influence: joe perry

a little while after i wrote my blog on my guitar heros i realized i left a couple of really important ones out. i kept meaning to add them in to that blog, but i kept getting inspired at the wrong times. i’d be on an airplane with a guitar riff from one of them in my head and all the thoughts and emotions would be spinning in my heart, but i don’t take a laptop when i travel. then i’d start to write it down in a note pad and the inspiration (see motivation) would drain out of my kick drum of a heart. the flight attendants bumping into me, loud talkers and general airplane happenings gets to me. then it’s gone. i hate when i get in that mood. then i don’t even feel like listening to music. so i stare at the same stupid in flight magazine and sky mall catalog for 2 hours. or i fall asleep with my mouth wide open. either one sucks and doesn’t hold a candle to a joe perry guitar solo.


joe perry is the lead guitar player for aerosmith. you know this.  brad whitford is the other guitar player, and he’s great too. but it’s joe perry that made me want to play lead guitar.

the thing that really impresses me and inspires me about his playing is that i, or you, or just about anybody can sing his guitar solos.  that’s not easy, and it’s pretty b.a. that he can do it on a consistent basis. even his guitar riffs. walk this way. enough said. that’s always been what i try to do when i have to come up with a guitar hook or solo.  i’m sure that’s what most people want and try to do also. with the exception of the guitar players that think playing as many different modes as they can at lighting speeds is impressive and musical and better. maybe it is. but i don’t care about it. i care about the solos that stay with you. that you play air guitar to. the solos that you hum while watering plants. or whatever.

probably my favorite solos of his are on the Get A Grip album. it might be a little poppy for the hardcore fans, but joe perry was really on fire.  his solo on living on the edge, and cryin’ are so creative. they are a song in a song. i’m telling you. listen to them. they are the blues, but they are more than that too. the bends he does on livin’ on the edge are so full of emotion. and the notes he’s hitting while playing them are crazy.  that same on cryin’. he’s the man.

probably my favorite solo of his is on the song Crazy. I know. it’s a cheesy love song. whatever. i love it. the solo is seriously unbelievable. i rarely try to learn songs or solos on the guitar, but i had to learn this one.  I sat in my room for hours trying to learn anything i could from it. i was probably only 14 so it was a little over my head and ability at that point. but i learned what i could from it and used what i could from it for years.  that’s how it works. i’m sure that’s what joe does with his heros too.

last year i learned the whole solo note for note.  i sat in my guitar room and played along with it over and over until i could play it right with him. it wore me out, but i did it.  my fingers were raw, but i did it. my ears were ringing, but i can play it now.

i bet joe perry had a similar experience when he was recording it. he probably put his guitar down walked back into the control room with his raw fingers and ringing ears and the biggest smile on his face. because he wrote that solo. something in that song pulled that out of him.

that’s what we as musicians walk around every day looking for. the feeling. with me it usually starts in my fingertips and shoots straight to my heart. it takes over and for a second i don’t know what to do. it’s an explosion.  sometimes i want to throw my guitar down and crush it to death. sometimes i cry my eyes out. sometimes i just look over at one of my friends and smile. because they feel it too. i know they do.

it doesn’t only happen with music either. you never know what’s going to make it happen or when it will happen, you just love it when it does. i think it’s the best when it happens in a song, of course.  i love that it doesn’t happen all the time. it makes you work harder .

if joe perry hadn’t gotten back together with the band, that solo wouldn’t have ever been written. i’d still be a guitar player. i’d still be married. i’d still be a father. but i wouldn’t have learned that solo, and  i wouldn’t be the same musician.

thankyou, mr perry.



  1. Hi James I’m Brazilian Guitar player, I like very so much your sound, your feelling and powerfull delays.I be stay on “Sound of Rain 4” in Brazil and always listen the albuns that as playing, john McMillan and others, sound of Rain 1,2,3 and 4. Who can maker a beautiful sound? Sorry,I do not know speak so english…hehehe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s