to Marti Frederikson
Balance 'Real Rockers' With Power Ballads on New LP, Says Songwriter
Longtime collaborator Marti Frederiksen reunites with band on
their next record
By Greg Prato
August 28, 2012 8:00 AM ET
Think of any current radio-friendly rock act and chances are, songwriter-for-hire
Marti Frederiksen has helped score them a hit. Recently, Frederiksen
hooked up his old pals in Aerosmith once again; their upcoming album,
Music From Another Dimension!, features five Frederiksen co-written
tracks, including a tune that had been on the drawing board for years,
"What Could Have Been Love."
"It's been a good seven years," Frederiksen tells Rolling
Stone about the track. "The song came about because Steven [Tyler]
really liked it and we worked it up. Someone else would have done the
song, but we held it and held it, hoping that it worked for Aerosmith.
It's a power ballad-y kind of song, maybe the typical song for Aerosmith.
But it just had a good message and Steven was feeling it. So we held
on to it and finally, it's seen the light of day."
Frederiksen also earned a producer credit on three of the album's songs,
next to other tracks helmed by Jack Douglas, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
"I think the ones that Jack produced are more 'band guy' songs.'
I worked on a couple of other songs I didn't produce on the record,
and one is a real rocker that came out of the same time as 'What Could
Have Been Love' – [new single] 'Lover Alot.' I co-wrote that with
the guys. A whole different beast, man – just rockin', loose and
uptempo. That's the great thing about songwriting and being able to
work with a band like this – you can do something old-school rock
and then do a beautiful ballad. The good thing about all these songs
is nothing is over-produced."
Music From Another Dimension! is not the only place where songs co-penned
by Frederiksen and Tyler will turn up soon: the duo collaborated with
Julian Lennon on a song titled "Someday." "It was kind
of a last-minute thing," explains Frederiksen. "We were finishing
up the Aerosmith stuff in L.A., and Steven was like, 'Julian's staying
below where I'm staying, at the Sunset Marquis. We've got to go over
and write a song with him – I've been telling him about you.'"
"Steven and I went over there, and Julian has a songwriting partner,
Mark Spiro, and all four of us sat down and wrote a song. Literally,
an hour and a half later, we had the song done – lyrics and everything.
To be honest, it was the first time I'd written with Steven not for
Aerosmith or himself," he adds. "It was like a different guy
in the room for me, because he's so particular in what he would sing.
He was still way into it, it was just a different guy." Frederiksen
describes "Someday" as "midtempo. It's got really rhythmic
beats in it. Different kind of grooves. It's not your typical production.
Really India-kind of strings, and Steven did some backgrounds on it."
Frederiksen credits his own songwriting success to similar open-mindedness.
"My big start was through Aerosmith, with [A&R executive] John
Kalodner hooking me up with them. They started doing it back on their
'return' – writing with outside writers. They wanted to just get
the best songs possible, and get different takes on ideas they may have,
and go left instead of right," he says. "I feel like I'm more
of a collaborator than a songwriter. I get in with an artist, and I
really try to get what they want to get. I never try and steer them
towards anything they don't want to do."
"I've been out in Nashville a little now and doing some writing
out there, and there's so many great writers," he continues. "A
lot of the country stuff, a lot of those guys aren't even concerned
about writing the songs – they just want the best songs they can
possibly sing, like the Elvis days. I look at it like that – artists
would rather stay with their families rather than grind out songs and
have to write 50 songs to find 10."