Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker

“I said, ‘Fuck ‘em. I don’t need them anymore. We’re gonna fuckin’ get on a bus and tour across the country, play theaters, and make a great record.’
“I called some guys up and said, ‘Yeah, come join my band.’”
-- Joe Perry (Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith, 1997)

By the late 1970s, drug abuse and infighting had destroyed Aerosmith. During the summer of 1979, Perry formed the Joe Perry Project with sidemen Ralph Mormon, David Hull, and Ronnie Stewart. “I had always loved the punk thing,” Perry says in “Walk This Way.” “I was the one in the car playing the Sex Pistols...the economy of that sound is what I was after.”

Perry released “Let the Music Do the Talking” in 1979, then fired Mormon after the first tour. By the spring of 1981, Perry had hired Charlie Farren and began work on the album that would become “I’ve Got the Rock’N’Rolls Again.” The album was promptly buried, according to Perry: “Nobody ever even heard it except for the hardest of the hard-core fans.”

Through the next couple of years, Perry tried as best he could to keep the Project going, as much for the money (he owed the IRS for back taxes) as for the music. He completely shuffled the line-up, hiring Cowboy Mach Bell, Danny Hargrove, and Joe Pet. “It was just for fun,” Perry says. “A good-time band, no illusions about the group going straight to the top...There was one Super Bowl Sunday where we had the police at our hotel three times in one night. There was blood on the walls, which they didn’t like.”

I saw the first version of the Joe Perry Project at the Country Club in Reseda, CA. The band covered “Heartbreak Hotel,” and a couple of Aerosmith songs, and put on what I recall as a pretty awesome show. Ironically, it would be after a terrible show there in 1984 that the first steps would be taken toward reuniting the members of Aerosmith.

I’ve got a sampling today of music from each of the three Joe Perry Project albums.

Let the Music Do the Talking.mp3 from Let the Music Do the Talking
Conflict of Interest.mp3 from Let the Music Do the Talking
I’ve Got the Rock’N’Rolls Again.mp3 from I’ve Got the Rock’N’Rolls Again
No Substiture for Arrogance.mp3 from I’ve Got the Rock’N’Rolls Again
Bang A Gong (T Rex cover).mp3 from Once A Rocker, Always A Rocker
Once A Rocker, Always a Rocker.mp3 from Once A Rocker, Always A Rocker

From YouTube, the video for Black Velvet Pants from the “Once a Rocker” album.


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