“That went down like a lead balloon” Brad Whitford recalls the time Aerosmith’s producer replaced him and Joe Perry with session guitarists

There aren’t any hard feelings, however, with Whitford saying they made him into a better guitarist.

Brad Whitford of Aerosmith performs at UBS Arena, New York on 9 September 2023. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Brad Whitford has opened up about when Aerosmith‘s producer replaced him and Joe Perry with session guitarists on the band’s 1974 second album Get Your Wings.

Said producer, Jack Douglas, was dissatisfied with the work of Whitford and Perry on the record, and brought in session aces Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner to add some “finesse” to proceedings. The results were a mixed bag, but Hunter’s solo on Train Kept A-Rollin in particular has become famous over the years.

Now, speaking to Guitar World, Whitford recalls the awkward moment when he and Perry were told that their work was going to be replaced, “It was Jack who had the difficult task of breaking the news to Joe and me,” he explains. “And of course, that went down like a lead balloon.

“At first you fight, and you’re a little bit angry, and then you get sad to where you’re like really bummed out that you can’t do it. And the thing was that we’d done some good stuff and could play good stuff, but the tracks required some real finesse, you know?”

However, it doesn’t sound as though Whitford has any hard feelings, and in fact is hugely complimentary of the work added by the  Hunter and Wagner. “I mean… listen to Train Kept A-Rollin today,” he says. “Those are some fucking genius rock leads. That was some great stuff and probably some of the stuff that they were most proud of out of anything they’d done. That solo is blistering.”

And he even goes on to say that Hunter playing with Aerosmith actually made him a better player. “I had the unique pleasure of being in the studio when Steve came in to cut the ’Train solo,” he explains. “I listen back to it even today, and it’s still a lesson on guitar.”

“Since then, Steve has had so much influence on me as a player because his playing is very much up my alley. I continue to learn some of the nuances in his playing. And Dick was a bit more like Joe, so it worked out very well.”

Aerosmith are currently embarking on a farewell tour, which Joe Perry has confirmed will definitely be the end of the road for the band, “I really do think it is it,” Perry said elsewhere Guitar World. “If you look at how old we are, the fact that we can still go out and play as a band is still pretty remarkable.”


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