Bullz-Eye Home
Movie DVDs
Music DVDs
Celebrity Babes
The Opposite Sex
Stuff to Buy
Premium Members

Join  Enter

Cool Links

All Pro Models
Premium Hollywood
EatSleepDrink Music
Sports Blog
Cleveland Sports
Political Humor

Interview with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton
Interview with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton
by: Red Rocker
Interview date: 10/28/05
Posted: 11/06/05

Red Rocker Home / CD Reviews / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

ALSO: Visit Eat Sleep Drink Music to post your thoughts, gripes and suggestions!

The bad boys from Boston are back in vintage fashion with a new concert CD and DVD (on the Sony dual disc format) called
Rockin' the Joint: Live at the Hard Rock Hotel. Performed in 2002, this show finds Aerosmith returning to their sweaty roots by blowing the dust off several old relics and laying them down in a small club setting like it was 1972 again. Breaking from their rehearsal schedule as the road vets prepare for a year-long world tour, original bass player Tom Hamilton afforded Bullz-Eye a few minutes recently to tout the strengths of Rockin’ the Joint, share his take on illegal downloads, and explain why his son might already be a better musician than he is.

Bullz-Eye: Tom Hamilton, what a treat. The man responsible for what I’ve long considered the great thundering bass line in any song in rock and roll, “Train Kept a Rollin’”. Love it.

Tom Hamilton: (laughs) Thanks, man.

BE: Speaking of that, the “Rockin’ the Joint” tour…what joint did you guys rock last night?

TH: Uh, we’ve just been rehearsing. Our first show is Sunday night. We’re playing a place called Mohican Sun, which is a casino in Connecticut. It’s this gigantic casino/hotel/massive entertainment complex kinda thing. It’s a really cool place. It’s set up for concerts like an arena, but the sound is better, it’s a bit smaller.

BE: So the goal of this tour is to sort of get back to the small club feel, dust off some of the older material that hasn’t been played in a while?

TH: Yeah. The two songs that to me are the most meaningful on this record (Rockin’ the Joint: Live at the Hard Rock Hotel), and I like this record ‘cause it’s a hard rock record, except for lonely little “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” right in the middle (chuckling)…

BE: (laughing at the fact that Hamilton beat us to the punch) Yeah, where’d that come from?

TH: “Hey, how’d you sneak in there?” (pausing to recall his point) But anyway…”No More No More” and “Seasons of Wither” are the two songs from our ‘70s era that we’re really psyched about having on the album, and we’re playing them both live.

BE: Probably testing your memory a bit here, but this record was actually recorded in January ’02, but just hit stores this week. Why so long in the can?

TH: There’s a film guy named Dick Caruthers, and we decided to make a documentary with him. So we picked three shows and said, “Let’s record these three shows with a recording truck,” as opposed to the little compact hard disc system that we’ve used. Let’s get a recording truck in and do it right, film it on 16mm film. And so we played two arena shows in California and then this club show in Las Vegas at the Joint. The Joint in Las Vegas is about a 1,500 seat club, so we were excited about that because there’s just a lot more freedom of what you can do and what you can play in a club, you know. There’s fewer people in there you have to keep happy. (Laughs) You can just sort of wang away!

BE: And the result of that wanging?

TH: When we did the night at the Joint we added a bunch of songs we hadn’t really been playing that much that we figured would kinda be rusty, but thought, “Let’s get ‘em recorded,” since we have the really great recording system here. So we did, and it’s funny, we got off stage that night after, I think, playing really good…a couple of the guys were like “We sucked!” and I was saying, “No, man, we were really good!”

BE: (laughing at the thought of Aerosmith ever being able to “suck”)

TH: And all that stuff just went into the can. The film, the recording, all of it just got put away for all this time. The only reason that stuff came out and people were ready to analyze it all was because we’d been off the road for a year. The immediate two years after that was recorded, we were touring and we weren’t in a place to really (spend time working on it). We had to wait until we could hear it together with fresh ears, and sure enough we played really well that night. We played some cool songs that we’re really glad are on there, like those two, and “Rattlesnake Shake”.

BE: Yeah, I didn’t even realize “Rattlesnake Shake” was an old Fleetwood Mac song.

TH: Most people don’t know this but Fleetwood Mac back in its original form was a kick-ass blues rock band! Joe (Perry, lead guitarist) and I were insane about them when we were teenagers in the ‘60s. We went to see them at least 2 or 3 times at this place called the Boston Tea Party, which is this legendary cathedral of the hippy era. It was a local psychedelic trippy San Francisco kinda club, which was really happening at the time.

BE: Speaking of the set list, Joe Perry was quoted as saying you’ve only played “No More No More” maybe 20 times live in your entire career. Is that true?

TH: Naw, we’ve played it a bit more than that. It kinda comes and goes, you know. It has its moments, then it goes away for a while and we try something else. We haven’t played it very much…I’d say low to medium. It’s a really fun song to play and we think it’s a good taste of that Rocks album. (Tom’s memory briefly lapses, as “No More No More” is actually from Toys in the Attic, not Rocks)

BE: So the rarest gem on this album, as far as what you guys have played least in your career, would it maybe be “Seasons of Wither”?

TH: Again, that’s another one that comes and goes, but it went for a long time without us playing it. We started putting it in and taking it out again just over the last three years. That song is just a beautiful, dramatic, emotional song, and the people in the audience that are familiar with it genuinely feel that song really deeply. A lot of people might not be as familiar with that era of the band, maybe they just came along in the Permanent Vacation or Pump years…

BE: And then there’s those of us who still own Get Your Wings on vinyl.

TH: You know what? I’ve got an old turntable and I was just telling myself I need to hook that thing up. (Tom’s cell phone rings in background) Oh, hang on, I just wanna see if this is my wife…”Hello? Hi. Yeah, I’m doing interviews. Okay, I will…” Yep, sure enough, that was her.

BE: I was just sitting here thinking about my first Aerosmith concert memory. I’m gonna take you back. It was early 1986 and I was a high school senior. You guys had just released Done with Mirrors, Joe had just come back, and this tour was being sold as a “reunion” of sorts. I think you had Autograph, “Turn Up the Radio”, opening for you that night. Can you remember that tour?

TH: Ha! Where was that gig?

BE: It would have been in Columbus, Ohio at the old Ohio Center. Maybe 5,000 zit-faced kids max, if it was sold out.

TH: We were reveling in the fact that the band was back together at that point. The Done with Mirrors album probably wasn’t the best album we ever made, but we felt good because we had come back, put out an album, and gone on tour. It was like, “Let’s go strut it again,” now that we know how good we had it, before we blew it and broke up.

BE: So that was a real transitional period. Is it safe to say, then, Permanent Vacation was the first real record after the reunion?

TH: Yeah, it’s hard for me to think about albums without thinking about the process that went into recording them. The process of making (Permanent Vacation) was really cool. We were pretty inspired, we were feeling like, “Oh, my God, we’ve really got possibilities now.” That was a close one with the breakup and we almost went the way of a lot of bands and never got it back together. But we did, and we were psyched because we were on an ascending curve again.

BE: And that ’86, ’87 time frame was when you started dealing with Geffen Records?

TH: Right.

BE: And you had, what, five or six years on Geffen before moving back over to Columbia?

TH: Well, the thing is, Columbia signed us while we were still in the middle of honoring our Geffen contract. I forget what year we eventually put out our first Columbia record, but there was a lot of publicity about when we signed. Let’s see, there was one, two, three…(attempting to count albums on the Geffen label)

BE: I know Pump was still Geffen. What was after that, Nine Lives?

TH: Wow, Nine Lives was the one after Pump?! Oh, my God…no, Get A Grip. Yeah, Get A Grip was our last Geffen album of new material.

BE: So what’s your take on the illegal download revolution? Is it hurting the bottom line of mega bands like Aerosmith, or is it just going to be hurting the lesser-known bands that are just getting started?

TH: I think we have a lot of people in our audience who still like to buy CDs. But that is changing and will continue to change. (Long, almost uncomfortable pause) I think most people who were really into the illegal downloading, whatever you wanna call it, file sharing, thought it was just like the old hippy days, just a free for all. But there were people making money off those sites, and people should know that. I never got into it because I’m not really into .mp3. And it’s funny that the record companies never really put this out there, maybe people wouldn’t have responded, but it’s not the best sound quality you can get. Far from it!

BE: A record like this (Rockin’ the Joint) comes out and it just makes me want to go home and dig out Get Your Wings and Toys in the Attic. I had a cassette copy of Live Bootleg back in, what, ’78, ’79 when that thing came out…?

TH: (chuckling)

BE: I flat wore that thing out! So are you allowed to have a favorite Aerosmith album?

TH: Yeah, sure. Picking one is really hard. But I’ll say Rocks. Toys or Rocks, it’s pretty hard to nail down which was a favorite.

BE: I saw a quote from your website recently. It was Little Richard saying, “I looooove Aerosmith! They’re one of my favorite rock and roll bands. They’re full of filth and full of soul.” Why are you guys so strong and so vital 35 years later?

TH: I just think we were so drastically imprinted during the ‘60s. You know, when you’re a kid and you go see a really powerful rock band, it goes deep. At least for me it did. So the next thing is, “Man, I’d really like to do that. I wanna be on stage!” And you just always keep that point of view. We’ve managed to keep that point of view, wanting to spit out the kind of stuff that really inspired us when we were just learning how to play, and do it in a way that we really love.

BE: Looks like you guys are going to be touring now through the end of the year. What’s next for you guys? What does 2006 and 2007 hold for Aerosmith?

TH: Well, the rest of this year and next year we’re gonna be touring pretty much straight through, but we’re gonna try and get an album out.

BE: Of new material?

TH: Yeah.

BE: Last one being Honkin’ on Bobo. As far as the band was concerned, was that record well received?

TH: Yeah, that project worked out really great. It’s not a big commercial thing, but a lot of people really like that record that are into that kind of music. You know, guitar people. We had a great time making it and it was a really interesting thing to do, go make an album full of old blues songs. We pretty much eliminated the writing process, and the writing process can be the most agonizing part of it. But it was a really good creative exercise for us, and to give them credit, Columbia really supported us doing it. In fact, they encouraged us to consider it before we had even thought much about it.

BE: So is that style of music, the guitars-based blues, something you all agree on as being a favorite kind of music?

TH: Yeah, the basis for much of our sound is there. The bands we idolized growing up, The Yardbirds and the Stones, they were very much blues-based bands. The Stones are so known now for their bombastic stage show, but you listen to their early albums and it’s like a punk band. It’s a punk band and it’s a blues band. If they came out now the way they looked and the way they wrote back then, they’d fucking kill again.

BE: Is there any new music out today that you’re listening to, or are you still spinning the old stuff?

TH: I really like Kings of Leon, especially the first record. The new one I really like, but that first one…

BE: Youth and Young Manhood?

TH: Oh, man, I couldn’t believe that album! When that guy sings he sounds like an old mountain man. I see this guy with a beard up in the hollow drinking whiskey…and they’re from that area, too. I think they’re all from Tennessee. But I think it’s really fascinating because they’re spitting out some very traditional stuff and they’re young guys, they’re in their 20’s. These guys have an awareness of things and you just go, “Wow!” This is wisdom you usually get later in life. Their sound is really cool, I like it a lot. Kinda like the new H.I.M. album too. How’s that one being received?

BE: (clueless) Which one?

TH: H.I.M. The band from Holland. They were one of Bam Margera’s favorite bands. You know, that “Viva la Bam” thing?

BE: Oh, the guy from "Jackass"?

TH: Yeah. And I like that band CKY. A lot of it comes my way via my son, who’s just become a music-obsessed adolescent.

BE: Is he playing?

TH: He’s starting to. He’s funny, if I try to approach him and try to show him something on guitar he’s like, “Whoa, whoa whooooooa, hold back there, tiger!” And I’m pretty gentle about it, but he picks up the guitar and plays a little keyboard and some drums. He could be an amazing musician! My son’s adopted, actually both my kids are, so I can’t claim any genetic link to this (laughs).

BE: (also chuckling)

TH: But he’s got more natural ability than I ever had, you know, at that age or beyond. He wants to do it, and there are people who are naturally gifted or blessed with talent, but there’s a lot of other stuff that’s gotta pan out and that you gotta be in order for that to turn into anything.

BE: You got any personal time line for this career of yours, or you just gonna ride it and see where it takes you?

TH: Yeah, I’m gonna ride it. (Pause) And when we can, we’re gonna steer it. We’re a little bit better at steering these days than we used to be. We’re at a crossroads. We’ve got one album to go on Columbia. You’ve got the new media explosion, and who knows how music is going to be put out there to the public. So we’re pretty excited that once we’re done with this current Sony (Columbia) contract, we can really think about things. Who knows, maybe we’ll go right back to a regular record deal. But maybe we won’t…

BE: Well, this has certainly been a treat. I wish you the best out on the road and into the end of the year. Have a great holiday season, and say “Hi” to the boys.

TH: Thanks, enjoyed it.

Send any questions or comments to redrocker@bullz-eye.com.  




Bullz-Eye.com : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

© 2000-2005 Bullz-Eye.com®, All Rights Reserved. Contact the webmaster with questions or comments. Privacy Policy and Site Map