Joe Perry had to teach blues classic Train Kept A’Rollin’ to Metallica because the thrash giants didn’t know the blues staple – but he doesn’t think it’s a bad thing.
He ran through the classic track, first recorded in 1951, ahead of Metallica’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009. The band performed it during their induction ceremony with help from Perry, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood.
Asked about the story in his book Rocks: My Live In And Out Of Aerosmith, Perry tells Vanyaland.com: “The story wasn’t meant to be a put-down – and I hope it doesn’t come across that way. It’s not how I meant it.
“It’s more of an observation that every generation seems to get away from the original stuff; and it’s also that each generation is going to have to find their inspirations. They’re going to hear something and they’re going to go, ‘I like that,’ or, ‘I don’t like that.’”
He believes there’s no requirement to study the history of rock’n’roll in order to play it: “I don’t think that part’s important, unless you’re just interested in it. It’s that feeling you get that’s important.
“99percent of people who listen to music don’t know and don’t care – and frankly it’s not their job to care. Their job is to enjoy it and have fun with it or listen to it to give you a lift or to mellow you out or whatever you want that’s what it’s for. ‘Any old way you use it,’ like Chuck Berry said.”
But Perry regrets that so many musical pioneers of the movement have died without the chance to be fully recognised. He says: “We’re seeing the end of an era; so many of the originals passed away over the last 10 to 15 years. I wish they had iPhones and video recorders back in Robert Johnson’s day. At least they got those recordings.
“It’s important that people see what really made these artist tick. Can you imagine video of Dali back when he was in his prime, or Van Gogh – a camera sitting there looking over his shoulder and following him around for a day? That would be incredible. We can only imagine.”