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article imageAerosmith's Tom Hamilton discusses the band's current activities Special

By Adrian Peel     Jul 2, 2015 in Music
The Aerosmith juggernaut just keeps on rolling and in 2015 the legendary five-piece from Boston, Massachusetts - America's most successful rock band - remain as busy as ever. Digital Journal spoke to their bass player, Mr. Sweet Emotion himself.
The mighty Aerosmith, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, have been on the road electrifying audiences for most of their 45-year existence, so it comes as no surprise that Tom Hamilton, easily identifiable as the tallest member of the band, is talking to me from Los Angeles, having flown into the City of Angels from Texas the previous night following a gig in Hidalgo.
"This tour, we could have called it the 'Off the Beaten Path Tour' because we're playing a lot of places that are away from the major cities," states the chatty 63 year old, a father of two and a well-known cancer survivor. "Quite a few of the venues we're playing for the first time. They're different types of events; it's rodeos and state fairs and Football Hall of Fame events...
"We're sort of slowly going into hiding so that we can come back out in a few years and do a tour that'll really knock the fans out. We've been touring a lot for years and years so it's time for us to kind of sneak around and not be in front of everybody's face all the time."
This year's trek is called the Blue Army Tour and it kicked off in Glendale, Arizona on June 13. In the tour's press release, lead guitarist Joe Perry explains the reasoning behind it:
“The name Blue Army came from the fact that ‘everyone’ in our audience from the '70s was wearing blue denim and it looked like a sea of blue, thus The Blue Army.”
"We're playing really good," replies Tom, co-writer of two of Aerosmith's best known songs, "Sweet Emotion" and "Janie's Got a Gun," when asked how the gigs have been going. "We've done four shows now and it's really awesome... It doesn't matter where you play, it's the same thing going on.
"It's the band in some great big room somewhere, or an amphitheatre, and you're up there just trying to get the biggest reaction you can out of that crowd so they go home and feel like they've had a really great time."
And there are a few less familiar album tracks in the set this time around?
"Yeah, we're at the beginning of that process of popping in a few songs that we haven't been playing a lot, like last night we played 'Lord of the Thighs' which is from our second album (Get Your Wings)...
"There's parts of the set that are structural songs that'll always be there and then we have slots where we can interchange songs - we played one called 'F.I.N.E.' last night that we haven't played a lot recently... It's a matter of pulling those out, playing them and seeing what kind of reaction you get."
As touched upon earlier, Aerosmith, an act that has sold over 150 million records worldwide, will be strutting their stuff at the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Concert for Legends as an upcoming stop on this two-month jaunt.
In fact, their highly anticipated performance at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio will be the 16th and final date and will take place on Friday, August 7, three days after the tour officially ends in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 4.
The concert is to celebrate the new inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and I wondered how New England's finest musical export ended up on the bill (the band Living Colour are also scheduled to play).
"The Patriots are friends of ours," notes the well-connected musician, "and our kids went to school together... I was over at one of their family events and this guy Andre Tippett, who was a football player from long ago, was there and he came over and said, 'Hey, I can't wait to see you in Ohio!'
"I thought, 'Well, that's really good, what do you mean?!' My knowledge about that gig is just kind of coming into focus now... It's obviously a big event around the Football Hall of Fame and we've been very fortunate to be asked to be part of it.
"Everybody likes rock 'n' roll now... It used to be football players beat up musicians with long hair. Now we all get together and have a good time."
As well as their recent on-stage appearances, the fiery fivesome are also readying Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014, an explosive, 20-track, decade-spanning DVD collection of some of their finest tunes recorded live in June last year at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, the fourth time that Tom and co. have played this iconic venue.
"We had a DVD we put out a few years ago and it was a big success with the fans - it came out really good," observes the blonde bass player, revealing why he and his buddies decided to release a new visual document of the Aerosmith live experience, "so we had our eyes open for these types of opportunities...
"Eagle Rock, we got together with them and said, 'Hey, we're gonna be doing some big festivals in Europe, do you want to do a DVD of one of them?' and it was a big enthusiastic yes. This festival at Donington, they call it Download now. It used to be called Monsters of Rock, but we always refer to it as 'Donington.'
"It's got a lot of history behind it and I always feel honoured to be in a band that's asked to headline that show. You really feel for the crowd there because you have the English weather and when we go on they've been there for three days and they've been drinking and eating and having hangovers...
"But dammit, they stay there. They stay through the rain and they're still there when we go on, so it really makes you want to go and make it worth it for them.
"So this year we decided to get a really great director, Dick Carruthers, who's done a lot of amazing rock documentaries and get a bunch of extra cameras and do a really nice film of the show.
The cover of the new DVD.
The cover of the new DVD.
Aaron Feterl
"We've been working really hard on it, taking part in the mixing and the sequencing and the graphics - every aspect of putting this thing together. We're really proud of it and hopefully people will love it when they see it."
Since Music from Another Dimension!, their 15th studio album, came out in 2012, the various members of Aerosmith have been constantly fielding questions about the possibility of a follow-up. Any updates on the situation?
"It's hard to get Steven to think about it right now because he's doing his little thing there... I know Joe is into it, I know I'm into it. I think once Steven's been through the cycle of his solo album, he's gonna want to come back and do another one...
"We'll figure out a way - whatever it takes. There's still a lot of creativity in the band and there's still a lot of desire to get better and do something better than what we've done before. So as long as that's there, there's always a chance for a new Aerosmith album."
Steven Tyler's "little thing" is of course his much-publicised switch to country music. Recently, the quintessential rock vocalist and avid silk scarf collector, a former judge on American Idol, was quoted as saying that the rest of the band were less than happy about his new solo project.
"I saw that quote where he sort of made a blanket remark that we're mad at him for doing it, which is ridiculous - that's his own perception," says Tom, who admits that he has thought about writing his memoirs (Steven, Joe and drummer Joey Kramer have all published theirs), making his views on the subject clear.
"It's funny; sometimes he'll talk about how he's been persecuted by the band over the years, but whatever... If it causes drama, let's show that! He wanted to do this creative exercise of going and making an album, and I can't blame him for wanting to do it. Joe's done it before, I'd love to do it someday. Why be angry about it?"
Aerosmith are on tour now. To check the dates, visit their official website.
Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 is out September 4 on DVD and Blu-ray.
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