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In The Beginning ...


The band remembers the early days, when Joe Perry worked the deep fryer and the parties never stopped ...


Making The Music


The guys talk about the songwriting process, and share memories of writing "Walk This Way," "Janie's Got a Gun" and other classic tracks ...


The Drug Years


The group battles drug addiction and alcoholism ...


Brotherly Love


How the days of furniture-throwing and awkward moments between Joe and Tom's wives have turned into one big lovefest ...


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The Drug Years

Perry: I had the typical attitude of most 20-year-olds when it came to drugs, where you figure, "It ain't gonna happen to me. I'm smarter than that." And that's all. I didn't think that much more past it. I was careful enough not to go over the top. We certainly mixed enough things together ... and you mix that with fast cars, and you're bound to have accidents.
"It ain't gonna happen to me. ..."
We heard about it happening to a lot of people, and we had a lot of accidents. I can't even count all the smashed-up, totaled cars amongst all of us, but fortunately we walked away from all of them.




Hamilton: I never thought it was a dependency for me. I thought it was just what everybody was doing and I'm doing it too. As long as I could get up onstage and play a whole show and not make too many mistakes, I felt like I was in the groove. So my awareness of how drugs and alcohol really affected me negatively didn't come until after I kind of got out of it, after I got clean.

Whitford: We had expensive tastes and we were making more money, so you'd buy better drugs. And it was like every night was Saturday. That was just the way it was. That was the '70s. And when you're 20 years old, for some reason you think you can do that forever.

There were certainly enough moments where it looked awfully dangerous. It was like working around high explosives. People were starting to kind of go in their own directions, just as a survival technique. I can't be around this. This is too crazy. But what else am I gonna do? In my case, I didn't know what else to do. I wanted to be in Aerosmith but I didn't know how to fix any of the problems. As the drug use escalated it really started to become a factor in people showing up for work or being able to work. How do you deal with that? For myself It was a sense of helplessness. Most of the people I talked to were sympathetic but also had no answers.

"I never worried about their health. ..."
Hamilton: Maybe this is the mercenary side of it, but I never worried about [Joe and Steven's] health. I worried about whether we were going to finish a tour or get the songs done.

I really started to feel the consequences of it when we started rehearsing for the Draw the Line album. The only ones that would really be there were me, Joey and Brad. And there were days when I was there but not really there. But I really started to worry because Steven and Joe weren't coming to rehearsal. And it's not that they weren't into the record or anything — they were both working on music — but all of a sudden this close huddle that I was used to was not happening anymore.


NEXT: 'The worst that can happen is you can clean up, find out that your life is worse and you can always start drinking again. You can always go out and get high again ...'
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Photo: Courtesy Columbia

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 "Jaded" (live)
Just Push Play
(Columbia)



 "Just Push Play" (live)
Just Push Play
(Columbia)


 "Big Ten Inch Record" (live)
Toys in the Attic
(Columbia)



 "Back in the Saddle" (live)
Rocks
(Columbia)



 "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing"
Armageddon
(Columbia)



 "Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)"
Nine Lives
(Columbia)



 "Cryin' "
Get a Grip
(Geffen)



 "Livin' on the Edge"
Get a Grip
(Geffen)



 "Janie's Got a Gun"
Pump
(Geffen)


 "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
Permanent Vacation
(Geffen)


 "Dream On"
Aerosmith
(Columbia)





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