“It was kind of a bummer that no one could know”: Session guitarist Steve Hunter on replacing Joe Perry for Aerosmith’s Train Kept a Rollin’
Session veteran Steve Hunter has looked back on the time he was secretly called in to the studio to record Aerosmith’s Train Kept a Rollin’ on behalf of guitarist Joe Perry.
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Speaking to Guitar World, Hunter says that the incident occurred at a time where “labels were signing bands with people they thought could play.”
“It happened out of the blue one night. I think there was a sort of political thing going on,” the guitarist recalls. “All these labels were signing bands with people they thought could play, and they’d get upset that albums were coming out with all these studio musicians on them.”
“They were paying all this extra money for additional people, and second, they signed these bands in good faith that they could play.”
The whole affair went down in secret, Hunter says, explaining that “They definitely didn’t want people to know. But the thing is, when you cut an album, it’s set in stone. It’s not like a live gig where you can have a bad night and make up for it with a good one.”
“It was important that these albums be as good as possible, and that’s basically why I was called into the studio to play on Train Kept a Rollin’. The way it was explained to me was, ‘Joe had hit a block,’ and they needed to get the take done and start mixing the next day.”
Hunter adds that Perry was probably unaware of his involvement at the time and that “it was no big deal” given that he too had “hit blocks like that in the studio “hundreds of times”.
“And that’s what happened with Joe on Train Kept a Rollin’. So, they saw me sitting in the studio lobby smoking a cigarette, and Jack Douglas poked his head out and said, ‘Hey, do you feel like sitting in for a session?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure. What do you need?’”
“They told me what they were looking for; I gave the solo a couple of passes, they were happy, and that was it,” he says. “And then I went back and sat down in the lobby again. Now that I think of it, they did say, ‘Look, it’s best if we don’t mention to anyone that you played on this. Don’t tell anyone; no-one can know.’”
“I don’t think it was ever mentioned until Joe left the band years later. It was kind of a bummer that no-one could know, but by that point, I was used to the double-edged sword of session work.”
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