Album Title: Let the Music do the Talking
Artist: Joe Perry
Running Time: 38m 5s
Track listing: 1 Let the Music do the Talking; 2 Conflict of Interest; 3 Discount Dogs; 4 Shooting Star; 5 Break Song; 6 Rockin’ Train; 7 The Mist is Rising; 8 Ready on the Firing Line; 9 Life at a Glance
As the Aerosmith rags to riches story lapsed into rags again in the late seventies, their lead guitarist, Joe Perry, began to get concerned. The band were falling apart – the album sales were diminishing, the concerts were disaster zones. Perry needed more money to feed his drug and alcohol addiction and clear the $80,000 he owed to his record company and Aerosmith just weren’t cutting it anymore. When a company exec hinted that a solo album would clear his bills and keep him going for a while, Perry jumped at the chance. He put together a band that consisted of himself (guitars and vocals), Ralph Morman (vocals), David Hull (bass and rhythm guitars) and Ronnie Stewart (drums). The latter three were all musicians taht Perry had gotten to know over the years. The Joe Perry Project were born – but would their conception be worthwhile or pointless for anyone bar Joe Perry?
You know exactly what you are in for from the opening bars of ‘Let the Music do the Talking’. The guitars crash in over a thumping bass and Morman’s distinct vocals are highly effective despite their apparent shapelessness. The song was later re-recorded by Aerosmith on their 1985 album, “Done With Mirrors” – I much prefer the JPP version.
We then are lead into ‘Conflict of Interest’ where Joe Perry takes the mic to rant about the impersonal nature of his existence and his wish to keep it that way – ‘don’t make waves you’ll be just fine, make sure your interest don’t conflict with mine’. Ralph returns for ‘Discount Dogs’, a lyrically-poor funk-rock beat about getting the right treatment off your ‘baby’.
The stars of the show are possibly ‘Shooting Star’ and ‘Life at a Glance’. The former contains a riff sent from heaven by the God of Rock (probably). Perry stars at the mic again for this one and the insatiable riff helps his explain that he has ‘wounds that hurt and bleed, the scars of which you’ll never see’. The latter sees Perry and Morman team up for a pacey boogie about two fast-livers letting life pass them by too fast – talk about foot tapping, I think I need a new pair of soles.
‘Rockin’ Train’ is a typical metaphoric rocker – our music is a train that rocks, so jump on and have a good time – you know the type of thing. It’s alright, neat little chorus but a little thin everywhere else.
Elsewhere there is the tough-talking, moody ‘The Mist is Rising’. You can almost see the cigarette dangling from the sneering Perry’s mouth as this one trundles along. It trundles right into ‘Ready on the Firing Line’ – mediocre enough but still pretty bearable and before that the instrumental jam, ‘Break Song’.
It could have been an embarrasing load of tosh but the Joe Perry Project’s debut album is a cracker – full of interesting riffs, storming guitars, and strong vocals. The lyrics are not up to speed but I can live with that. Maybe it’s a shame that some of these riffs didn’t get the Aerosmith treatment…