Mitch Lafon of PureGrainAudio.com recently conducted an interview with AEROSMITH bassist Tom Hamilton. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PureGrainAudio.com: The first two words that come to mind when you think of AEROSMITH's "Music From Another Dimension" are Jack Douglas. He was involved in the making of "Toys In The Attic", "Rocks" and other AEROSMITH albums. How was it going back to Jack?
Tom: The thing that made that so great was that everyone in the band was completely down with it and inspired by the idea. There are times in the past where we thought we'd record stuff for an album and "wouldn't it be great to work with Jack?" Everyone would kind of nod, but it seemed... is this really a great idea? Are we trying to go back to the past or what? There came a moment when there was absolutely no doubt and once that happened; it's what got us into the studio and making this record because it's been a long time since the last record was out. Jack Douglas... I'll go out far on the limb and say he's the reason there is an album, really. One of the big reasons.
PureGrainAudio.com: You took eleven years between this and "Just Push Play". Was there any fear or trepidation before going into the studio? Do you worry about what kind of AEROSMITH you want to present? From a fan's perspective, there's really three AEROSMITHs — '70s AEROSMITH, '80s AEROSMITH and '90s-and-beyond AEROSMITH. Do you try to create a new sound for today? Make a great '70s-sounding AEROSMITH album. Do you try for "Permanent Vacation" Part II?
Tom: We really wanted to pay attention to our roots and how this style came about. That was one thing about working with Jack. It was one way of connection, but without trying to imitate. There was nothing like, "Hey, we need to do a '70s album, because of this reason or that reason." First of all, everybody wanted to make an album. Everybody was coming up with stuff, writing, recording riffs, songs and ideas. I think everybody got real hungry to get those things out. Working with Jack, you know you have a better chance of getting more of that stuff happening because Jack is very interested in the weird and the strange and not necessarily the commercial.
PureGrainAudio.com: You mentioned that "everybody wanted to make this album", so for the last eleven years did people just not want to make an album or was it simply a creative break?
Tom: I don't think everybody wanted it really, really bad. At the stage that we are in our lives... our career. I don't think it would happen without everybody wanting it really bad. There was a day that we would do it because that was our cycle. We would tour for a couple of years and make a record. That's not so true now. The last ten years, we've had a blast touring all over North America, South America, Japan... We were really in "road mode" for a long time. Some of us were very anxious to get in there and see what we could come up with for a record, but it took a while until everybody was really "focused the same way".
PureGrainAudio.com: Recently, [AEROSMITH singer] Steven [Tyler] called KISS a "comic book" band and that's made its way around the Internet with fans on both sides arguing yes and no. What's your take on that comment and on KISS in general?
Tom: It's funny. I don't know where that came from. I guess he just happened to say something in the course of an interview and it got blown up.
PureGrainAudio.com: Like most things do thanks to the Internet.
Tom: Well, there's some entertainment value there... Rivalry. Any story with good conflict in it is interesting. We used to tour with them in the '70s. Actually, we didn't really do that many tours together. We did some shows together and then we parted ways because we had made it and then they made it. So, they were out on their own. There was a rivalry and I remember the dressing room talk about the opening act and what they wear, what they look like and what they do, but over the years I've come to have more respect for KISS through fans that I know. They have very very loyal fans and as far as Steven's comment in a way their origins are... If you talk to Gene Simmons, he might even agree with it. He was a huge comic book fan like most of us were in our early days... Some of us made a separation between that and what we did musically, but he wanted to live that out with his band and it's pretty cool. When I want to listen to music, I go back to my BEATLES, STONES, ZEPPELIN and DIRE STRAITS. I don't think I necessarily listen to KISS that often, but I love that song of theirs, "I want to rock and roll all nite and party every day." It's just really accurate in describing what teenage males want.
Read the entire interview from PureGrainAudio.com.