Exclusive Interview: Brad Whitford from Aerosmith
via Rock Confidential
Music From Another Dimension! marks Aerosmith’s 15th studio album and their first album of all-new material in 11 years. There has been a witch’s brew boiling for 10 years, and they’re about to blow the cover off. Recorded in Los Angeles and at the band’s studio in Massachusetts, it was produced by Jack Douglas, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, with the exception of three tracks produced by Tyler and Marti Frederiksen. The album abounds with one highlight after another, including “Out Go The Lights,” “Oh Yeah,” “Luv XXX,” “We All Fall Down,” “Street Jesus” and “Can’t Stop Loving You,” on which Tyler duets with Carrie Underwood. The album also includes “Freedom Fighter” which features Johnny Depp on backing vocals. The album’s first two singles have been released simultaneously to radio and are now lighting up the airwaves: “What Could Have Been Love” at Hot AC and “Lover A Lot” at Rock, Active Rock, and Classic Rock.
We caught up with guitarist Brad Whitford to talk about the struggles and triumphs of Music From Another Dimension!, the importance of working with producer Jack Douglas, and how a legendary band like Aerosmith judges success in today’s crazy music marketplace.
Before you guys started working on this record it seemed as if Aerosmith was hanging on by a thread. Was that exaggerated by today’s 24/7 social media internet world or was it really that bad?
I’d say it was a little bit of both. We have a terrible tendency to our own failures in communication. Things had been going downhill for quite a bit. We had a tour cancellation back in 2009 with ZZ Top. And not long after that Steven went to work on American Idol. There was a bit of confusion, to say the least. We weren’t sure how or when we were going to work. The good part was if we did work we had to be a lot more disciplined than we’d been in the past! (laughs) We never really had to work around too many schedules and now we had to. We got back to work about a year and a half ago. We sat down and had our first writing session. Everything seemed to be back to square one. We had a really great time and came up with a bunch of good music. We continued to work around Steven’s schedule and really got to work on our album. Any time he was available he was there. He was there a lot. We started in Boston. We did all our basic tracks there and then moved to LA so it would be easy for him to work. He would work all day in TV world and then spend all night at the studio. We got a lot of work done.
I’d say after being on set for American Idol all day he had plenty of frustrations to work out – and that could have translated into some great rock n’ roll.
Oh yeah. As much fun as he was initially having it started to wane after a while. Aerosmith just became more and more attractive to him! (laughs) You know, to be his entertaining self. Now it’s all over with and we can get back to work. That helped us all to be more disciplined and more organized – something we’ve never been to good at.
Before “Legendary Child” was released it was being teased as a track from the Get A Grip sessions. Did you guys go to a song you previously worked on to get back into your groove as a band?
Well, when we really started the process we were working on completely new ideas. That song came back into the fold when we started doing our basic tracks. It was hardly ever a song, really. For some reason it never got past a couple of riffs! It stayed on the shelf. We knew we liked it and we knew it was a good idea. We just didn’t know where to take it. When we started to break it down a bit and analyze it things just suddenly started to happen. Steven got some ideas lyrically and melodically and sure enough we finally put it to bed! (laughs)
As a guitarist it’s just natural to have those riffs laying around that you’re dying to use.
We had so many – and still do. If we had the ability to stay in the studio for any more length of time we could’ve written another whole album! We were ready to go. The ideas were flowing.