by: Gary Graff
Aerosmith fans can expect an album that "really pays attention to all the different eras of the band" when "Music From Another Dimension!" -- the Boston bad boys' first new release in eight years -- comes out on Aug. 28 according to bassist Tom Hamilton.
"It's gonna be, like, a 14-song album, so it's got a lot of range," Hamilton tells Billboard.com about the set, which was co-produced by the band's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry along with longtime cohort Jack Douglas, with additional work by Marti Frederiksen. "I think it just kind of reflects all the eras of our career, everything we've learned over the centuries -- the 70s era, just all-out riff rock songs, and then the later stuff that's more melodic, ballady stuff so that we can have girls in our audience. It's all there."
Hamilton says all five band members wrote for the album, although the Tyler-Perry team dominated, of course. Aerosmith also drew from "songs that have been written over the course of our lifetimes" -- including the first single, "Legendary Child."
"We've had these songs that we've been really enthusiastic about," Hamilton explains, "but never have felt we had a producer or support from the record company for some of these more off-the-wall tracks that are very similar to what we were doing in the 70s. Jack Douglas was our producer back then, and he has an ear for the weird stuff and how the weird stuff turns into great Aerosmith songs. So that's the process that happened on this record."
A surprise inclusion is a cover of "Shakey Ground," which was a 1975 hit for the Temptations though Aerosmith based its version on Etta James' rendition. "We needed extra songs for Japan and Europe," Hamilton recalls, "and we thought, 'OK, we're struggling to get all our own songs written. Maybe we should cover a couple of songs.' I forget who brought ('Shakey Ground') in, and we tried it out and in the course of recording we just had so much fun with it that we wanted to put it on the album. We like to show off our funk roots and show we can get people's butts shaking."
The album may also include some guests, Hamilton adds, but "everything is not 100 percent definite at this point. There's still decisions to be made, so it's just a little early to talk about that."
Hamilton says the best part of "Music From Another Dimension!" is having new music to play on the road when Aerosmith begins its Global Warming Tour with Cheap Trick on June 16 in Minneapolis. The group plans to play "Legendary Child," and even though it's leery of exposing the rest of the new songs to fans' cell phone cameras "we're probably going to say 'To hell with it' and play 'em because they're fun. We're chomping at the bit to play a bunch of these live. We haven't had an album of new material in a long time, so it really makes you feel like you're walking out there with a loaded weapon. I want us to be known as a band that is still firing on all cylinders."