Friday, July 27, 2012

A band called Aerosmith (1972 or 1 not sure)

About 1972 or 1 or so, a local band practice nearby at a place called the warehouse. For a long time a thought they practice at a garage near Bay State Cycles but found out later in life it was at the warehouse. I was too young at the time to venture out of federal prison (Prospect Hill Projects). This local band was very popular among the teenagers at the projects and we had heard a lot about them (mostly the partying that went on). Nobody had much money so this was a way for the project kids to see a concert. Being 7 and too busy riding my new (recently borrowed) bicycle into the pool. The pool at the projects was one that tapered down to 4 feet in depth and started out at 6”. At the front end of the pool was a fountain that sprayed water.  Riding my bicycle into the pool was an enjoyable event for me. Not sure what was the attraction was but I enjoyed it. On this particular day the attendants of the pool bared me from riding my bicycle into the pool and I was the leaving the area when a project friend came running up to me and announced that “that band is here, down on Hanson Rd.”  My brain said “Bing-go.” “They are setting up to play music.” I yanked my bicycle out of the pool and peddled down to 22g Dermondy road were I, my mom and brothers lived. After changing out of my wet clothes I met up with my friends who were gathering out front of my house and we stormed down the hill (snotty nose and all) to see this band that we had heard so much about. The members of the band (by the way, I do not remember the band at the time being called Aerosmith) were plugging in the amps and setting up the drums.

 First thing I would like to say is that Aerosmith is the first band that I have ever heard of playing the projects. I have seen Rappers today actually play at local projects as part of their tour. In the late 90’s I saw this in Virginia while working at Newport News Shipbuilding. They played at the projects by day and then at night at the Hampton Coliseum. Credit where credit is due.

The band was setting up, as I said earlier, plugging amps into an orange extension cord and getting ready to crank it up. They stetted up at the end of Hanson Rd down at the dead end, at the circle. I remember watching the blond hair dude (Hamilton) and slinky (Tyler). I called him slinky because he reminded me of a popular tool, at the time, called slinky. It is a spiral wound (coil) piece of wire that today they make out of plastic. The toy would spring around when pulled and has a funny look to it. The band cranked into some heavy songs and we the kids were pushed back out of the way by the local girls who insisted to be close to the band. At one point I was 3 feet from slinky, by the end of the first song I was at the back of the crowd. I was not too happy because I had thought I had a new friend.

 Aerosmith is a band that I have enjoyed from day one. 1975 my brother Scott had bought an album call ‘Toys in the Attic.” Musically I had gone from Elvis to the beetles to the Rolling Stones and now Aerosmith. They enlightened me to a different sound that I had never heard before this date and after this I found many different types of music. During the 80’s I would hitch hike across Massachusetts going to see Aerosmith play. During the 80’s Aerosmith would announce shows out of nowhere. I found out later it was generally because they were broke and needed cash, being from Boston they always had people willing to show.

In the early nineties I worked for a guy named Tom Marron who claimed that he use to deal drugs to the members of the band. Apparently they had a serious cocaine problem back then (old news today). Tommy said they were a nightmare, getting calls at all hours of the night wanting more, more, and more. He would, at times, double the price in hoping they would say forget it and they would say “bring it over.” This sort of abuse became apparent one night in Worchester Mass. at a show I was attending when Steven Tyler passed out on stage. I remember him hanging on to a tall stand up fan on stage that looked like it was going to drop into the crowd. Tyler was drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels and picking something out of a wood bowl next to the drum set. Some type of pill I presume. He poured that Jack down his throat at an alarming volume, like there was no tomorrow.  The whole obsession with drugs caught up to him that night and his body and mind gave out and he collapsed right on stage… the band played on ( I believe it was “Train Kept a Rolling”).( I am writing this in a coffee house in Portsmouth, NH and a beautiful woman with red Patten leather shoes just walked in and has caught undivided attention and I forgot to breath) anyways, shortly after this night the “toxic twins” as they were called at the time cleaned thing up and for good reason. This is now long into their past.

One show I went to in Foxboro stadium, again a show announced for no apparent reason or album release, the band had half of Foxboro Stadium set up, about mid field. I meet some folks at a wall that divided the stadium into to two sections and it cost more to go down on the field. We were devising a plan to jump the wall. We diverted the attention of the guards by telling them that 3 blokes had just jumped the wall. When they ran over to catch them, guess what, we jumped the wall. It was an extremely hot day and the faint at heart were passing out and carried off. That day was videotaped by someone on stage and the band had a large screen set up to see. I would like to see that tape because I was on it several times during the show. We had made it right up front.

Well the party days ended and Aerosmith picked up steam. CD’s started going platinum in tune with their brains clearing up. Soon I was not able to buy tickets; you use to be able to buy them up until the day of the show, not no more. The last show I was able to see of Aerosmith was at the Lynn Manning Bowl. A small stadium used for local soccer and lacrosse games. The band kick ass as usual. A bit of disruption occurred when a fellow decided to climb a tower that for some reason was located next to the field. It appeared that he was going to jump off the top of the tower in the southerly direction. A landing pad had formed by the crowd moving out of the way and chanting started “jump, jump, jump.” A brave security guard who wasn’t being paid enough climbed the tower and talked the man down…the show went on. The Hells Angels were there, back stage.

Hay, I’ll say it, I love that Tyler voice. 1975 I played that album over and over again and later on wore out cassette tapes of the band. His voice is an instrument of the band, very distinctive. (Recently I wrote a song called “Queen City talk” that has Aerosmith written all over it, the influence is unavoidable). Steve Tyler took that Mick Jagger style, double down and it was jack pot. The band has become so popular that state of New Hampshire had a scratch ticket (lottery) with the band on it. Well no matter how many albums they sell, no matter how many concerts they sell out they are still that local band to me. I miss being able to buy tickets to go see them play. I guess it’s a good thing when you can sell out a concert faster than a forty old man can log on to the internet. The last time I tried this, 10 minutes after the tickets went on sale, “sold out.”
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Dess Dermondy

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