Band talk about first album of original material in 11 years
By Steve Appleford
October 19, 2012 9:00 AM ET
to listen to Aerosmith's 'Beautiful'
RollingStone.com will be premiering Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension!
album, one track at a time, in the weeks leading up to the November
"Beautiful" unfolds like a collision of eras and Aerosmiths,
opening with a grind of guitars as brutal as 1973's "Train Kept
A-Rollin'" and a grunting, barking rap from Steven Tyler, before
shifting into a soaring melodic chorus closer to the sweeping radio
hits they'd perfected by the early Nineties. It was co-written and co-produced
by Marti Frederiksen, a close collaborator since Aerosmith re-emerged
as a major act in the MTV era.
"He can take a fart and make it a chorus," Tyler says of Frederiksen's
skill at the Pro Tools monitor. And bassist Tom Hamilton calls him a
challenging creative partner, "because the guy thinks and works
so fast. He goes for it."
"Beautiful" emerged during 10 days of songwriting sessions
at Frederiksen's home studio in Los Angeles, where guitarist Brad Whitford
came up with the song's foundation in an unusual chord pattern. "They
were like jazz changes. It was odd," says Whitford, and Frederiksen
suggested they model the chorus after Slash's melody line in Guns N'
Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine."
After basic tracks were completed, Tyler didn't add lyrics for six months.
"He had no idea what he was going to do lyrically or vocally, but
it was such an interesting piece of music," Whitford says. "Every
time we'd put it on, it was just awesome. It could have been an instrumental."
Tyler eventually scatted melody ideas over the track and began to see
the song in cosmic terms. "My thought was that would be a future
song – like something they'd listen to on the way to Mars,"
Tyler says. "What's rock & roll going to be like in 20 years
from now when they're doing that?"
Tyler's daughter Mia joined him on harmony vocals on the big vocal melody,
a section the singer says was difficult to nail down. "That was
the hardest," he says. "I stayed up night after night with
that one, and finally when I sang, 'Beautiful, we're free again, we're
out of here . . . ,' it's like when you have an orgasm – you're
free. It just worked."