latest in a series of Toxic Twin fights had made it seem as if Tyler was preparing to quit and that his colleagues had decided to replace him even if he didn’t. Lawsuits had been threatened, quotes had been printed … but it was just another disagreement within the ranks of the Boston band.
The release of their 15th album, Music From Another Dimension!, on Nov. 6, 2012, seemed to cement their solidarity and provide fans with new confidence. Or maybe not – even though it was their first studio record to feature new music since 2001’s Just Push Play, and despite a continued run of powerful live performances, the lukewarm response to the LP led to another round of disagreements on whether a follow-up record should even be made.
“I think we were genuinely disappointed,” guitarist Brad Whitford admitted in 2013. "We’re old-school, and albums just aren’t what they were. The whole process has changed, and they don’t sell like they used to for almost all bands. So everybody’s kind of rethinking about what is the best way to get your music out there and what’s the best way to present it?”
“Records don’t sell and they don’t do anything,” drummer Joey Kramer said later. “Music now is so disposable. It’s so like, ‘Okay, here it is,’ and five minutes later there’s something else.” Bassist Tom Hamilton laid the blame on the fans, saying they “didn’t do their homework on it," but added, “We’ll try harder next time.” He also revealed his frustration that Perry was working on a new solo album instead of concentrating on his main band.
“Before the tour, I tweeted, ‘What song off the new record would you like to hear?’" Perry noted. "The first tweet I got back was, ‘It depends what song you have to take out of the set.’ That really put things into perspective.”
So no more Aerosmith albums then. Or maybe not – some time after Hamilton called on his colleagues to develop a “unified concept” of what the band was, Perry insisted in 2017 that “We definitely have another record in us, if not two. But we’ll see how that goes.” That was followed by the news that a U.S. tour was to be postponed in favor of studio work, followed by confirmation that at least one new track had been laid down. “This song is a musical idea of Joe Perry's," Whitford said in August 2017. "We're doing it very much like we did songs back when we started out. It's very rock 'n' roll."
Perry wasn’t the only one to indulge himself in other projects, including a Christmas record, continued work on his next solo album and joining Alice Cooper’s all-star band the Hollywood Vampires. Tyler finally released We’re All Somebody From Somewhere, the country music album he’d long wanted to make; Whitford reunited with Derek St. Holmes in Whitford/St. Holmes; Hamilton toured as a member of Thin Lizzy; and Kramer built his Rockin’ & Roastin’ coffee brand. All of which would suggest a healthy alternative outlet for their energies.
Or maybe not. In June 2015, Tyler discussed his bandmates’ views of his solo plans, saying, “I’m sure they’re not happy. But Joe Perry has done five solo albums. I just thought, ‘Hey, it’s my turn in the barrel.’ This is a side project that’s now turned into a love of life.”
“We kind of feel a little bit abandoned by him,” Whitford reported, after admitting they’d put touring plans on hold to allow Tyler space to support his record. “He doesn’t seem to realize, in my opinion, his fans around the globe want to see him in the context of Aerosmith – and don’t really care for whatever he thinks he’s going to do. … I can’t put a gun to his head. It’s just pretty disappointing.”
Hamilton, for one, tried to look on the bright side ahead of Tyler’s release, saying, “I think a good deal of inspiration may come out of that – he may want to continue to write. Maybe at some point this year we might record some new music. Currently, no plans.”
It could be suggested that time away was exactly what everyone needed. In May 2016. Whitford revealed they’d considered touring without Tyler. “It should be easy,” he said. “The whole thing started because of the music. If the focus was right there, everything would be fine, but we don't. Let the drivers drive and let the music happen, [and] everything will fall into place. We get caught up in a lot of silly stuff." Days later Perry insisted, “Any rumor out there about us looking for another singer is completely untrue. All five of us were just on the phone together talking about how excited we are to go to South America and Mexico City."
Over the years, Aerosmith secured their reputation as one of the most hedonistic bands that ever existed, so it should be no surprise that the members have begun to deal with health issues as decades go by. Kramer underwent heart surgery in 2014 (after denying he needed heart surgery); Hamilton, who’d faced down cancer in 2006 and 2011, endured a serious chest infection in 2013; Perry collapsed onstage with the Hollywood Vampires in 2016, and Aerosmith shows were canceled after Tyler required an unidentified medical procedure in September 2017.
It’s also no surprise that such issues might spark discussions of a farewell tour, which first surfaced in a 2016 Tyler interview. “I love this band, I really do," he said. "I wanna squash any thought that anybody might have about the band [being] over. We're doing a farewell tour, but that's only because it's time." Or maybe they weren't. A week later, Perry said the concept had been discussed but not agreed upon, and even if a farewell was planned, “It could go on for two years.” "We take it from album to tour and day to day," he said. "It’s the same philosophy we’ve always had."
In 2017, Aerosmith announced a series of tour dates called Aero-Vederci Baby!, without specifically calling it a final road trip. “We're always thinking about what to do for a tour," Tyler reported. "And so many bands have said 'This is our last tour' to generate tickets and all that stuff — bands that have been around as long as we have. So we figured, we're going to Europe, we're gonna do whatever we're doing here, and people haven't seen us for a while, so how about throwing that kind of mysticism out? And 'Aero-Vederci' says it but it doesn't say it. It's like 'hello goodbye' in one beautiful — where Joe and I came from — Italian saying."
“I don’t actually feel like we’re gonna be shutting the whole thing down at the end of it,” Whitford said weeks later. “I think there’s a lot more life in the band. But I guess you’ve got to start somewhere. So we’re just starting to put the farewell label on things."
So there you have it. A farewell tour and no more music. Or maybe not – a final tour that lasts years and another album. Or maybe not – a continuing career including two more albums. What have Aerosmith been doing since the release of Music From Another Dimension!? Asides from logging in eternally powerful live shows, they’ve mainly been disagreeing on how to move forward.