What Aerosmith Song Showcased Band’s ‘Full Potential’? Brad Whitford Answers
Aerosmith are a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band with an impressive catalog of hit songs and well regarded albums, but the journey was not always easy for the group. In a career-spanning new interview with Guitar World, Brad Whitford reflects on the band's history and answers the question as to whether or not he feels the group reached their full potential.
Within the discussion, Whitford reveals that some of their biggest songs of the '70s came during a time when their talent outmeasured their work ethic.
Reflecting on their '70s recordings, Whitford says, "What was nice about that period was that we could still do what we call ‘practice.’ We rehearsed a lot, so we knew exactly what we were doing, unlike later albums where we’d have to come up with stuff while there were no vocals or anything."
“We’d have no direction and no real idea what we were gonna do. And Steven [Tyler] was usually very involved in arrangements, but if he didn’t know what the fuck he was going to do, he couldn’t have anything to say about the arrangement.”
The guitarist admits there were times when it was difficult to navigate musically, adding, “You can hear it on some throwaway tracks on later records where there are guitar riffs, and then there’s some stupid yodeling from Steven because he never did his work. I would have loved to have B-sides like the Stones, but we didn’t because we weren’t mature enough or ready to admit it or able to get Steven to do the work he was supposed to do."
“After Toys and Rocks, that’s what we were up against. The bucks and the drugs started to flow, and a lot of it was such a waste. But right now, we’re rehearsing, and we’ve got a list of about fucking kick-ass songs out of all that. So I would never complain; I’m just telling you the truth. What we have is great, but unfortunately, there was a lot of wasted tape.”
But when asked if he feels the band reached their full potential, the guitarist remarks, “I think we were at our full potential on day one. I don’t know if we realized it, but I say that because of one guy and one song, and that’s Steven bringing in 'Dream On.' I don’t know what it is, but to this day, it’s still everywhere. And Steven had that in his back pocket when we started the first record."
“So when we talk about potential, looking at 'Dream On,' Aerosmith was sitting on a nuke. And like I said, we went through Toys and Rocks, and so much of it slipped away. But there were still some shining moments here and there.”
Both Joe Perry and Brad Whitford would eventually exit the group, leading to a downturn in their commercial success, but they eventually returned for what would be a successful second act.
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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner