Joe Perry on Hearing Van Halen: ‘We’re Not Ready for the ’80s’
The band's co-founder quit after a backstage argument on tour, while Aerosmith was also working on their sixth album, Night in the Ruts. He returned in 1984, but in a new interview with Guitar World, he explained that it wasn’t only internal struggling that sent him out the door in the first place.
“I just had to take care of myself,” he said. “My personal life wasn’t all that great, and I had to deal with that. I had come to terms with that and knew it was time to leave. But I also felt we needed to be more open to new ideas.”
Read More: Joe Perry Revisits His Guitar Roots
He noted, “We were rolling into the ’80s, and I still remember hearing the first Van Halen record and fucking loving it. I mean ... what a great fucking record!”
Turning to the personal influence of Eddie Van Halen, he added, “Eddie's guitar playing was just so incredible; he turned guitar on its fucking ear and was doing stuff that I'd never heard before. I knew it was time for a break because new ideas were needed. But we also needed to readjust our sights and learn to get along again. I remember saying, ‘We’re not ready for the ’80s.’ I don't know why I said that; it was just a vibe or a feeling I had.”
Joe Perry Surprised He Wasn’t Taken Off ‘Night in the Ruts’
Looking back, Perry said Night in the Ruts wasn’t as bad an album as he thought it was while working on it. “That record was a nightmare,” he noted. “But I have to say, it features some of the best playing Aerosmith has ever done in the studio. I remember checking it out after I left, and I was very surprised they left me on it since I left in the middle of it.
“If you look at a song like ‘Cheese Cake,’ the slow slide in the middle, we did that live in the studio, and it's so great. I think it could have been a huge record if we had the chance to tour behind it. But it was not to be.”
Albums That Saved a Band's Career
Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening