Joseph Anthony Pereira, AKA Joe Perry, is one of the world’s most talented guitarists, and across his career, he has reaffirmed his position as one of the very best to have picked up the six-string. The lead axeman in rock legends Aerosmith, together with frontman Steven Tyler, the duo would become known as ‘The Toxic Twins’, an American answer to The Rolling Stones’ hell-raising partnership, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Of his influences, Perry once recalled: “This band called The Yardbirds had a sound like I had never heard before, they had guitars that sound like nothing I’d ever heard before. The Stones were pushing the edge with distorted guitars. That was a big influence on me.”
However, his music has much more bite than The Stones or The Yardbirds could ever have dreamed of creating, and alongside guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, and Ritchie Blackmore, Perry’s contributions to rock were significant in helping to develop the formula and make it more potent than what came before.
A versatile master of the six-string, Perry’s style sits somewhere between that of Jimi Hendrix and Slash, and is every bit as impressive as both. In fact, one would argue that Perry is actually relatively overlooked when it comes to discussions of the greatest guitar players, which is astounding. He’s more dextrous than the likes of Eric Clapton and has a style that is much more unique than simply borrowing heavily from the Delta blues of the 1930s.
At his best, Perry is a buccaneer of the fretboard, exuding the confidence that courses through all of Aerosmith’s best cuts. Able to blend disparate genres such as psychedelia and metal all within the space of mere seconds, cuts ranging from ‘Love in an Elevator’ to ‘Sweet Emotion’, are just two moments that display the large creative arsenal he has at his disposal.
Enjoying two stints in Aerosmith, from 1970 to 1979 and 1982 until the present, Perry featured on all of what is considered their classic albums. Consequently, in an interview with Uncut in 2007, whilst discussing the band’s discography alongside Steven Tyler, Perry revealed which title is his least favourite, and unsurprisingly, it’s one of the band’s weakest releases.
Perry chose 1985’s Done with Mirrors, which features tracks such as ‘Let The Music Do The Talking’, ‘My Fist Your Face’, and ‘Shela’. The album is notorious because the band regards it as incomplete. When appearing on VH1’S That Metal Show, drummer Joey Kramer admitted that he also dislikes the record, stating that Aerosmith “never really finished it”.
Perry explained: “For me, the worst ever was Done with Mirrors. At that time, we were trying to make an album that was a bit like the old Aerosmith and a bit like where we wanted to be heading. Those songs weren’t completely lacking in inspiration. But little of it added up. That has to be our weakest record.”
The guitarist then divulged that his favourite is 1993’s Get a Grip, the home of the hits ‘Crazy’ and ‘Livin’ on the Edge’: “Our strongest has to be Get a Grip. It feels like a point of culmination that record, where we realized our potential and brought it right up front. I’m not surprised that songs like ‘Eat the Rich’ and ‘Livin’ on the Edge’ have survived the test of time”.