- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1476714541
- ISBN-13: 978-1476714547
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 317 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rocks: My Life in and out of Aerosmith Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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“An insightful and harrowing roller coaster ride through the career of one of rock and roll’s greatest guitarists. Strap yourself in.” (Slash)
“Rocking Joe Perry ‘rocks’ again!” (Jimmy Page)
“Joe Perry has been the AxeMeister longer than some of you have been alive. He’s been there, and done that. He has been the consummate six-string gunslinger for a band that has always done things their own way. Joe never went Hollywood. Joe never looked over his shoulder to see who was running behind him. Ever the gentleman rocker, Joe sits high atop of rock royalty. Admit it. You’re jealous. When I grow up, I want to be Joe Perry.”
“Joe Perry describes with amazing detail and passion the virtual odyssey of his life as the quintessential rock star in America’s most famous rock band of all time. Like his riffs, his story is inspired, crisp, and packs a punch. Joe Perry has done for rock and roll what the human genome project and stem cell technology have done for medicine—broken it wide open to inspire and shape our music for many decades to come. I could not stop reading this book!” (Rudolph Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and New York Times bestselling coauthor (with Deepak Chopra) of Super Brain)
"One might guess that I, Perry Farrell, would admire Joe Perry because he is a legendary guitar ripper, and you'd easily be right on the button—however, what you wouldn't have guessed is that I admire, respect, and have looked up to Joe Perry for years because he is a mad passionate, devoted husband and loving daddy who rocks. Viva familia Joe!" (Perry Farrell)
About the Author
Lead guitarist Joe Perry and singer Steven Tyler wrote the majority of the songs that form the backbone of Aerosmith’s catalogue. In 2013, they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Top customer reviews
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Joe Perry's book - no doubt aided by bestselling biographer David Ritz - is enjoyable and readable. While intoxicated and drugged during the '70s, the overall calm and determined focus of Perry helps to convey the story of Aerosmith in a clear business like way. Tyler's biography was way more colourful, impulsive, stream-of-consciousness and anecdotal. Perry focuses on his personal decisions (shedding light where Tyler did not) in leaving the band; his ongoing frustrations and his inner life.
Without saying, Perry really is the backbone of Aerosmith while Steven is the consummate frontman, and the two play out their roles in Perry's story. So while Tyler's voice shouts louder and is more sensory - Perry's tale is one of a geek who became a guitar god. It's fascinating to hear both men speak, even if one wonders how accurate events were. Whatever the case, Perry's love of music triumphs above the chaos. And for Aerosmith, one of the most remarkable rock and roll bands in history - the Train Keeps A Rollin'...
Joe always let the music do the talking for him, so it's a treat to hear him finally open his mouth and tell his story. I liked this book because it was about him and his family and their lives, not just the usual litany of groupies laid, concerts played and records made (though that's in there, too).
It's a good book. Nice collection of photos, and a detailed run-down of his gear for any guitarists wanting to know how he does what he does.
Long life to you, Joe.
Fans will not find a lot new here. The Judy Carne romance episode is fresh and interesting, though the young folks won't know of her fame. Still, Perry and his ghost author explain the story of his life and career well and Perry comes through as a sincere lover of rock and blues music and his fans.
The book's does confirm, intentionally or not, who the band's biggest talent is: its singer, Steven Tyler. Perry can riff with extraordinary creativity and, over (a long) time, Perry self-learned to make the guitar into a dynamic tool of his natural talent and devoted work. But Tyler, whose music background was bred from childhood and family professional history, and who possesses a natural feel for melody, lyric wordplay and rhythm (along with a unique voice and a behind-the-scenes mastery of many instruments) really was the main force that propelled the band and its songs into classic and monster-selling status. The other members of the band contributed a lot as well, and one of the weaknesses of this book is that Perry speaks so little of them, though he is gracious when he does. But the sound of Aerosmith's strong and versatile instrumentation is hardly just Perry. His self-confessed vice of arrogance (and apparent envy here and there) creeps through.
Perry's clear anger at Tyler's ego, behind-the-back maneuvering, and weak work-ethic (as compared to Perry and the other band members) remains justified nevertheless. Some of this book is letting off that steam while admiring Tyler and even appreciating Tyler's virtues of helpfulness, talent, and in earlier days, friendship and loyalty. "Rocks" manages to be effective as both tribute and complaint.
Perry and Tyler's famed drug issues remain mysterious before and after this book. Perry is candid enough, despite anti-addiction sentiments, to admit that the appeal of drug use was simply that it is fun, and it even helped with some creativity in their growth period. But the origin of that addiction -- a self-medication for ADD?; a self-destructive alcoholic granddad's genes? -- or of his drive-to fame is not clarified. In the case of Tyler and Perry the addictions also come paradoxically in the face of being raised comfortably and non-abusively by loving and supportive parents, whose love and memory are returned and celebrated here. The only generation gap issue for Perry was long-hair in his high school days and Perry's parents were more supportive than harassing.
Ultimately, Perry is his origins -- a moderate conservative American white guy (of immigrant Portugese-Italian background) from middle class suburbia but who has an unusual career and a high-energy drive towards it. He supports Republicans and brags about his kids' careers and his later stable long-term marriage and family. He is very very subtly disdainful of, or perhaps more fairly said, distancing of, gays, or at least being identified with non-heterosexuality. His blues-fan sense is also more directed at English white blues-rockers than original black bluesmen. (This doesn't make him racist -- he is sincerely proud of having helped break MTV's video bias-barrier against black videos with the Run-DMC "Walk This Way" collaboration. But he is not some social radical seeking new and "diverse" experiences.)
Joe Perry is one of the genuinely stuffiest of genuinely cool dudes.
Again, the book tells us not much more than fans already knew. But fans will mostly enjoy it. And one final section -- an extended discussion of his "backline" and equipment -- will give those who love their amps, guitars, and effects, and all the brand names and models that go with that, a full out gear-gasm.
This is a fine book, aimed at fans, with no great revelations or insights, but enough adventures and information to keep interested readers. . . . interested. And it will keep fans pleased and rewarded, though probably not wholly satisfied if they want radically new information or perspectives.
One nit I have with it, and it seems like many reviewers agree, is that it seems like it is focused on his relationship with Steven. Rock book fans like myself read lots of memoir-ish works (like, for example, Slash's book) and expect a broad view of what was happening. Joe was focused on Steven in the book, and it is clear to the reader that the reason is not because because Tyler was his "brother", but because that is the person with whom he had the most issues. Nothing wrong with that except for two things:
1) There are many somewhat awkward portions of the book when Joe lays out his passion for his "brother" Steven although his apparently legitimate gripes and resentment are all over the book. (but to be fair, if I were Joe I might have made the same choice given 40 years and a lt of ups and downs)
2) I want to hear about the other three guys if I am an Aerosmith fan. True enough, Joe and Steven are the star attractions, but as I was reading this, I felt that this was Joe's answer to some book that was out there that was saying what he didn't want it to say. Maybe Tyler's
One aside, Joe's book has a lot of good pics at the end and the portions at the tail end of the book from the guitar techs are awesome if you are a wanna-be player. I have never seen that before