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|Riff & Roll Exclusive Interview With Jimmy - Part 1(1998)|
Riff and Roll caught up with Jimmy and talked
to him about a variety of subjects, including the recording of
Rock In A Hard Place, his time playing in Aerosmith and with Rod
Stewart and other bands, a planned album and much more....
Steven Tyler collapses onstage in Portland, 1979|
Riff and Roll: Now
In Aerosmith's Autobiography, Walk This Way, there's a picture of
yourself playing on while Brad Whitford checked on Steven, who'd
collapsed on stage. What was it like trying to entertain a crowd
in those circumstances?
Jimmy Crespo: That
was in my first few shows with Aerosmith, about my second I
think. It was in Portland and it was pretty disappointing. I was
really looking forward to playing with these guys, and when
Steven collapsed I knew something was really wrong. It felt
strange, but most of all it was just disappointing, and I
wondered what I was getting myself into.
one stage, yourself, Joey and Tom teamed up with Marge Raymond
from Flame to form Renegade, and apparently tracks were recorded
for a potential release. How far from fruition did that venture
JC: Well we had a
record deal through Columbia, and we got several tracks in the
can before Steven eventually got it together. I was responsible
for writing the music in Renegade, Tony Bongiovi produced it with
Bob Mayo on Keyboards/vocals and the tracks were recorded over at
S./.R. studios on 52nd Street in New York. From memory I think a
few of the tracks were named "Cinderella Dreamer",
"Ride On", and "One More Night". I think Steven caught wind
of what we were doing and realised he had to get things moving
again, otherwise the band was history. I remember there was one
other track I was working on with Renegade, which Steven and I
ended up collaborating on which was called something like
"Well Run Dry" too.
what stage did the follow up to Rock In A Hard Place get to?
JC: Not too far.
Columbia wouldn't advance us any money for the album, they wanted
to hear the recordings before they would give us any money. This
kind of made it into a stalemate situation, and all the while
Steven wasn't in the best health. There were a few ideas floating
favourite songs from the Aerosmith days?
JC: Of the album I
played on my favourite was probably Bolivian Ragamuffin. It was
really raw and fun to play. I liked playing stuff like the Jig Is
Up and Rock In A Hard Place (Cheshire Cat), they were all a lot
of fun. Rock In A Hard Place was the first song I collaborated
and recorded with Steven, so it kind of sentimentally holds a
place in my heart. Some of the other songs I really liked too,
and some were ok. Jailbait got a little repetitve to play, it was
a pretty simple song. Of the songs that we played in concert
other than the ones I wrote, Sweet Emotion and Back In The Saddle
were some of my favourites to play live.
you still play any songs from those days live these days?
JC: I do actually.
I break into Bolivian Ragamuffin occasionally!
still listen to Aerosmith?
JC: Yeah, I like
them a lot, especially the older stuff. Their newer stuff is
different to what they used to do, but it's good too.
parting with Aerosmith - were you a little disappointed not to be
able to put together another album with the band?
JC: It was a major
disappointment. To be honest I didn't expect to be in Aerosmith
as long as I was without making a lot more albums. I expected in
that time we would have made at least 2 or 3 albums, and I would
have liked to have made 4 or 5 in that period, but things just
weren't that productive with all the problems.
RR: How many
people were fired during Rock In A Hard Place? And the production
JC: There were
always new faces about, but the close Aero family remained pretty
constant. Felix Popolardi who'd produced Cream and songs like
Sunshine of Your Love and later Eric Clapton's albums was
supposed to be producing the album, but unfortunately he was shot
by his wife. The production costs ended up being about $1.5 mil,
which in those days was a hell of a lot.
how much did you play on the previous album, Night In The Ruts?
JC: I only joined
Aerosmith the night before the mixing of Night In The Ruts after
Joe Perry left. They got me to come in and fire off a solo to
Three Mile Smile, and that was pretty much it.
RR: Favourite guitar solo of
JC: I would have to say probably
Cry Me A River.
RR: Who's idea was that to
cover that song? Is it true it was done in one take?
JC: That was Steven's idea. That
was a great idea - I remember Steven had this old 40's Julie
London record with that song on it and he thought it would be a
good idea to cover it. I gotta say I love the guy, he's so
talented, and it was great to work with him. Actually that solo
was one of the only solos I've done in one take, I just had the
sound perfect, and the end result came out great. I said to Jack
(Douglas) do you want me to do it again, and he said "no
RR: Is it true that Steven
Tyler is really a left handed bassist named William Campbell and
when you play "Jailbait" backwards it says "Steven
is dead, miss him, miss him, miss him"? Or are those the
lyrics normally to "Bolivian Ragamuffin"? :)
JC: I hadn't heard that! But it
could be the lyrics to Bolivian Ragamuffin though! A lot of that
song sounds like jibber jabber. I do know though that at the time
all the best drugs were Bolivian, and Steven was right into that
Part Two of the
Interview with Jimmy Crespo