Ahead of their first Australian dates in 24 years, bassist Tom Hamilton confirms that he really doesn't want to miss a thing...
For the first time in 24 friggin' years, Aerosmith will be touring in Australia – and they've added this second show at Rod Laver Arena with the Dead Daisies in support. The tour forms part of Aerosmith's Global Warming world tour. Time Out grabs five minutes with bassist Tom Hamilton.
Tom, are you superstitious before you go on stage?
I have a whole ritual that’s very unconscious. I have certain little things that I only wear when I’m on stage – like a bracelet or something like that.
Do you ever miss the old days of playing in a garage?
I have so many musical ideas that will probably never get taken up by the band and sometimes I wonder how much fun it might be to have a side project, because when I come to Aerosmith with a riff – by the time everyone puts their own ideas in it never comes out the way I’d envisaged it.
Your father was in the air force – did he have a career plotted out for you?
No, my father never pressured me to be in the military and I think maybe that was because he had his own thoughts about what his career was like. My parents never really paid that much attention to my grade in high school. I guess they kind of let me run wild a little bit. I think when I told them I wasn’t going to go to college and that I was going to move to Boston and start a band with Joe Perry they were shocked – but when they realised there was no way to talk me out of it they were reasonably supportive.
Aerosmith’s music is almost like opera in terms of drama and emotion. What are some of the amazing things that you’ve heard some of it being used for?
I’ll never forget the day my sister had a dear friend who passed away. I hardly knew the person but I went to their funeral and sure enough there were things in the church that represented what the girl loved – her skis, and some other things. One of the things up there was the cover of the Aerosmith album. It never occurred to me that our music would have such deep meaning for someone, but over the years I’ve been surprised many times to find out how much it means to people. And I understand that because when I think about Led Zeppelin or the Who or the Beatles, it means much more to me than just music.
Well, it’s the score to someone’s life, isn’t it?
It’s food for the soul. I don’t really know how to describe it with any deep meaning but it’s something that music triggers, something in your brain that once you’ve heard it you want more of it.
Go on, then – what are your memories of Australia?
Bungee jumping for the first time and my manager being extremely pissed off about it. We had a manager back then who was extremely obsessed with controlling everybody so we didn’t mess up our career path. A couple of us went bungee jumping and should have kept it a secret I guess. We got the lecture. But hey, it’s like when my parents found out I wanted to move to Boston to be in a band. It’s like, sorry, these things happen.
How do you keep touring exciting for you?
When we play, we have these huge ramps that go out into the audience. The band members can be a few hundred metres away from each other, but because of the technology of the in-ear monitors that we use, we can hear each other perfectly. Whereas early on we had to be only a few feet away from each other to keep tabs on what everybody was playing. So technology is a big part of what keeps us into it. The coming of the Internet and the new recording technology makes new ways of expressing our music possible. We just don’t want to miss out on anything. I think that’s it – we just don’t want to ever be a in a situation where some amazing movement happens in the music world and we don’t get to be a part of it.