Book Review: Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
Back in 1997 Stephen Davis wrote Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith and I remember reading it and being mildly shocked, somewhat amused, largely enlightened, very informed and never bored. This was a big deal at the time because many rumors had persisted for years about who said what to whom and at what point did the relationship between Joe Perry and the rest of the band deteriorate to where Joe left the band in 1979 half way through recording Nut In The Ruts. Was it just a rift between Joe and Steven? Why did he through a glass of milk at Tom Hamilton’s wife in Cleveland Ohio? We got the answers and then some.
In 2009 Joey Kramer released what would be the first individual band memoir from Aerosmith followed by Steven Tyler in 2011. Kramer’s book I thought was a bit easier to read and basically accounted for his life in order where Steven’s book was all over the place and at times hard to follow. In it Steven constantly drooled over his love and affection for Joe Perry, almost to the point of embarrassment. Fast Forward to 2014 and now we have Mr. Joe Perry with his autobiography and the 3rd of the five band members. I’m happy to report that of the three Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith is not only the most interesting but also the most personal. Joe leaves nothing to your imagination and takes you on a journey from a struggling student who had an undiagnosed learning disability to being one of the most respected rock stars of his generation.
Joe is very candid about his relationship with his parents, band members, wives and his children. He talks a lot about his Dad and even though his passion for music often overrode what was considered good judgment, Anthony Perry always supported his son. One of the biggest differences between Tyler’s book from Perry’s is the brutal honesty. Perry is very critical of what he calls Tyler’s jealousy of almost every relationship Joe has ever had with the opposite sex, mainly out of what he deems jealousy. This goes back to my point that in Tyler’s book he almost has an obsession with Perry to the point where he didn’t want anything coming between Joe and Aerosmith’s musical direction. While at the same time Perry goes into great detail of Tyler’s slow lyrical writing style and that over the years it has been hell writing and recording with him because he is such a perfectionist.
From the very first time I heard “Draw The Line” at my first girlfriends house in her basement I was drawn to the guitar playing. I’ve always been a huge Joe Perry fan from that point onward. In Rocks Joe Perry gives us his side to many different topics from other bands, to his musical heroes, to the bands love for the Three Stooges. You will read in great detail what it was like for all 5 band members living together at 1325 Commonwealth and the women and the drugs that went along with them. Perry is a guy that has regrets but that I don’t think would change very much along the way. Give Rocks a read and see what makes Joe Perry roll.