Personalities | Joe Perry | Guitar-Wielding Toxic Twin | Guitar Heroes

One half of the infamous ‘Toxic Twins’, along with vocalist Steven Tyler, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry projects a swagger and ultra-cool stage presence that few guitarists can match. Fewer still possess his capacity for muscular, gritty soloing and hook-laden riffing.

For over 30 years now, Perry and his stinging guitar tone, generated most often via his signature Gibson Les Paul through Marshall amps, have inspired countless aspiring guitarists to cut out the fluff and rock with soul.

Anthony Joseph ‘Joe’ Perry was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in September 1950, and by the age of six, he was turned on to the rock’n’roll sounds of Little Richard and Bill Haley & His Comets. Later, inspired by the music of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, the teenage Perry picked up the guitar and soon discovered the playing of such British blues-rock guitar greats as Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Peter Green. In 1969, while playing in The Jam Band (with future Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton), Perry met singer Steven Tyler, and the two decided to join forces, calling themselves Aerosmith.

Combining the gritty rock of The Stones with the heavy riffing of Led Zeppelin and the boogie of American blues, Aerosmith would become the top American hard-rock band of the 1970s. Their albums Toys In The Attic (1975) and Rocks (1976) are generally recognized as two of the most important hard-rock albums of the 1970s, producing such timeless hits as ‘Walk This Way’, ‘Sweet Emotion’ and ‘Back In The Saddle’. Sadly, the Toxic Twins’ heavy drug and alcohol abuse would lead to the demise of Aerosmith in 1979.

In 1980, working as The Joe Perry Project, the guitarist released Let The Music Do The Talking, a vastly underrated album of incendiary guitar work. After two more Project albums, Perry rejoined the original Aerosmith line-up in 1984 for a reunion tour. A surprising collaboration with rap group Run DMC on the classic hit ‘Walk This Way’ put the Toxic Twins back on the mainstream map. They sobered up and went on to huge success with Permanent Vacation (1987), Pump (1989) and Get A Grip (1993). Perry continued to work on solo projects as well, even receiving a Grammy nomination for the song ‘Mercy’, from his 2005 release Joe Perry. In late 2009, Perry released a new Joe Perry Project album, Have Guitar, Will Travel. Despite various in-band tensions, Aerosmith continue to tour and record, and their latest album, Music From Another Dimension!, was released in 2012.

Essential Recordings

Aerosmith: Toys In The Attic

Aerosmith: Rocks

The Joe Perry Project: Let The Music Do The Talking

Aerosmith: Get A Grip

Personalities | John Petrucci | Dream Theater to G3 | Guitar Heroes


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.