Aerosmith and America: A Brief History

Matt Dolloff / Mix 104.1

Boston’s hometown rock legends Aerosmith have never been considered a “political” band. But considering the evidence of their beliefs, and their history with patriotic events, one thing is certain: they believe in America.

The band’s pre-Election Day concert on Nov. 5, set to take place at their old apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston, is only the latest example of their willingness to perform as part of events that are inherently Americanized – even if they try to conceal their political affiliations.

The only member who has publicly declared his stance is Joe Perry, who in a recent interview with Noisecreep admitted that he’s an “old school” Republican, as evidenced by his public support of John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. He also revealed his fascination with American history, particularly 18th and 19th-century weapons, which explains his recent TV appearance on “Sons of Guns.”

Though he called John F. Kennedy his favorite president and never got into details about his social or political ideals, Perry expressed his traditional American values that many conservative and/or Republican politicians share.

“I was taught that you get what you put into it,” he said. “You can be anything you want to be if you work hard enough at it, and you can earn your place.”

Barely any of Aerosmith’s songs have political subject matter, but there is an exception on the band’s new album Music From Another Dimension, the track “Freedom Fighter” which features Perry on lead vocals and concerns Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony. The band posted the track on Rolling Stone as part of the album’s track-by-track premiere.

So we know Perry is a Republican and does have some interest in politics, but what about the rest of Aerosmith?

“This band has always had a policy, we’re all pretty much on the same page when we start talking politics,” he says in the interview. “We all came up in that era when you were taught that can do anything you set your minds to and by God we walked on the moon, just like JFK said we would.”

Based on that comment every member of Aerosmith could be Republican, but Perry is the only one to confirm. Steven Tyler, however, has dropped hints in the past.

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Steven Tyler performs the national anthem prior to the AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

While he has never directly addressed his political views, Tyler has spoken to the government on important social issues, such as his visit to the Supreme Court to speak about FCC censorship on TV.

He hinted at conservative ideals when speaking on television censorship.

“It’s really hot when you only show a little,” he said on full-frontal nudity, with his typical Tyler charm.

He has sworn on TV before like he did on American Idol – “because it is 2012,” as he said – so he’s not completely against using curse words. But when it comes to “streams” of curse words and pejorative terms involving race, gender or religion, that’s where he would draw the line.

Tyler’s Supreme Court appearance is a strong sign that he leans at least slightly to the right politically, but until he confirms it his political views remain a mystery.

One thing that is not a mystery about Aerosmith is that they are All-American and love their country. They have long been heavily active in charity work, having contributed to worldwide organizations like Amnesty International and Global Angels, as well as several music-related foundations.

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Aerosmith perform during rehearsal for the Fourth of July show at the Hatch Shell, Monday, July 3, 2006, in Boston. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)

They have also appeared at several patriotic American events, including Steven Tyler’s many National Anthem performances – some better than others. The full band also performed with the Boston Pops as part of the 2006 Fourth of July celebration.

Perhaps most notably, Aerosmith performed as part of the United We Stand benefit concert, which came just weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

We can expect more of the same when Aerosmith takes the makeshift stage somewhere in Boston on Monday. They are using the show as a platform to encourage young Americans to get out there and vote on Election Day, regardless of who they pick for president.

It’s refreshing for entertainers of their caliber and stature to use a political event to simply encourage us to get involved, without any hints of influence toward a particular side. While it can be reasonably concluded where Joe Perry and the rest of the band stand politically, they won’t show any of it when they perform.

Their new album may be called Music From Another Dimension!, but Aerosmith clearly come from America.


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