Aerosmith Goes High-Tech

Vocalist Steven Tyler, right, and lead guitarist Joe Perry of the rock band Aerosmith perform at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Wednesday, June 10, 2009, in Maryland Heights, Mo. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

This story was written by CBSNews.com's Melissa Castellanos


Its members may be grandparents, but Aerosmith has no problem keeping up with the times.

Joe Perry, 58, lead guitarist for the ledgendary rock group, told CBSNews.com that the band has even changed its set list on the latest tour to match that of their video game, "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith."

"There are a lot of songs on the video game that we don't normally play live or have never played live and we are actually working those into the set," Perry said.

The timeless rockers, who made history as the first band to have its own video game last year when Activision released "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith," embarked last week on a three-month tour with special guest ZZ Top.

"Oh man, I have been looking forward to this. If there were five bands on a list, they (ZZ Top) would be one of them," Perry said. "To tour with them... it's just amazing. With Billy Gibbons, who is one of the best guitar players ever that I have heard."

Reuniting with the long-bearded rockers with whom he toured under the Joe Perry Project is a real thrill, Perry said, calling those early shows "unforgettable."

ZZ Top, like Aerosmith, is one of the few existing rock bands to have all original members, Perry pointed out, saying its members have always kept coming up with new material while still performing fan favorites.

"It's a real honor to be on the same stage with them (ZZ Top)," Perry said. "I have never seen a show (of theirs) that I haven't been totally blown away. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Once a struggling band trying to pave its way in the music business, Aerosmith knows what it's like to have a dream and bring it to fruition - from the local bars of Boston to colossal stadiums around the globe and now to the virtual world.

While Aerosmith has been reinvented in the virtual world, it's still new to the social networking Web site, Twitter.

"I am still trying to figure out what Twitter is!" Perry joked. "I think I am on it. In fact, I know I am because somebody waved a cell phone at me and there was a picture of me doing something five minutes ago. I think it's really a cool thing - whatever it is! So, I would say sign up and see what's going on."

Perry, who used to party hard back in the day with his partner-in-crime Steven Tyler, admits that he is not as sharp as he used to be and has a great sense of humor about it.

"My memory is going - I don't know what it is, but actually I can probably start using it (Twitter) to figure out just what I've been up to!" he joked.

Although Perry and his Aerosmith band mates Tyler, Brad Whitford (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass) and Joey Kramer (drums) may still be mastering Twitter, they are thrilled with the outcome of "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith."

A father to four boys, Perry says his youngest son, who was playing the first version of Guitar Hero, got him hooked.

"I said alright I'll give it a try - I think I was playing a Jimi Hendrix song badly," he admitted. "I gave it back to him and I picked up the phone and called my manager and said we have to get some more songs on one of these games."

"We were pretty shocked and amazed that it turned out the way it did," Perry said.

As a part of its latest tour, Aerosmith is giving two "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" winners in every city a chance to show off their skills on stage - as the opening act.

Although Aerosmith can now be found on any platform these days, there is one that brings back a feeling of nostalgia - the Boston stage.

"We love it and that's why we are doing it," Perry said.

Aerosmith's North American tour will run through September and includes stops in New York, Boston and Los Angeles. Special guests ZZ Top will join the tour on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

Aerosmith has sold more than 150 million albums and has won four Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, six Billboard Awards, and 12 MTV Awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame.
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