AEROSMITH's BRAD WHITFORD TALKING ABOUT BAND's LONGEVITY, SONGWRITING PROCESS
Recently, Ken Sharp of Goldmine magazine conducted an interview with AEROSMITH guitarist Brad Whitford about the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Goldmine: It's been over 30 years since AEROSMITH formed. Are you amazed that the band is still going strong?
Brad Whitford: On a daily basis, yes [laughs]. No, I guess not at this point. We've just weathered so many different kinds of events and storms and this and that. I have to attribute that to the music that we've created and the music we continue to be able to create and the way that we perform together is what really drives the whole machine. Certainly there's enough things on the outside of that, once you get off that stage, there's still so much bullshit that can drive anybody crazy. At this point in my life probably my biggest beef is the travel. I just don't know how much longer I can do that. It's a very rough lifestyle. Not too many bands have to do it this long because they just don't stay together [laughs]. A lot of people return to some sort of normal schedule. The travel is really rough, being away from home; having a lot of separation away from the family does not sit well with my inner self.
Goldmine: As a songwriter you've contributed songs to the band on a much smaller scale than say Steven or Joe. Do you regret that you didn't push your writing with the band earlier in your career?
Brad Whitford: No, I don't regret it. It's just the nature of the way things have gone. I literally got pushed out of the writing circle. I don't consider myself a terribly prolific writer. I can write music with other people if they're better songwriters than I am. I really can't create a song. It's very difficult to do. That's why the people that can do it are very few and far between. I'm certainly not that type of a guy. More of a guitar player, more of the kind of [guy] who comes up with enough riffs and ideas to write a song. But to write lyrics and come up with a melody for it, it won't happen.
Goldmine: In the '70s THE ROLLING STONES were the band's greatest influence. But it seems today that THE BEATLES exert a more profound influence on the band's songwriting with songs like "Jaded", "What It Takes", "Livin' On The Edge" and "Amazing".
Brad Whitford: It's absolutely true. We all love that music, Steven especially. A lot of that BEATLES influence comes from Steven's collaboration with Mark Hudson, both of whom are absolute BEATLES freaks. So between the two of them you get this quantified [laughs] BEATLES love. They try and apply some of those harmonies, some of those approaches, some of the rhythm changes, some of the guitar sounds. A lot of different things that the BEATLES did that make you go, [speaks reverentially] "Woah, man" [laughs]. So I guess the goal is to try and emulate probably some of the best music of the last 50 years, which has to be THE BEATLES.
Goldmine: That's true, it's almost like the band is shying away from the grittier STONES inspired tunes like "Mama Kin".
Brad Whitford: That's the commercial "stay on top" thing. A big part of AEROSMITH has become business. It's where we are, it's where we put ourselves and there's a lot of pressure there. There's a lot of desire for the band to stay where it is as a commercial success.
Goldmine: That brings up the point that in the '70s it seemed that AEROSMIT was writing from a purer standpoint, not tailoring songs to be radio hits. Today it seems there's a lot more thought behind constructing songs that will keep the band's commercial standing. Would you say that's true?
Brad Whitford: That's absolutely true. It's not frustrating for me. I think that we can manage to do that, which is not easy to do, and I can be part of it. I'm very pleased about it. It's not a creative outlet much for me anymore. When I play, the creative part for me is going into the studio with guys like Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson. I've been listening to this particular tune and we just roll it and I play some things and they go, "Oh, that's great, that's great! Let's do that, oh man!" They give you a tremendous amount of freedom. It's not like they say, "Here, we need this guitar part here and this guitar part here." So that's a lot of fun for me.
SLAYER has cancelled its previously announced appearance at Finland's Ruisrock festival due to "scheduling conflicts." The festival, which will be held July 6-7 in Turku, Finland, will feature performances by HANOI ROCKS, MASTODON, IN FLAMES, PAIN, DEATHSTARS, CHILDREN OF BODOM, SONATA ARCTICA, FINNTROLL, POISONBLACK, and AMORPHIS, among many others.
MEGADETH has announced several U.K./Ireland dates surrounding the band's Download Festival appearance in early June. The group's European schedule is now shaping up as follows:
June 01 - Nürnberg, Germany @ Rock Im Park
June 02 - Roeselare, Belgium @ Schwung Festival
June 03 - Nürburgring, Germany @ Rock Am Ring
June 05 - Copenhagen, Denmark @ Vega
June 07 - Tampere, Finland @ Sauna Open Air
June 08 - Derbyshire, UK @ Download Festival
June 10 - Dublin, Ireland @ Ambassador Theatre
June 12 - Glasgow, Scotland @ Barrowland Ballroom
June 13 - Bristol, UK @ Academy
June 14 - Folkestone, UK @ Leas Cliff Hall
June 16 - London, UK @ Astoria
June 17 - Biddinghuizen, Holland @ Fields Of Rock Festival
June 19 - Hamburg, Germany @ Markthalle
June 20 - Karlsruhe, Germany @ Festhalle Durlach
June 22 - Zaragoza, Spain @ Monsters Of Rock
June 24 - Clisson, France @ Hellfest
June 26 - Rijssen, Holland @ Lucky & Co
June 27 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Volkhaus
June 28 - Vienna, Austria @ Arena
June 30 - Milan, Italy @ Gods Of Metal All