Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rock N Roll Birthday: Brad Whitford of Aerosmith

Happy Birthday to Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, who turns 58 today.

Whitford played in several New England-area bands in the late 60s before attending Boston’s Berklee School Of Music and eventually joining Aerosmith in 1971, replacing original guitarist Ray Tabano.

Rock trivia: Tabano left the band, only to return years later as a member of the crew and then Director of Marketing, during which time he launched the first Aerosmith fan club and worked on developing their merchandise through the 70s.

Brad’s arrival was essential, completing the Aerosmith puzzle a year before the band snagged a record deal in summer ’72, after a show at New York’s Max’s Kansas City.

Boston’s soon-to-be-favourite sons released their self-titled debut in '73, and the series of albums that followed cemented Aerosmith’s legacy: "Get Your Wings" (’74), "Toys In The Attic" (’75), "Rocks" (’76) and "Draw The Line" (’77).

Aerosmith – Train Kept A Rollin’
The Midnight Special (1974)

As a songwriter during those early years, Whitford delivered the 1976 hit, “Last Child” (the first single from "Rocks" ), album tracks like “ Nobody’s Fault” and “Round And Round,” as well as lead guitar on essential cuts like “Back In The Saddle.” Aerosmith's well-documented drug years kicked in, the haze continued, and they fell apart at the seams by the start of the early 80s.

Aerosmith - A Little South of Sanity - Last ChildAerosmith - A Little South of Sanity - Last Child

Aerosmith – Last Child
(live 2004)

Brad left Aerosmith in 1981 and formed Whitford/St. Holmes with original (and killer) Ted Nugent vocalist Derek St. Holmes, releasing a self-titled album; everything sounds amazing with St. Holmes singing, and I remember it as a solid little one-off record (still have the vinyl). St. Holmes returned to the Nugent fold, while Whitford helped his old bandmate out by touring with The Joe Perry Project when Joe’s solo career needed a profile boost; the two found their way back to Aerosmith when they regrouped in ’84 for the “Back In The Saddle” comeback tour. By the late 80s, more rehab for all, with Brad himself overcoming the battle of the bottle, reportedly remaining sober to this day.

Whitford is an avid amateur race car driver, and is part owner of F1 Boston, an indoor karting facility that opened in summer 2000. He raced as a guest driver at the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup race weekend at Road Atlanta in September 2009, finishing 18th on a rain-soaked course.