Aerosmith-LIVE BOOTLEG CD (Columbia)
Aerosmith were one of those bands who were...well, just there or at least they were back during my Golden Years of discovering this thing called rock & roll. I mean, I used to hear "Dream On" (before its reissue in '75 to general acclaim) on the old local freeform FM station and when they finally made it superstar-like a few years later (around the time of TOYS IN THE ATTIC I believe) I thought "good for them" and little else, but it wasn't like I liked or hated them at all. I guess hard rock just wasn't my forte back in the days when I was more in-tune with Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa discs, but obviously Aerosmith were sure boffo with more than enough people out there in record buying land for them to have become the stuff of post-Cooper heavy metal legends. And who could deny that these bozoids had a huge impact with the tuff stuff kinda kids who surrounded me back during those wooly mid/late-seventies days! (While I'm at it, mebbe I should also mention that I also remember my cousin [a guy who in my very presence was flipping out in an unbelievably ecstatic delight over their "Big Ten Inch Record" due to the extremely double-entendre lyrics] who, due to a neater-than-usual high school class project which required him to design an album cover [!], created one for a mythical group he called "Arrowsmith" bragging to us all about how he snatched the name from the band in a typically teenage ha-ha sarcastic style totally unaware of the Sinclair Lewis novel from whence Aerosmith copped their moniker! Well, it was a lot better'n Elvis Presley mentioning how he liked that new group AEROSPACE which seemed especially strange considering how I doubt he would even go near an act like them in the first place!)
But after awhile Aerosmith just seemed like another in the long line of dinosaur bands who, along with a number of once-shining-brightly early-seventies wonders, were heaping huge piles of guano on the musical landscape. In fact, given the time (late-seventies) and situation (high-energy local rock) at hand, these guys were way Triassic-ly blandoid enough for a kozmikally kool kinda guy like me to just downright loathe 'em! Of course, given that there was way too much good stuff happening then that made acts like Aerosmith pale in comparison it was like I had the luxury to toss 'em in the same trash heap as the rest of those seventies losers who didn't really cut the mustard next to the likes of Pere Ubu and MX-80 Sound and besides, the people who were cheerleading for the likes of Aerosmith and the rest of the capitulated heavy metal brigades that once shined so brightly seemed like the biggest crop of inbreds one could come across here in the "hard rock" rustbelt where anything even "slightly" outside the scope of "Classic Rock Radio" was looked upon with more than suspicion.
But that was a long time ago and maybe we can't afford the luxury of casually tossing off groups anymore like we used to, especially groups which did have some solid PUNK credentials like Aerosmith. OK, mebbe that should be "punk" as in an early/mid-seventies fanzine sorta fashion, since Jymn Parrett did refer to Aerosmith as being "punk rocking" in DENIM DELINQUENT #4, while the rest of the proto-punk fanzines seemed to be as big on Aerosmith as they were the Dolls and Stooges (groups who, at least in the pages of these metallic/punk fanzine excursions seemed to be getting lumped in with Aerosmith, which come to think of it wasn't hard for a mindset that seemed to draw easy comparisons between the Stooges and bands the metallic caliber of Jukin' Bone). I also remember Tim Stegall telling me about this snap he saw of the group during their early makin' it days which had Joe Perry sportin' a real live MC5 badge! And if yer still skeptical, let me remind you that even during the days of "punk proper" in the late-seventies Steve Tyler was not only producing, but joining local Boston punkers the Infliktors live onstage wailing harmonica to "Milk Cow Blues"!!! So maybe there is a little something with regards to these improper Bostonians that sorta "wooshed" by me worse'n Algebra, and it only took me a good twennysome years to realize it!
In other words: Brad Kohler once told me "You don't have to hate the Marx Brothers just because Dick Cavett likes them!" To which I shall add that I don't have to hate Aerosmith just because Chuck Eddy likes them!!!
So what's on this live disc that Columbia released to milk a few more metallic dollars back in the closing days of the seventies? Well, I gotta say that it does rock out in a rather decent if plain fashion and has some pretty nice mid-energy moments to it. I can see how the guys behind DENIM DELINQUENT and BACK DOOR MAN would've dug 'em easily enough. Still, there ain't enough pure metallic energy here to make anybody wanna ditch their Dictators albums, and Thundertrain and perhaps any of the other Aerosmith emulators of the day (Bonjour Aviators, New York's White Lightning p'haps) coulda whipped their asses any night of the week with one guitar pick tied behind their backs! But still, even with the obvious cheap-o production shovel-out attitude behind this low-budget wonder I can discern a spark of cool funtime rock energy that really does shine especially next to the horrid Epic Records metallic sludge that was being pooped out the langchute to eagerly-awaiting redfreaks at the time.
Of course the hits are here, not sounding much different from the originals if that matters to you. And the general boogie atmosphere won't win any converts from the Blank Generation, or what's left of that. But for a nice mid-energy 1973-styled ruckus and you want a change from Alice and the Dolls this might just suit you at least during your less-inhibited moments. Just be sure to stock up on enough old issues of CREEM and your choice of mid-seventies fanzines to heighten the experience...after all, listening to Aerosmith while reading THE BOB creem reems about REM and U2 can be a rugged experience that just might lead to serious damage down the road!
(A final anecdote...Lou Rone told me about the time Von Lmo played Max's Kansas City way back in January of '80 and an elated Tommy Dean rushed into their dressing room post-gig to congratulate them! Their feat? None other than breaking the attendance record at Max's. The group whose record Lmo had smashed? Who else but today's subject-at-hand, Aerosmith! Well, that is one for the rockism history books anyway!)