What’s the difference between an Aerosmith album and a book about the band?
Tom Hamilton, the band’s bassist, doesn’t have to go shopping to score the first one.
“I had to go out and buy Steven (Tyler)’s book,” he says, adding with deadpan delivery: “I felt like I was overcharged.”
This is being discussed because the Aerosmith tour stopping at the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday will be followed Oct. 7 by guitarist Joe Perry’s memoir, “Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith.”
Aerosmith books are starting to fill up a shelf, so Hamilton is asked whether his band is like that line in “Jersey Boys”: If you ask four guys how it all went down, you get four different stories.
“You inevitably see things in (the books) that you remember being completely different,” he says. Hamilton recommends Stephen Davis’s oral history “Walk This Way” as the most accurate story of the band up to 2003.
Perry has said he is working on a solo album to follow his book. The band’s last group effort was 2012’s “Music From Another Dimension.” Hamilton still calls it “the new album,” and the band has been slipping a song or two into what is otherwise a greatest-hits set.
“I feel like the fans didn’t do their homework on it. They didn’t let it grow on them. C’est la vie. We’ll try harder next time,” he says.
As far as Perry doing a solo album, “It would make a lot more sense if we’re building up material, to consider an Aerosmith album first. I think an Aerosmith album has got much more potential of making an impact than a solo album,” Hamilton says. “But, if somebody wants to put out a solo album, there’s no way to be bitter and hold them back.”
But, he adds, with a laugh,”If you hear songs on it that all of a sudden sound like songs the band might have done a little work on in the past, that can be annoying.”
All this sounds like guys who have put up with one another, and been through it all together, for 43 years.
On the plus side, it shows in a good way on stage.
“Let me tell you this,” Hamilton says. “If young Aerosmith came and played on the same night as current Aerosmith, we would blow them off the stage.”
That’s not simply because the guys are playing with clearer heads in their 60s, but also because, “We’ve been doing this so long, all this experience we’ve accumulated is something we can offer to the audience.”
Hamilton, 62, has reasons to relish being back on the road. He has battled tongue and throat cancer, and last year had to drop out of some tour dates when he was “hit with the aftereffects of what I had to go through to get rid of cancer.”
“Radiation is very intense and can leave you with situations down the road, but those have come and gone,” he says.
The band forged on in the interim, with David Hull stepping in to play bass. “It’s not a nice feeling at all,” Hamilton says of watching from the sidelines.
However, “the thing about this band and being around for 40-plus years is things are going to come along that might knock you down for a little while. You just keep your mind on that day when you can get back up and get back in there.
“Every time it happens, I know there’s going to be a day when I’m back in there,” he adds. “I haven’t felt any despair yet about the situation.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.