Joe Perry Reveals If He’s Jealous Of Van Halen

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Popular musician Joe Perry recently remembered the arrival of legendary Eddie Van Halen and how it figured in the wake-up call he experienced in the early ’80s. He noted that in turn, led to his departure from Aerosmith and a reconsideration of the band’s future.

It has been noted that the late guitar hero’s impact on rock and metal scenes was so much that any hypothetical argument for measuring time in terms of “Before Van Halen” and “Anno Van Halen” wouldn’t be outright dismissed by a number of guitar players out there.

From the very beginning Eddie & Co. proved very well capable of one-upping even the most prominent bands from the previous generation — as seen on “Never Say Die!” tour when they opened for Black Sabbath — so it stands to reason that Van Halen got Joe Perry thinking.

“I just had to take care of myself. My personal life wasn’t all that great, and I had to deal with that. I had come to terms with that and knew it was time to leave. But I also felt we needed to be more open to new ideas”, Perry tells Guitar World of his short-lived departure from Aerosmith in 1979, noting how that need for new ideas was in no small part motivated by Van Halen’s success:

“We were rolling into the ’80s, and I still remember hearing the first Van Halen record and fucking loving it. I mean… what a great fucking record.

“Eddie’s guitar playing was just so incredible; he turned guitar on its fucking ear and was doing stuff that I’d never heard before. I knew it was time for a break because new ideas were needed.”

He added:

“But we also needed to re-adjust our sights and learn to get along again. “I remember saying, ‘We’re not ready for the ’80s.’ I don’t know why I said that; it was just a vibe or a feeling I had.”

Looking back on the last Aerosmith album he recorded prior to his departure, Perry said:

“That record was a nightmare. But I have to say, it features some of the best playing Aerosmith has ever done in the studio.”

Perry left midway through the recording process, and when it was released in 1979, “Night in the Ruts” didn’t receive the warmest of welcomes. Still, the guitarist seems to have warmed up to it over the years, as he now says:

“I remember checking it out after I left, and I was very surprised they left me on it since I left in the middle of it.

“If you look at a song like ‘Cheesecake’, the slow slide in the middle, we did that live in the studio, and it’s so great. I think it could have been a huge record if we had the chance to tour behind it. But it was not to be.”