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NIGHT IN THE RUTS (1979-80)

Steven: "Heroin. Shooting coke. Eating opium and it was just... I love that album — Night in the Ruts. It's like a fuckin' solar eclipse" ("Walk This Way").


"Bootleg Live!" segued into the "Night in the Ruts" era as neatly as the transition between "Rocks" and "Draw the Line." Well, perhaps not, but the plan remained the same: Take some time off and start working on ideas for a new album. The problem was, more so than in 1977, the band's toxic dependencies were catching up with the band and stalking in the shadows. The band were fatigued, battle-scarred from internal and external fights, and paranoia, with the bonds that had once made the band so formidable having been severed cut by cut until only a thin strand remained. During 1978 "Come Together" had done well for the band, but its non-album follow-up "Chip Away the Stone" failed to live up to the band's expectations. "Draw the Line" was considered a flop, having failed to build on the success of "Rocks" or deliver any hits. That is of course regardless of the challenging proposition of following two albums such as "Toys in the Attic." The band was off the road by Dec. 18, and while Steven was busy with his Daddy duties, the rest of the band got to work at their Boston Wherehouse, rehearsing five days a week preparing material for a new studio album.

The band was ready for an extended period off the road, and preproduction for Jack Douglas would take a while. From these sessions some 30-minutes of the band woodshedding out "Three Mile Smile" circulate, illustrating the process of just attempting to get the musical arrangements down. And then there would be the inevitable wait for Steven's lyrics. In the interim between the completion of the live album, Jack Douglas had also changed, both in his personal life and challenges similar to those faced by the band. One thing that had not changed was the pressure on the band. Daisann McLane opined, "The pressure is still on Aerosmith. They are not original, nor are they instrumental virtuosos; they play basic, loud rock & roll... Their albums have a raucous edge that keeps them off of tight AOR playlists. In a way, Aerosmith is a dinosaur among bands, the last of a generation of rock & rollers being edged out by more streamlined competition... What keeps Aerosmith alive is their ability to related to their loyal, largely male adolescent audience" (Rolling Stone #285, 2/22/79).

One of the earliest songs mentioned in public was be "Bone to Bone," which at that point was still the instrumental Joe originally envisaged. He also teased that the band were fooling around with some disco, or at least "our version of what we think disco should be" (Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, 2/22/79). But in terms of completed tracks, the first to hit the can were the hard rocking "Chiquita," bluesy "Reefer Head Woman," and a fierce cover of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)." For the latter of these, original Shangri-Las' vocalist Mary Weiss joined the band in the studio on backing vocals on the Shadow Morton hit. It was a song that Steven had always wanted to record, dating back to the Chain Reaction opening for the band in the 60s, a far simpler time to what Aerosmith had become as a machine. "Reefer Head Woman" was an amalgamation of two interpretations of a standard 12-bar blues composition. One was Jazz Gillum & His Jazz Boys 1938 take on the song had been one of the first recordings to include an electric guitar accompaniment (by George Barnes) and established the melody later used on a 1945 version by the Buster Bennett Trio produced by Lester Melrose. The Aerosmith version followed the latter lyrical form since Gillum's original was more a lament: "She musta have smoked that reefer and it's bound to carry her down." Tom Hamilton described the song as being a tune about "a guy with a dope-smoking girlfriend who's upset because he has to drink twice as much to get half as high" (Rolling Stone #298, 8/23/79). More notably, within the context of Aerosmith album production progress, Steven had only to write the lyrics for one song with the other two being covers.

By the end of March, the band had been recording in New York City, and the slow pace left them considering releasing an EP prior to a full album. But in the middle of rehearsals, the band had to head out on the road again. They had dates in Wichita and Omaha to make up for postponements the previous December, and pre-scheduled festivals in Los Angeles and Orlando. The band also played a warm-up at the Main Act to prepare for the short road jaunt. Interestingly, the opening act on the mid-west dates was Trillion, who had released their Gary Lyons produced (and Fergie Frederiksen fronted) debut via Epic in 1978. The situation was almost a repeat of what had occurred during the recording of "Draw the Line" in 1977. However, in 1979 the short tour outings would be scheduled, primarily for large stadium events rather than short tour legs. The first of these large shows, the California World Music Festival had been announced in January. It was followed in March with the addition of a Florida version, both taking place in April. Technically, one might consider these dates part of the "Night in the Ruts" tour, though the press considered the band to still be supporting "Bootleg Live." During the April dates, the band debuted both "Bone to Bone" and "Chiquita," two of the harder-rocking tracks. "Bone to Bone" still hadn't taken on it's more familiar album version but was a full-frontal assault that certainly illustrated that the band's direction was closer to the sonics of "Rocks" than "Draw the Line." According to Tom, "We're going for a more focused sound on the instruments, more separation, less adding tracks upon tracks" (Sounds, 7/7/79). They also wanted a more spontaneous and less produced sounding album. Other material was still in the process of transformation. A jam from the Wherehouse pre-productions sessions, "Let It Slide," was adapted and became "Cheese Cake."

With the album progressing at snail's pace a planned European tour scheduled for May was also cancelled. Producer Jack Douglas was also out, and a new producer brought in; it would be the first time in five years Douglas wasn't behind the board for the band. Douglas was soon back at work, utilizing the Record Plant's then new 3M digital recording and mastering system for the debut album by Rick Dufay. The album would be one of the first all-digital rock productions. His replacement on the Aerosmith project, Gary Lyons, had initially been a musician who slowly became more interested in the technical side of the studio. Initially, he'd been hired to finish the build out of Command Studios in London, a process where he learned about how a studio was cabled. He became particularly known for the sound on his recording of drums and worked with the likes of Humble Pie, and by 1979 had engineered and co-produced the first Foreigner album. For Steven, it wasn't just his drum sound, but the freshness of working with someone new. He admitted that "things were on the fritz between us and Douglas" (Rolling Stone #298, 8/23/79) and that Gary was a breath of fresh air: "He's excellent and he does it real fast — like he's playing an instrument he's practiced on all his life. He's that old English type fuck-it-put-it-there" (Sounds, 7/7/79).

Things were on the fritz elsewhere. It wasn't long until rumors of malcontent started to swirl around the band, with the suggestion that Joe was considering leaving the band. Without doubt he had become frustrated by the marathon of frustration making Aerosmith albums had become. He was holding back material from the band and started to consider going solo as a way to get the surplus of material out. This was not a new thought that grew out of the rut, but something he had considered around the "Draw the Line" album. However, in 1977 it was the band album that prevented Joe from working on solo material. Initially, it was stressed that he had no intention of leaving the band: "Ron Wood has done something similar in that he did his own album and stayed in the Stones, but he's a different kind of guitar soloist and songwriter than I am... I heed strongly about Aerosmith because I put nine years of my life into it. I want to keep doing it as much as I can. It's my first love. It's a club that I've been in for a long time and I don't want to quit it" (Green Bay Press-Gazette, 7/13/79). If one takes Joe at his word, he wasn't feeling restricted by Aerosmith and had all the space he needed within the band to breathe artistically. The solo album he envisaged, which he'd once stated would be called "Guitar Wars" would be produced by Jack Douglas and contain 1/3 instrumentals with the rest split between him on lead vocals and someone else. He was also interested in possibly covering a Jimi Hendrix song.

At the end of June, the band took another break from the studio for an additional brace of festival dates. Following a warm-up at Harvey & Corky's Stage 1 in Clarence, NY the band headlined the "Canadian World Music Festival" in Toronto, Canada, followed by the "Champagne Jam '79" Festival in Atlanta, GA. Additional new songs made their debuts in the set, "Reefer Head Woman" and "Think About It." The latter of these was another cover familiar to the band — they had performed it at their first ever show in Nov. 1970, making it part of their musical DNA. While the solo on the Yardbird's original had later been recycled by Page for "Dazed and Confused," Perry had more scope to inject his frustration into crafting a unique and ferocious sonic attack for the song. The month concluded with two final stadium shows, July 21 in Oakland, CA, and July 28 in Cleveland, OH. The latter of these shows was a jarring ragged performance by the band. Steven was purportedly substance affected, and Joe supremely disinterested. Following what were by all accounts were stunning performances by Ted Nugent, Journey, AC/DC, and the U.S. debut of the Scorpions, the band's decline was laid bare for all to see. One DJ, who'd been present at the previous evening's band interview at WMMS, recalled Steven on top of a table on all fours, snorting a line as long as the table... Backstage, before the fated performance, interpersonal relationships had declined to the point of becoming a forecast of "festering, with a high chance of volatility." Joe had already distanced himself from the band, who continued to struggle along in the studio. He'd completed his final session for them a month earlier, a brief jam titled "Shit House Shuffle," and had moved on to working on demos for his solo project. Even the generally solid Tom Hamilton was driven mad to the point of distraction by the continued lack of progress on the material. That tensions were running high is stating the case too mildly.

There had been a shift in the dynamics within the band. It was clear Joe was frustrated by the pace of the creativity of a new Aerosmith album, and had material in pocket that he wanted to develop outside of those confines. As he later described it, "I was wasting my time with Aerosmith, getting frustrated and miserable" (Trouser Press, 2/80). But this desire was being leveraged against the band with the presentation of an $80,000 debt to the band, a solo album seemed an ideal way to clear the debt and assuage the artistic itch in a low risk manner. Conversely, what may have been a play designed to keep Joe in the band may have backfired in an unintended manner. An offer of solo deal could easily be read to a drug-addled mind of being able to break away, seemingly with the backing of the management. What started prior to the Cleveland show was just another bickering interaction between Elissa and another band member wife. It was hardly a fiery catalyst igniting some biblical conflagration, the glass of milk was a metaphorical final wet slap of indignity. According to Steven, "He was just a pain in the butt. He was paying more attention to his wife and other people than to music" (Los Angeles Times, 8/2/83). The stage had already been set, tension and distance always present, and literally anything could have caused the scene that erupted following the band's performance. The usual accusations were brandied around, countered with "Maybe I should leave" and "get the fuck outta here." If ever there had been need of a referee with an offer of a long vacation and a period of detox, then that might have been the moment best suited for an adult to intervene. Perhaps Brad sums it up best: "Being in Aerosmith was like walking into a dogfight and both dogs bite you" ("Walk this Way"). Problem was that the dogs were also biting themselves... Regardless, Joe Perry was out and returned to Boston where he soon got on the phone with Ralph Morman, a singer he'd met a few weeks earlier backstage at a gig...

When did Joe Perry quit Aerosmith? The exact date is probably contained on some dense legalese document, but it doesn't matter when the result was the same. That a planned European tour in August had been cancelled makes it clear that Joe had walked away, even if the members kept up appearances of normality in the music press — that Joe was working on a solo album. Joe made it clear: "I had the Aerosmith itinerary in one hand and my demo tapes in the other and it was a question of playing the same songs again and again in the same songs and again in the same big arenas" (Circus, 3/4/80). So, the same old song and dance had become old hat. Whenever the cast, by October 1979 the band's next run of dates was being announced to the press, with Joe's departure was often mentioned as a side note citing the usual played-out "amicable split" and "new musical direction" excuses. The long festering situation was anything but amicable, but for Aerosmith there was a long lingering studio album to finish. The rest of the band returned to New York City to continue trying to work on the album at Media Sound. The lack of Joe Perry didn't keep the band from claiming victory in the battle of the rut. Stalwart band friend Richard Supa was brought in to complete the guitars on the autobiographical Perry/Tyler tome, "No Surprize." Within its context, charting the history of the band in the beginning, even with its fist-pumping up tempo tone it's impossible to separate it from the melancholy of the band's situation at the time and the frustrations within the business that had become life. "Chiquita" was given the treatment that had served classic songs such as "Same Old Song and Dance" and "Big Ten Inch Record." Neil V. Thompson, who had worked with the band for several years before signing on fulltime as their guitar tech in 1978, more than capably performed on Steven's "Mia" (along with Richard), the lullaby written for his daughter. "Chip Away the Stone," the underperforming single had been intended to be included on the album, but was likely left off simply for that reason in addition to having been produced by Jack Douglas and already having been included in live form on "Bootleg Live" and the "California Jam II" albums.

By September, rumors of Joe's departure, imminent or actual, were already circulating. On the 8th, Joe appeared at the Paradise in Boston and jammed with David Johansen's band during their show encores including "Personality Crisis" and probably "Babylon." For Aerosmith, as work on the album neared completion, the process of finding a replacement for Joe had commenced. Michael Schenker was purportedly the first to audition. After leaving UFO, he had briefly rejoined the Scorpions, but had walked out on them during the April 1979 "Lovedrive" tour. He had been advised by his manager, Peter Mensch, to try out and flew to New York to rehearse with Aerosmith. The German riff-meister didn't relate with the band members on any level if one takes comments by the band in "Walk this Way" at face value: Steven: "It was Raymond all over again. Personified. 'Hello, I'm taking over. Before I join your band, I vant [sic] it clear I'm taking over right now. Here — my jacket — take and hang up'." But it was clear that the black leather clad Teuton with an English language challenge was too much. If there was any perception that he seemed to think that Aerosmith were looking to join his band rather than vice-versa, then it would seem likely that it was simply the result of a culture clash. Michael, while troubled, was also gifted and had been a member of big-name bands in addition to having been invited to join a formative Motorhead. Tom recalled, "He was this boy genius that couldn't speak English too well. He had these classical-sounding guitar riffs, echo-reverb stuff, very European-sounding leads played on classical scales instead of blues scales. Gary Lyons insulted him, and I think he ended up walking out" ("Walk This Way"). And therein lies the rub.

Musically and visually, Michael would have clashed with America's band. But if Michael was in bad shape, then the same was certainly true of the members of Aerosmith, particularly Steven. Michael has recounted being penned up in his hotel room for days on end waiting for Aerosmith to be ready to rehearse. When they finally were, no one (including himself) were in the best shape to make things work out musically. Michael has suggested that Steven headed off to hospital and he briefly worked out with Joey and Tom, who had expressed an interest in working with him on his new project. However, Steven was soon back in the picture, so Michael worked in Boston on demos for what became the first MSG album with Billy Sheehan and Denny Carmassi. Somewhat ironically, the Scorpions would be the opening act scheduled for the first dates on the "Night in the Ruts" tour...

The band jammed with Danny Johnson (Derringer) at S.I.R. Studios in New York City for a week and both Tom and Brad liked him — Brad had already recorded demos with him and other members of his then band (Axis) at Cherokee Studios for a prospective solo project in late-1978. Steven, on the other hand, had issues with Danny's then short hair. He recalled, "I was straight, which made Steven Tyler nervous. Initially, I thought, this is cool! But they were spiraling out of control. It was a dysfunctional situation... Tyler ultimately picked Jimmy Crespo since he had long hair and Steven thought he looked like Joe Perry. Plus, Crespo was a New Yorker. I think it was for the best. At that time in my life I didn't need a vampire lifestyle" (Guitar World, 11/18/19). A member of the Los Angeles band Valentino was also rumored to have been considered.

Jimmy Crespo came into the tryouts in something like sixth and was a mutual friend of Richie Supa. Crespo had been in an ideal position in 1979. His previous band, Flame, had come to an end and he and the band's singer, Marge Raymond, were shopping demos and looking for management. They approached David Krebs with a demo, but later David suggested that Jimmy audition of Aerosmith. He had enough of a session background and was more than technically proficient. As noted by Danny Johnson he had Steven's stamp of approval for fitting image prerequisites and could certainly play. Before the audition Jimmy was introduced to Steven at Privates in New York to see if he passed muster visually and on a personal level. Steven later recalled, "I replaced Joe with Jimmy Crespo because he looked just like Joe, and played really good, too. Nice long hair, skinny fucking guy, I thought, 'Hey, bingo! What do I need fucking Joe Perry for?" ("Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?"). There wasn't much of an involved process for Jimmy, and he only did a couple of auditions with the second one providing a positive vibe from his point of view. Steven was looking for a foil, with someone who looked right but could provide the roll previously filled by Joe.

Jimmy though, had second thoughts about joining the band. He was doing well for himself working sessions for various projects in New York, but ultimately decided that he would regret it if he didn't take up the opportunity, even after discussing how dysfunctional the band had become with their addictions. Crespo came in at a very late stage of the album's production but was able to contribute a solo on "Three Mile Smile;" much to the chagrin of Brad Whitford whose own solo was rejected in favor of Jimmy's by Tyler. Still, it started his integration into the band... Even out of the band, Joe had some gripes about the album: "I'm not happy with the way the album sounds, 'cause I wasn't there for the mix. I don't claim any responsibility for the sound. But I know the basic tracks. I know the potential was there... I was just starting some new things on the Aerosmith album and for some reason it's not mixed up quite as loud. At least they didn't take them off! They were mixing after I quit the band, so I expected them to erase all my playing" (Trouser Press, 2/80). Steven disputed that suggestion in the same feature, "I don't think he's particularly mixed down, either. If he had something to say, it's there." Perry's later evaluation of the album was more measured: "We were still fucked up, but the record sounds more cohesive than 'Draw the Line'" (Guitar World, 4/1997).

If Jimmy had been unaware of how dysfunctional Aerosmith had become, it soon became apparent. After making his debut with the band during a club gig within the friendly confines of the Main Act, the Aerosmith traveling circus hit the road for the tour supporting the album in early December 1979. Joining the band for the tour was Richard Supa on keyboard. After a successful show in upstate New York, the tour's second date was scheduled for Portland, ME. Early during the show Steven keeled over, hit the stage, and didn't get up. Jimmy told Eddie Trunk in 2012: "I thought it was part of the act. Like James Brown would fall down and come back up... He fell down, so I just kept playing... I look over and Brad is kicking him, not hard, just kicking him to see if he's alright." At that point Jimmy realized that the job he had signed on for was going to be more of a challenge than he'd envisaged. As noted in the Portland Press-Herald, "[Steven] made a phone call later from backstage and received no medication from the paramedics on duty" calling into question the reality of the situation. The band limped back to Boston so that Steven could see his doctor, though he suggests in his autobiography that he was simply falling-down drunk that night and no fainting was involved — it being a tender mercy to euthanize the show as a matter of self-interest. The press reported obediently that Steven was the victim of viral exhaustion. He recalled, "Happened twice in my career that I was so soused and so dizzy that I became a fall-down drunk. Well, rather than fall down drunk in front of the audience and act like a pathetic idiot for an hour while they through apples at me, I said, 'Fuck this!'... I knew they'd never stop the show just because I was drunk, so I lay down and didn't move, as if I'd fainted. And to make it look convincing I twitched my foot spastically... I really did it good, and Joe Baptista dragged me offstage" (Steven Tyler, "Does the Noise in my Head Bother You"). A string of dates would be postponed, suggesting it must have been a pretty good hangover...

The tour was scheduled to resume on Dec. 16 in Charlotte, NC, but that date was then postponed at the last moment with the promoter reporting that Steven had been hospitalized, this time with hypertension as the culprit. Prior to Christmas, the band did successfully complete three shows, plus two more afterwards, but further postponements left the tour on hiatus until January 10. From that point the band were able to string together a consistent run of dates through February 3. At that point the rest of the tour ignominiously axed. Steven later suggested the cancellations were a simple matter of quality control: "I was exhausted then. We had a Lear jet at the time, and you can imagine what a Lear jet does to your sense of time when you travel. You get out of bed and you're someplace else... We said the heck with it. Why should be burn ourselves out and do any lousy shows? Of course, the press jumped on it and said, 'Golly, he's been taking drugs again'" (Boston Globe, 11/11/82). It was ironic that tour PR was proclaiming that Aerosmith was "back with a vengeance," something that was probably only partially true when listening to the album.

In March, the band were expected to book a 45-date arena tour May through July booked through ICM (Billboard, 3/22/80). Whatever the case, the band instead booked dates that comprised the "Mystery Club Tour." The decision to downscale was multifold but partially fueled by the economic downturn that derailed several larger tours by bands at the time. Prior to the club run, Jimmy Crespo played dates as part of Helen Schneider band — he also did session work for her "Crazy Lady" album (which included Marge Raymond) on backing vocals. Marge's band Kicks would open some dates on the club jaunt, with her sometimes joining Aerosmith on stage for backing vocals. From April 20 the band performed limited club dates thorough June with the dates in West Hartford being recorded for a King Biscuit radio broadcast. Any hopes for supporting "Night in the Ruts" ended when Steven was involved in a mini-bike accident while in Sunapee on August 18 — though it was reported in the local press that he had been riding a moped. A 21-year-old passenger, Kathleen Bickford, was "treated for cuts and bruises" (AP), but Steven was hospitalized at the New London Hospital following the crash. Steven recounted, in "Walk This Way," that he had been drunk and had picked Kathleen up to babysit Mia. His injuries were more severe, having torn the heel on his foot having been riding with inadequate protection. Hospitalized for a couple of months. Steven later expanded on the accident: "I went flying and hit a tree upside down. I had a concussion and I almost died... I was pumped full of pain killers and injections. I was in bed eight months and had a cast up to my knee" (Boston Globe, 11/11/82). In terms of the actual injury, Steven's foot had slipped as he tried to down-shift, nearly ripping the heel off his foot. In injury was serious and the rehabilitation and healing (no pun intended) lengthy.

The band would perform twice more in 1980, once for a single song at an election party for their management, and the final time for a muted first decade celebration broadcast in Boston. At home, the band had been eclipsed by the likes of the resurgent J. Geils Band and emergent Cars, who'd go so far as to purchasing Intermedia Studios, and renaming it Syncro Sound. As 1980 drew to a close, Columbia issued "Aerosmith's Greatest Hits" in November, succinctly distilling the band's first decade down to ten tracks in various forms. As Joey Kramer puts it, "The best that we could do was to issue Greatest Hits to fill the gap. We had nothing else to offer. We were done" ("Hit Hard").

Finally released on Nov. 15, 1979, "Night in the Ruts" was certified Gold by the RIAA on March 13, 1980 and Platinum on Oct. 28, 1994. It was certified Gold by the CRIA in Canada, for sales of 50,000 units, on Dec. 1, 1979. In the SoundScan era the album sold 82,370 units between 1991 and Feb. 2007. In the U.S., the album reached #14 (1/19/80) with 19 weeks on the Billboard charts. The album charted for the same duration on Cashbox and reached #16 (1/12/80). "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" had originally been a #5 on the Billboard Hot-100 charts in 1964 for the Shangri-Las, and while it wasn't a hit for the band — only scraping to #67 on Billboard singles chart — it did garner positive reviews and stand out: "This Shangri-Las hit is given a hot metallic treatment by singer Steve Tyler, lead guitarist Joe Perry and the boys on the first single from the "Night In The Ruts" LP. Crackling with razor sharp guitar work and Tyler's slicing vocals, this is an AOR killer" (Cashbox, 12/22/79). The positive review didn't help the single on the Cashbox charts with it languishing for five weeks in the 90s. It was likely an ill-conceived choice for the sole single off the album, a version by Louise Goffin having already charted in the Billboard Hot-100 at #43 in October 1979. No further singles were issued with the band's touring collapsing, though "Three Mile Smile" and " No Surprize" received extensive airplay. The album's cover had been shot by Jim Shea at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA, a movie lot where Star Trek and Buck Rodgers were filmed. Featuring the band in 1920s costumes, the art had already been used promotionally for the "Chip Away The Stone" single in early 1979.

Assorted review excerpts:

"Aerosmith has been chipping away at the stone for a long time now and this album erases any doubt that the band was losing its sledgehammer-like edge. 'Night in the Ruts' is as blissfully loud and raunchy as any album in the past. New cuts like 'Chiquita' and the earth moving 'Cheese Cake' will guarantee that the stadiums will be full once again when these heavy metal kings decide to tour. A bluesy, ballsy package of 'sweet emotion" for AOR" (Cashbox, 11/24/79).

"If hard driving raunch 'n' roll is your cup of tea, then this latest Aerosmith offering is for you. Relying once again on screaming guitar lines and unrelenting boogie beats, producer Gary Lyons pulls it together with a flair" (Record World, 11/24/79).

"The first song on Aerosmith's seventy album is called 'No Surprize,' and that about sums up 'Night in the Ruts.' After some tentative attempts to expand its basic jock-rock sound with mandolins, banjos and an occasional female backup vocal on its last studio record, 'Draw the Line,' Aerosmith returns to what it does best: playing America's crass, punkier version of the Rolling Stones... The finest moments on 'Night in the Ruts' sound like inspired outtakes from 'Rocks' and 'Toys in the Attic' suggests that Aerosmith may be stuck in a hard-rock rut of its own. But the deviations from this norm are disastrous, if not in concept then in execution. Aerosmith's attempt to redo the old Shangri-Las weeper, 'Remember (Walking in the Sand),' is a regrettable example of stylistic indecision, sitting uncomfortably between the band's hard-rock attack and the song's original pseudo-Spectorian grandeur, with no small blame due Gary Lyons for his rather bland production. The one ballad here, Tyler's 'Mia,' is cloned from Aerosmith's 1975 hit, 'Dream On,' but all possible tension between the group's electricity and the acoustic guitar and piano is negated by a surprisingly lifeless performance that's as unsettling as it is unnecessary" (Rolling Stone #310, 2/7/80).

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