Way back in the early 70s a band crawled out of the gutters of New England, went on to become a favorite on the denim circuit, and achieved international superstardom with sobriety and comeback in the 80s-90s. While Toys in the Attic was Aerosmith’s breakout album, Rocks, from 1976, is a true classic. Even Kurt Cobain listed this album as a favorite and you know he didn’t like very many things! Every song on Rocks is a mojo of a guitar workout and as hot and classic as this band ever got. The didn’t have the romance or heaviness of Zeppelin or the sophisticated debauchery of The Rolling Stones, but they played no-bullshit riff rock and sang/spat out songs that their audience could understand and appreciate. Guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford and bass player Tom Hamilton all brought some killer riffing, hooking and soloing to heady classics like Sick As a Dog, Combination, Rats in the Cellar, Lick and a Promise and Home Tonight (which sounds like it anticipates ballad-type Aerosmith of the 90s). Th guitar sounds are also completely brill…raunchy as all get out!
One of my favorite aspects of the band during these years was found in songs like Get the Lead Out, Last Child and Back in the Saddle (the riff played by Perry on an Fender Bass VI). They were white punks on dope playing arena funk music. Cool and chilly! This is why their collaboration with RUN DMC worked so well 10 years later.The sound of the album is also grand…all of the guitars and the drums are as big as TEXAS JAM ’78! I don’t really like much of the band post this record and think all of their latter-day stuff is especially lame, but Rocks is a total classic of the arena rock era.