After 42 years together, Aerosmith is still warming up. During an afternoon soundcheck last week in an empty arena in Oklahoma City, the band worked out the kinks on two new songs they planned to perform.
Introducing songs—in this case a couple from the new album "Music From Another Dimension"—can mean removing some classics from the show, to the aggravation of some fans. Guitarist Joe Perry, 62, pictured above left with singer Steven Tyler, 64, says, "The last thing I want to be is an Aerosmith cover band."
It has been difficult enough keeping Aerosmith intact. In 2009, the band started hunting for a new singer when Mr. Tyler entered rehab. While laid up with chronic foot problems and injuries from falling off a stage, he says, he rebuffed a suggestion that he could perform while seated. "I said, 'OK, if you play electric ukulele, I'll sit on a stool.' " But the band reconciled, and as Mr. Tyler's stint on "American Idol" wound down, they made their most collaborative album to date, including songwriting by bassist Tom Hamilton, guitarist Brad Whitford and drummer Joey Kramer.
Despite turbulence, road routines endure. An hour before show time, Mr. Kramer clears everyone from his room (except his wife) to tape his fingers and summon a groove by listening to James Brown or Tower of Power. The superstitious Mr. Perry dons some trinket associated with "a good run" on stage, lately a chunky necklace he rediscovered before the tour started.
To spare wear and tear on Mr. Tyler's body and voice, Aerosmith often takes two days off between shows. In Oklahoma City, that allowed for some accidental sightseeing when the singer stumbled onto an exhibit of vibrant glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly. From the city's art museum, an excited Mr. Tyler said by phone, "It looks like I fell through the rabbit hole."
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—John Jurgensen, Wallstreet Journal