It has been years since we have been given any new, unreleased material from Aerosmith. The last studio album was 10 years ago in 2012 and there were two live albums back in 2015, but nothing to light the world on fire. That was until Black Friday Record Store Day on November 26, 2021 when they had a “first release” of a found recording that contains the earliest known recording of the band to exist. The album is called ‘1971: The Road Starts Hear’ which is around 18 months prior to the release of their debut album in January 1973.
The timeframe of the release is sometime during the Fall of 1971 as Brad Whitford was in the band as he was the last cog in the wheel as he joined in August 1971. So, we had Brad as well as Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer and Aerosmith was born in the form we all know and love. However, the whereabouts of where this was actually recorded is in question. There are several possibilities, but no one actually knows for sure. We know it is not an actual concert as there is no crowd noise so thoughts are it is either a soundcheck or a band rehearsal, but whichever it is, it is totally amazing as we get a band that is fairly new, but extremely tight musically and destined to explode on to the world. The thought is it was recorded originally recorded in October 1971, Boston, Mass. on Joe Perry’s Wollensak 3M 1280 2-track tape recorder, but that is as much as we know for sure.
Back in 1984, Aerosmith reunited with Brad Whitford and Joe Perry and went out on tour to celebrate the reunion. That tour was the Back in the Saddle Tour. The band had been on Columbia Records, but jumped ship and signed with Geffen Records in hopes of getting back in the good graces of the buying public. They planned out and released their comeback album ‘Done With Mirrors’ with little fanfare at least that was until they were on the Run DMC cover of their song “Walk This Way”. That combination of Hip Hop and Rock joining together and being celebrated so much on MTV brought them back in to the limelight.
This new found fame was great for Columbia Records because the bands new deal with Geffen still allowed Columbia to release material they owned of the band, which was a lot. Columbia took full advantage of this opportunity and the first release was a live compilation called ‘Classics Live’ in April 1986. The songs were collected from live shows ranging from 1978 up to 1984 and there was a bonus track any Aerosmith had to have, an unreleased studio track.
Four of the tracks on here come from the February 14, 1984 show at the Orpheum in Boston, Massachusetts. This was a very important show for the band because in the audience was Joe Perry and Brad Whitford who were no loner in the band at this time. Of course, this mean Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay were on guitar. But that wasn’t the important thing about this show. This was the very beginning of the original band getting back together and would start the band’s climb back to stardom.
Drugs…wives…tension. Those three things were all starting to boil over with Aerosmith during the recording of the band’s sixth studio album, ‘Night in the Ruts’. What is a night in the ruts anyway? Actually, it is a play on words for “Right in the Nuts”. Pretty funny actually. But wasn’t funny was the drug use was immense at this point. The band could barely function. Steven wasn’t writing lyrics, Joe owed the band money for his room service bills and he hadn’t been in the studio for months, longtime producer Jack Douglas was fired and Gary Lyons was brought in to produce, and the album was taking forever to finish. The band’s relationship with their label was strained as well. At this point, the band was completely and utterly out of control.
The album was taking so long, the band was forced to go out on the road and that was not a good place for them to be. More drugs meant horrible shows. Horrible shows meant more tension. More tension bled over in to the wives starting to fight and things got really ugly in Cleveland, OH on July 28, 1979 when Joe Perry’s wife through milk at Tom Hamilton’s wife. The band I believe already hated Joe’s wife so after the show, Steven and Joe got in to a nasty altercation and by the end, Joe Perry was no longer in the band. He was done and he was out!
Well, that didn’t bode well as the album wasn’t even finished. The band brought in Richie Supa to help on the guitars as well as Jimmy Crespo to finish others. Jimmy was the one that stayed and toured with the band until 1984. The album finally was finished and released on November 16th, 1979. It didn’t do well at all. It did got to #14 on the Billboard Charts but barely went gold. They had one single, “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” which didn’t even break the Top 40 landing at #67.