How Aerosmith’s Final Top 10 Hit Left Bandmates ‘Jaded’
Aerosmith scored the final Top 10 hit of their career with “Jaded,” but at the cost of band acrimony.
As the new millennium arrived, Aerosmith was once again riding a roller coaster of commercial response. After a triumphant three-album run with Permanent Vacation (1987), Pump (1989) and Get a Grip (1993) – each of which sold more than 5 million copies – the group’s sales suffered a fall on 1997’s Nine Lives. Still, Aerosmith scored the only No. 1 hit of its career around this time with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” a power ballad recorded for the 1998 movie Armageddon.
Aerosmith reconvened to work on the LP that would eventually become 2001's Just Push Play at guitarist Joe Perry’s basement home studio, dubbed the Bonetown. The nearby guesthouse was turned into a mixing room where coproducers Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson worked on the tracks.
Most of the songs originated with Perry and singer Steven Tyler, with Frederiksen and Hudson aiding in the demo recordings. From there, the other members of Aerosmith (guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer) would come in and individually record their parts.
“That bothered me, but that’s just how it evolved,” Perry recalled in his book Rocks: My Life in and out of Aerosmith. “That’s also when, in my view, things began to break down. I started feeling disconnected from the other guys in the band, and thought they should have more of a chance to be involved. There was also limited spontaneity and virtually no room for variation.”
In Perry’s eyes, the recording setup forced Aerosmith apart at a time when it needed to be closer than ever. “A band like Aerosmith is about energy,” he later explained. “It was ridiculous that all five of us were never in the same room at the same time.”
Despite these drawbacks, Aerosmith continued working on new material, with both producers becoming increasingly more involved in the songwriting. At that point, “Jaded” entered the picture.
One weekend during the process, Tyler decided to head to Sunapee, N.H., with Frederiksen to complete lyrics for their previously fleshed-out songs. Perry stayed behind to spend the weekend with his wife. “If you guys write something new,” the guitarist insisted, “call me and I’ll run up there.”
Much the Perry’s chagrin, Tyler and Frederiksen returned to the studio on Monday with “Jaded” already completed. “The song was undoubtedly commercial," Perry admitted. "I heard it as a hit and saw it as the first single off the album. But what happened to Marti and Steven’s promise to call me if they’d begun to write?”
Perry confronted Frederiksen and demanded an explanation. “I would have called you, man," Frederiksen replied, "but Steve didn’t want to. He said it wasn’t necessary.”
Watch Aerosmith's 'Jaded' Video
Part of Tyler’s thinking may have stemmed from the circumstances surrounding that weekend. In his mind, Perry was skirting band duties to have a date night with his wife. In his memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, Tyler confessed that “a little bit of that sideways anger I have toward Joe and his wife” can be found in “Jaded.”
Still, Perry admitted the move “hurt,” noting that Tyler “had displayed a cavalier attitude that undermined our partnership. Strong songwriting partners – like [John] Lennon and [Paul] McCartney or [Mick] Jagger and [Keith] Richards – have each other’s backs,” Perry explained. “When it comes to their band’s material, their partnership is paramount. They’re a team. Steve only viewed us as a team when it suited him.”
As expected, fans lapped up “Jaded” after its December 2000 release. The track became a Top 10 hit, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video featuring a pre-fame Mila Kunis earned heavy rotation on MTV. In early 2001, Aerosmith performed the song during high-profile events like the Super Bowl halftime show, an appearance on Saturday Night Live and their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The success of “Jaded” also kept the band in good graces with its record label. “If we hadn’t come up with that hit, Sony was getting ready to drop us,” Tyler later asserted, noting that an executive told him point blank, “If you hadn’t had that song on Just Push Play, we would have dropped you.”
Despite all this, Perry still viewed "Jaded," and its album, in disappointing terms, calling Just Push Play the “most disconnected album we put our name on.”
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