It was another difficult and tiring day at work…The thought of relaxing at home was literally non existent as lots of interviews were scheduled for the same evening with small intervals in between sufficient enough to focus on your “target”. But,, when Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith is on the other side of the line, then you forget all this tiny “details” and enjoy every minute out of the 15 in total that we had with the bassist of the legendary band. A big “thank you” to Jay Messina and Danielle Freedman for everything that they did for the arrangement of this exclusive interview.
Interview: Sakis Nikas, George Anasontzis
Tom Hamilton: Hi guys! How are you doing?
Rockpages.gr: We are fine, Tom!
Tom Hamilton: Nice talking to you…I am feeling great…let’s start he interview!
Rockpages.gr: How does it feel to be part of the American pop culture? I mean Aerosmith is more than a band…
Tom Hamilton: Well, thank you! Bands like The Beatles, The Stones, Zeppelin, The Who…all these huge bands had a great impact in the pop culture –as you said- of our country. I really enjoy the fact that we are part of this pleasant group of people…it surely feels great to have written some songs that have stood the test of time and influence in a big way the lives of so many people around the world. Aerosmith started with nothing! Absolutely nothing…we carried on despite all the big obstacles and we made progress as time went by…We are rewarded for our hard work…that’s for sure. But, every time we prepare ourselves for a world tour, we can’t wait to go to other countries outside of the States…We get an amazing feedback from our fans abroad…last year we went to Russia and India and it was phenomenal! In a way, I feel like I am representing America…
Rockpages.gr: Yeah, but you still haven’t been to Greece…
Tom Hamilton: Yeah, I know…Can’t wait to visit your beautiful country! I gotta tell you that last year we toured more outside the States than ever before. So, hopefully in our next tour, we will come to Greece! We are planning on doing many shows in the summer of 2009. We’ll see…
Rockpages.gr: So, is there a European tour in the works?
Tom Hamilton: Well, nothing’s booked as we speak, but that’s the idea. Last year, the reaction that we got from our fans in Europe was outstanding! So, we are thinking of returning there and give our fans what they need…I am optimistic that the next time around in Europe, we will visit more countries, including Greece!
Rockpages.gr: Tom, you’ve been in the band right from the beginning. How did it feel when you had to step down in 2006 in order to follow a health treatment?
Tom Hamilton: I had cancer two years ago…it was a strange feeling! The band had a tour that has been booked for a long time, so we had to find a replacement…it was a very strange feeling! But there wasn’t much thinking to do…it was the cancer that I had to fight and nothing would be more important than my health. The rest of the guys knew that and they were really really supportive! I had to follow the doctors’ orders if I wanted to return to the band healthy and in great shape. But, it was difficult…because this band means everything to me and I had to be patient…
Rockpages.gr: Aerosmith is one of the very few bands of the 70s that still get a considerable amount of airplay in TV and on radio. Do you think that the good public relations and the clever management moves are as important as the proficient musicianship?
Tom Hamilton: Yeah…(pause) I think that it is a good assessment…For instance, we are working on putting online some interesting pieces…I mean video and audio…on our website for our fans. But, I agree…it is important to communicate with the media. Sometimes, when you read the press you stay in touch with the reality. You know what I mean? We could have easily been absorbed in our small worlds! Aerosmith has been in the music business since the early 70s and someone could ask: “Why should Aerosmith do press”? But, that’s not true! We must remain true to our fan base and one of the ways to communicate with them and let them know what we are up to is through the media. In addition to all that, I must say that I really love the spontaneity of the internet…the fact that you could log on to a chat room in our forum and talk to your fans! That’s great! When I was a teenager I waited to see a picture of my favorite band in a magazine or a newspaper…and this could take days or even weeks! Now, we play on the other side of the world and the same night all our fans can check photos of our show on our official site. Hopefully, one day in the future we can do something similar with our songs…maybe, our fans can get a taste of our upcoming album by logging on some exclusive areas of our website. We still have one album to do with Columbia and then we will think if we want to continue by signing a regular contract or carry on all by ourselves. After all, the music business is rapidly changing!
Rockpages.gr: When should we expect your next studio album?
Tom Hamilton: Oh, I don’t know! (laughs) The band is kinda working individually for the time being. So, we haven’t gathered as a group to listen to everyone’s ideas…but that will happen soon. We’ll probably do that in the next month or two and hopefully when we tour next year we will have a studio album out to support! I am pretty optimistic about it! I’ve been in my studio recording riffs and making a pile of cool sounds which I think they could be useful to the band.
Rockpages.gr: So, we won’t have a “Chinese Democracy” case?
Tom Hamilton: (laughs) No, I got a feeling that we are gonna get to the finish line before Axl. (laughs) But, I’ll tell you this…when “Chinese Democracy” comes out I will be the first to come out and buy it! I have a tremendous respect for the guy and I think he is a superb singer! I really admire the fact that he is a perfectionist, although he certainly takes his time!
Rockpages.gr: Tom, what’s your favorite Aerosmith record and why?
Tom Hamilton: Let’s see…I have to say the “Rocks” album is my all-time favorite one. Every time the band entered the studio to cut a new album, we were better and better! I feel that with this album we reached our peak! It’s not just the songs on that album that makes it so special for me…we also had a lot of fun recording “Rocks’! We had a warehouse where we used to practice outside of Boston and we decided to do the tracks there…so we used a remote recording studio and the outcome of our practices in that warehouse is the “Rocks” album. We finished that record really quickly and it still stands the test of time! Great stuff…pure inspiration!
Rockpages.gr: Tom, we have read that you’d like also to be an actor. So, how come we didn’t see you in the “Armageddon” film?
Tom Hamilton: (laughs) Oh God! That would be pretty funny! I did take some acting coaching, but I don’t want to be in a movie just because I am a member of a famous band. If I will be in the Big Screen, I will have to be well-trained for it! If I wanted to see my name in the credits of a movie, be sure that I could have easily done so…just a word from the management or a good PR –like you said in a question before-could make the “trick”. I don’t want to go down this path. I want to make it on my own…
Rockpages.gr: Do you have a favorite actor?
Tom Hamilton: My favorites come from the past…Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey, Al Pacino…
Rockpages.gr: Do you like Liv Tyler’s playing?
Tom Hamilton: Yeah, she’s good…she is a very talented person.
Rockpages.gr: Thank you, Tom! It was an honor…
Tom Hamilton: I thank you guys for the opportunity to talk to my Greek fans and I am looking forward to see you all in Greece really soon!