Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion for Metrowest

                                              (Milford Daily News column from 2005.)

                                                         By Mr. Know-It-All

    Dear Mr. Know-It-All,

    You wrote a few weeks ago about Jimi Hendrix performing in Framingham.  Didn't Aerosmith
    perform in Metrowest, too? P.R., Milford

    Indeed they did, P.R.  In fact, Aerosmith's very first concert took place in MetroWest, specifically at
    Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon on November 6, 1970.  Carl Olson was a history teacher
    at Nipmuc at the time as well as the adviser for the sophomore class, which organized the
    Aerosmith concert.  "It was a hard battle to actually get them there," Olson recalls.  "Most dances
    back then were record hops.  Having live bands was kind of an unusual thing to do.  Still, a group
    of students convinced me to hire the group.  Joe Perry (Aerosmith's guitarist) is from nearby
    Hopedale and the kids were friendly with him so we convinced the principal to allow us to take 50
    bucks out of the class treasury in order to pay them for the night."

    The principal at the time was Wilho Frigard.  "He wasn't too enthralled with the idea, but we
    worked on him long enough to convince him," says Olson, who is now retired and resides in
    Medway.  "He was kind of hesitant to spend 50 bucks."  While $50 may seem like chump change
    now for one of rock 'n' rolls premier bands, that money was put to good use by the group,
    according to Olson.  "If you look in their autobiography, they said that $50 paid the rent for the
    apartment in Boston where they were staying back then," he says.   The concert was organized as
    a fund raiser with admission either 50 or 75 cents, according to Olson.  "I'm not sure if we covered
    all the costs," he says.

    In case you're curious, a good seat for an Aerosmith concert today can exceed  $100.  According
    to an Aerosmith Web site -- and there are a lot of them -- the playlist for that first concert included
    11 songs: "Route 66," "Rattlesnake Shake," Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," "Movin' Out,"
    "Somebody," "Think About It," "Walkin' the Dog," "Live with Me," "Great Balls of Fire," "Good Times
    Bad Times'" and "Train Kept A Rollin'."  "They didn't play many songs but it was loud," Olson
    recalls.  "And the kids loved it, though the adults were a little taken back."  "They performed in the
    gym to a crowd of about 125 people, which was a good crowd for dances back then.  The kids had
    a good time."

    At a class reunion later, Yankee Magazine talked to the students who were there.  The kids at the
    reunion said how amazing it was and how nice it was to see kids from the area end up doing so
    well.  Who would have known?  "The most amazing thing, though, is not one single picture was
    taken that night.  It would have been priceless to have now."  Any final thoughts?  "It was a very
    interesting evening."

    Dick Grady, a history teacher at Miscoe Hill Middle School in Mendon, has compiled information
    about Aerosmith, too.  For you continuity fans out there, Miscoe is located where Nipmuc used to
    be before it moved to Upton.  The gymnasium is now named after Frigard.  Grady says the Nipmuc
    concert almost didn't take place.  "The band was drinking Boone's Farm wine before the concert
    and almost got tossed," says the Mendon resident.  And there were other shenanigans.  "The
    group changed in the locker room and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith's lead singer) absconded with a
    Nipmuc shirt from there and wore it for the concert."

    Grady notes that Perry went to Hopedale High School where his mother, Mary, was a physical
    education teacher.  "Perry had a run-in with the principal at the time, Albert 'Chick' Sayles," he
    says.  "The principal wanted Perry to cut his hair, but Perry refused and eventually left the school."  
    Apparently Perry didn't hold grudges.  When the band later performed at Boston Garden, he sent
    a limosine to pick up Sayles and his mother and drive them to the concert, according to Grady.  
    "Sayles went, too," he says.

    For more MetroWest connections, we chat with Dave Meade, who grew up with Perry in Hopedale.  
    "I taught him his first chords on the guitar and played in bands with him," recalls Meade, who is now
    a circulation manager for the Community Newspaper Co., which publishes The Daily News.  Meade
    notes that, following the Nipmuc gig, he also booked four monthly concerts for Aerosmith at
    Hopedale Town Hall in 1970 and 1971.  Admission was $1.  He booked another concert at the
    Lakeview Ballroom in Mendon where more concerts took place afterwards.  The venue is now
    called the Myriad Ballroom.

    So what was Perry like in those early years?  "He'd just sit in his room and play guitar all the time,"
    says Meade.  "I mean really extensively, and when he wasn't doing that he'd be out looking at
    other bands."

    Want more?  Sure you do.  Aerosmith performed at Wayland High School, too, and Gail McNeill, a
    1971 Wayland graduate, was there.  "It was pretty cool," she recalls.  "They played on into the
    night."  The concert is mentioned in the class yearbook of her sister, Robin, who graduated from
    Wayland in 1974.  "I must have come back from college for the concert," says McNeill, who now
    resides in Framingham and runs the McNeill Veterinary Clinic in Sudbury.  A yearbook blurb on
    Student Council activities mentions the concert: "In November (1973), a spectacular concert by
    Aerosmith was sponsored with much success."  Why Wayland?  Mr K would love to find out.  
    Another Web site on Aerosmith notes that the group's bass player, Tom Hamilton, resided in
    Wayland and Weston as a youth.  Perhaps that had something to do with it.

    For more concerts, yet another Web site states that Aerosmith performed at the Cricket Lounge in
    1972.  The lounge is now the site of a day-care center located near the MBTA station on
    Plaeasant Street.  The band also performed at Hopedale High School's prom on June 16, 1973,
    and the Westboro Speedway in Westboro on Aug. 18, 1974, states another site.  Now Mr. K is
    willing to bet his Aerosmith record collection that the band performed at other venues in
    MetroWest.  If you know of any, just contact yours truly and keep dreaming on.   Milford Daily
    News, January 23, 20

    In the early days of Aerosmith, Dave Meade was their manager. The first ad ever placed for an Aerosmith concert was
    the one above, (submitted by Dave) which ran in the Milford Daily News April 20, 1971. Dave said the Joneses were
    the biggest rock band in Worcester County at the time. He hired them to be the opening band, but he didn’t tell them
    that. They found out when they got there. "They went into the concert that night as the Number 1 band in the area.
    They came out Number 2," said Dave. Attendance that night was 1044. Thanks to Dave for telling me about the ad. As
    the one who placed it, he was able to tell me all these years later the exact day that it was in the paper. I went to the
    Milford Library the next day, and found it in the Milford News microfilm on that date. Here's a bit more from Dave.

    "The concert was on a Tuesday night. Why Tuesday? It had become something of a tradition to have a rock concert
    on the Tuesday of school vacation week at Lakeview. Bill Greene had started that in the sixties. I think the Rascals
    played there in 1966, '67 and '68. The Kingsmen played the April date a couple of times, also. Then it didn’t happen
    for a couple of years. I called Bill Greene and arranged the Aerosmith/Joneses concert for 1971. I packed too many
    people in and after that Bill took over. Ticket prices went up to $2.50, $2.75, and eventually to $4.50."

    Below you can see a bit of what was surrounding the Aerosmith ad. A couple of movie ads that are out of view were for
    Patton and M*A*S*H. Part of a Hopedale Boy Scout Court of Honor article can be seen just above the Aerosmith ad.

    Aerosmith 1972 (or 1974, depending on which newspaper
    you believe.) Left to right: Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom
    Hamilton, Steven Tyler (front), and Joey Kramer.

    Steven Tyler and Joe Perry - 2006. Bottom
    two photos from the files of Dick Grady.

    Thanks to Dick Grady for sending this one, with
    Steven Tyler in the Nipmuc shirt. The others are, left
    to right, Tom Hamilton (bassist), Joe Perry, Brad
    Whitford (guitarist) and Joey Kramer (drummer).
Thanks for sending this, DJ.

    Thanks to Lois Taylor, Mark Taylor and Dick Grady who all
    had a hand, one way or another in saving this Worcester
    Gazette article and making it available. According to Dave
    Meade, Aerosmith and the Jones played several concerts
    together at Lakeview, the first being the one the ad at the top
    of the page was for -  April 20, 1971.

    The letter to Lois, below, refers to the article above.

    "Walk this way," Patrol Boy Joe would say way back in 1961.

    Thanks to Fran Coffey and Dave Meade for this picture. Fran gave Dave a copy and Dave gave
    me a copy. Thanks to Dave also for the names..

    Top row - left to right - Jack Bresciani, Tony Niro, Nelson Thibault, Bobby Stearns, John Durham

    Middle, left - Joe Perry        Middle, right - Fran Coffey

    Bottom row - left to right - Al Tomassini, John Cox, Bruce Wright, Donald Sprague, Bobby "Bubba"
    Phillips (Philllips ID by Dick Grady and Bill Wright), Bill Reed

First concert tunes, according to some forgotten website.

    Above - Though not the identical date as the one in the list on
    the left, probably a permit for the first Aerosmith concert held at
    the Hopedale Town Hall.

    Below- Permits given (and not given, in the case of the last
    one) for dances at the town hall as shown in the Milford News.

    ‘Wings’ over Westborough: When Steven Tyler and Aerosmith rocked Westboro Speedway

    By Craig S. Semon Telegram & Gazette Staff
    Posted Aug 18, 2019 at 11:54 AM

    — Long before they were the “Bad Boys of Boston” and long before they were booked for Aug. 21, 24, 26 and
    29 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Aerosmith was just another up-and-coming rock ‘n’ roll band hoping
    to make the big time.

    Playing its share of ballrooms, high school auditoriums, skating rinks, town halls and YMCAs (including Nipmuc
    Regional High School and Lakeview Ballroom in Mendon, the Hopedale and the Upton town halls, and Webster
    Square Arena in Worcester), Aerosmith has always had strong ties to this area. Heck, Aerosmith’s guitarist Joe
    Perry is originally from Hopedale, and the band’s bassist, Tom Hamilton, married Doherty Memorial High School
    grad Terry Cohen in 1975.

    Several months after the release of its sophomore record, “Get Your Wings,” Aerosmith played to an estimated
    crowd of 15,000 on Aug. 18, 1974, at Westboro Speedway on Route 9. Not only was this Aerosmith’s first big
    outdoor show as headliners, at the time the crowd was the largest to attend a rock concert in Worcester County,
    according to an Aug. 19, 1974, article in the Worcester Telegram.

    “That was a big show for us,” Hamilton said in a 2012 interview with the Telegram & Gazette. “In our minds, in
    our imagination, it was like a mini-Woodstock. And, yes, I still come across people all the time who were at that
    show.”

    On Friday, Perry, calling from his Kingston home to promote Aerosmith’s four shows in Springfield, fondly
    recalled some of the early Aerosmith gigs, including Westboro Speedway.

    “I remember going to the (Westboro) Speedway a couple of times to see the races,” Perry said. “Those (early)
    gigs were kind of one-off gigs, man. You remember those. It was during a time when people were just
    discovering the band. So there’s a lot excitement around that.”

    Thomas M. Oliveri Sr., who in 1974 was the general manager of United Chevrolet in Worcester (a car dealership
    owned by Dick Robideau, who also owned Westboro Speedway), was responsible for bringing Aerosmith to
    Westborough. But the “Bad Boys from Boston” weren’t Oliveri’s first choice.

    “I was trying to get J. Geils, because they had a lot of local guys,” Oliveri said. (The band’s guitarist and
    namesake J. Geils, bassist Daniel Klein and harmonica player Richard “Magic Dick” Salwitz formed the band in
    the late ’60s while they all were attending WPI in Worcester.) “We talked to the J. Geils Band and we talked to
    Aerosmith and, believe it or not, Aerosmith, at the time, was a little less money. So we went with Aerosmith.”

    Oliveri, who today owns a string of restaurants with his sons (including Peppercorn’s Grille & Bar and Tomato
    Pie, both in
    Worcester; Prezo Grille & Bar in Milford; and Oli’s Italian Eatery in West Boylston), hired 25 to 30 Westborough
    police, 25 men from City Detective Agency and 10 Pinkertons to keep the peace, according to the Telegram
    coverage.

    “Overall, the crowd was excellent,” Oliveri recalled. “They enjoyed the show. It wasn’t a matter of getting stoned
    or drunk.”

    At $6 apiece (roughly $31 in today’s dollars), the town of Westborough allowed only 10,000 advance sale tickets
    with none available at the gate. On the day of the concert, thousands of gate-crashers who couldn’t score a
    ticket pushed their way inside.

    “We couldn’t control them. They just overran the fences and they collapsed,” Oliveri said. “Aerosmith’s manager
    (Frank Connelly) thought there were more people in the place than we agreed upon. I told him, very frankly,
    ‘Listen, I can’t control that. What do you want from me? Either Aerosmith goes on or don’t go on.’ ”

    Reached by phone at his Sherman Oaks, California, home, former Aerosmith road manager Robert “Kelly”
    Kelleher said Westboro Speedway was Aerosmith’s first time headlining a show that big. And in honor of the
    occasion, the band brought out the pyrotechnics.

    “We did a special fireworks display,” Kelleher said. “When the band went offstage after finishing their main set,
    we shot off three concussion explosions and then Aerosmith went back for the encore and then we lit the rest of
    the fireworks.”

    Kelleher, whose main job was taking care of the band and keeping an eye on the stage, was also responsible for
    putting together the band’s rider, a set of demands that a performer sets as criteria for performance.

    ″(Aerosmith’s singer) Steven (Tyler) wanted turkey every night. And in the rider, we specified not turkey roll, no
    repressed breasted turkey. We used to have a cooked turkey every night,” Kelleher said. “We also had Chinese
    food. Everyone ate Chinese food. That’s an easy one and the promoter can’t (expletive) it up.”

    In addition to fireworks, Kelleher and Hamilton (according to “Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith”)
    both recall “a good-looking redhead wearing only shades and panties jumped on the stage” near the end of the
    show in Westboro.

    “Somebody had a friend who was a streaker,” Kelleher said. “Streaking was a thing of the time.”

    Of the three bands that played 45 years ago at the Westboro Speedway, Oliveri said he thought Duke and the
    Drivers (the band that played between Mad Angel and Aerosmith) was the one that was destined for rock ‘n’ roll
    greatness.



                                                                            Letters from Joe, written at Vermont Academy   

                    Click here to see a picture of Joe and a couple of his buddies in a pre-Aerosmith band.  

                                                     Dave Meade's "pre-Aerosmith" and Aerosmith Memories            

                    
Joe Perry Biography on IMDb             Joe Perry - Wikipedia                Aerosmith Family Tree        

                   
Dana Francis's Aerosmith Memories                              Mary Perry                                HOME    

.
 Letters from Joe, written at Vermont Academy  

 
Click here to see a picture of Joe and a couple of his buddies in a pre-Aerosmith band.

 
Dave Meade's "pre-Aerosmith" and Aerosmith Memories  

Joe Perry Biography on IMDb             Joe Perry - Wikipedia                Aerosmith Family Tree  

 
Dana Francis's Aerosmith Memories                              Mary Perry                                HOME    
.

1979


    Aerosmith celebrates their 50th anniversary as a band in 2020. Their live debut was
    at the former high school in Mendon.
























    By Jay N. Miller/For The Patriot Ledger
    Posted Nov 8, 2020 at 11:21 AM Updated Nov 8, 2020 at 11:49 AM

    When it comes to Aerosmith, the hard-rocking Grammy-winning quintet that played its first gig at
    Nipmuc Regional High, I’m a late bloomer. But like the saying goes, better late than never.
    Aerosmith made their live debut 50 years ago today - Nov. 6, 1970 - at the former high school in
    Mendon that’s now Miscoe Middle School. Five wild decades later, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom
    Hamilton, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford, are still rocking. The band’s 50th anniversary concert at
    Fenway Park was pushed to Sept. 14, 2021, after coronavirus concerns forced the postponement of
    what was being billed as a “once-in-a-lifetime one-night only performance.”

    When the band was at their initial height, busting up the charts throughout the late 1970s, I was surely
    a music fan, but gravitating to more singer-songwriter rockers like Moon Martin, Nils Lofgren, Jerry Jeff
    Walker and Greg Kihn. Over time I came to appreciate their hard-rocking take on things and the
    consistent professionalism and musical precision they brought to every show or album. It’s a style of
    rock rooted in the blues, of course, like the Rolling Stones and other bands, but it’s a more polished,
    decidedly American version. And the unique dynamics of the quintet makes for natural dramatic
    tension that lends an almost operatic quality to some of their biggest hits, like “Dream On.”

    It soon became apparent that as a music writer for The Patriot Ledger I had to become well versed in
    Aerosmith, since they were practically the local franchise. At one time Tyler, Kramer and Whitford all
    lived in Marshfield, while Perry had a home in Duxbury. Hamilton was the outlier, living in Boston and
    Cape Cod. Tyler and Perry even owned a music club, Mount Blue in Norwell.

    Aerosmith, of course had gotten their start at about 1970, while most of the members lived at 1325
    Commonwealth Ave. in Boston. Kind of a hybrid band formed from two groups that included guitarist
    Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, and another that featured singer Steven Tyler, drummer Joey
    Kramer, and Tyler’s pal Raymond Tabano. They played their first real gig at Nipmuc High in Mendon
    in 1970. Within about a year, Tabano was replaced by Berklee College of Music student Brad
    Whitford, and the band began performing anywhere and everywhere in New England, and beyond.






























    Legend has it that a gig at Max’s Kansas City, the New York City music joint, was a turning point, even
    if the band had to pay for its slot on the night’s bill. Clive Davis, the big honcho from Columbia
    Records heard the band and before long signed them to his label. Their eponymous debut album in
    1973 never got higher than No. 166 on the album charts and even its standout single “Dream On”
    only cracked the singles charts as high as No. 59.

    It wasn’t until Aerosmith’s third album, 1975′s “Toys in the Attic” that they really burst onto the national
    scene, as the single “Sweet Emotion” cracked the Top Forty, and ironically, a re-issue of “Dream On”
    peaked at No. 6. But even as the band was crafting a dozen singles that would have a big impact on
    the charts, the off-stage antics and substance abuse problems were stressing the band. All that
    relentless touring took a toll, and between 1979 and 1981, both Perry and Whitford left the band. It
    wasn’t until 1984 that the original five was back together, but the “Rock in a Hard Place” album didn’t
    yield any hits and the band was in kind of a slump until collaborating with Run-DMC on a reworked
    “Walk This Way” vaulted to the No. 4 spot on the charts in 1986 - higher than Aerosmith’s original
    version.

    Aerosmith’s comeback really took off with the 1989 album “Pump,” with many of its tunes first worked
    out in the lengthy sessions the band had at Rik Tinory’s Cohasset studio. That album became one of
    1990′s best-selling albums, and then a couple of tunes on the “Wayne’s World 2″ soundtrack kept the
    band’s profile rising. This was about the time I began covering the band, as one of the three music
    writers the Patriot Ledger had at the time.

    Aerosmith’s star began to really rise as the ’90s unfolded, even as their management brought in some
    outside writers to help them with lyrics. 1993′s “Get A Grip” continued their revival, and their
    burgeoning profile especially around Boston, led to their founding their own club, Mama Kin in 1994.
    “This club is about giving back to the music,″ Tyler told reporters during a press conference at the
    opening. “The club scene is so bad, it’s like a pothole on the road to getting there. We’re trying to
    help that. I hated playing clubs, but that’s where you really develop as a band.″ Mama Kin closed
    about 1997.

    Somewhere in that time period we reviewed the band at TD Garden, or the FleetCenter as it was
    known then. I recall a couple New Year’s Eves where it was always a torrid, celebratory way to ring in a
    New Year. One strange incident was when my notes were a bit garbled, but it seemed they had played
    a song called “Time” as the third song of their New Year’s Eve set, which seemed an apt choice, since
    it dealt with the passage of time. Back in those days, before the internet had set lists up by the time a
    concert ended, you had to make an informed guess. Turned out it had been “Toys in the Attic” and
    some irate fan wrote in suggesting we must’ve skipped the show altogether - despite apparently
    agreeing with the rest of the review.

    It was 1996 when we reviewed a band that was opening for Hingham’s Draw the Line, the excellent
    Aerosmith tribute band fronted by Neill Byrnes. That opening act, Crazy Raymond and the
    Watchdogs, was Tabano’s mid-life shot at a bit of rock glory himself, a sturdy trio that lit up Weymouth’
    s old Spotlights club with its hard rock. Tabano told me he was then a Manhattan chef, and just itching
    to have a little rockin’ fun, and that night saw Kramer come onstage to jam with his old bandmate.
    1997 was a weird year for Aerosmith, as their “Nine Lives” tour was interrupted by a Tyler leg injury,
    and then famed car aficionado Kramer had one of his babies, a Ferrari, catch fire at a Marshfield gas
    station. Some years later, I did an interview with Kramer when he was expanding his gourmet coffee
    brand, and I was instructed by the publicist I could ONLY ask about cars or coffee, no music. Another
    time, publicizing his own superb autobiography, Kramer was more than willing to talk about the band
    and his role in it.

    1998 brought one of the band’s biggest hits - the ballad “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” from the
    soundtrack to the film “Armageddon.” Penned by pop songwriter Diane Warren, the tune is a neat
    vehicle for Tyler’s softer side and it has become a concert staple, even if it is miles away stylistically
    from Aerosmith’s signature sound.

    The years since then have seen the band maintain its position near the top of the annual concert
    drawing cards, even amid periodic drama and members leaving and returning. At this point, I have
    done interviews with three of the members, Perry and Kramer a couple times each, and Hamilton
    once. One memorable Perry interview was arranged during a day I was covering a Babe Ruth
    baseball tournament in Quincy, so at the appointed time I left the press box, called the number from
    my cell phone and did the interview about their “Honkin’ On Bobo” blues album from the parking lot.

    We’ve heard Aerosmith play with Cheap Trick, Kiss and ZZ Top at various times and they always
    earned their top billing. When they played Fenway Park in 2010 with The J.Geils Band, their Beantown
    brethren gave them a run for their money, but how can you top a rendition of “Dream On” with Tyler at
    a white piano atop the Green Monster?

    There have been injuries, like Tyler’s 2009 tumble from a stage, or health scares like Perry’s collapse
    onstage with the Hollywood Vampires in 2016, and Kramer’s battles to reclaim his drum chair in recent
    years. Tyler’s had his flirtation with country music — and he has the chops to do it. Perry’s desire for
    more solo work, in his Joe Perry Project - which includes Weymouth keyboard wizard Paul Santo - led
    to 2018′s fine “Sweetzerland Manifesto” album, and his work with the Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp
    in the Hollywood Vampires is pretty compelling too.

    But the bottom line is that the original five still have that special something and luckily for fans they
    seem to have realized it. As Perry told me in our interview about his autobiography, back in 2014:
    “The music is the glue that keeps us going. There are times now we don’t see each other for long
    periods, or after shows, that’s true. But it is more a result of how we travel, with our families, and not a
    symptom of any animosity. We all live our lives different ways, and use our time offstage the way we
    want. If Steven and I have any issues today, we take each other by the arm and talk it out. We realize
    there’s a magic that happens when we’re all together that we can’t find anywhere else.”

2019
2014

    50 years ago in a high school gym, this no-name band became Aerosmith

    By James Sullivan Globe correspondent,Updated November 5, 2020, 2:48 p.m.

























    Aerosmith at Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon, Nov. 6, 1970, the first time Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and their
    bandmates performed under that name. Courtesy of Ed Malhoit

    The band had been playing together for a few months, and they were getting pretty good. But they
    could not for the life of them decide on a name.

    The young guitar player led a previous group called Flash, and another known as the Jam Band. The
    singer had one back in New York called Chain Reaction, previously known as the Strangeurs. Now
    they were billing themselves in a plain brown wrapper, as “Joe’s new band” or “Steven’s new band.”

    That, they knew, couldn’t last. How about Spike Jones, after the novelty bandleader? Too confusing.
    The Hookers? Uh, nope.

    In high school, the drummer had toyed with the word Arrowsmith, from the Sinclair Lewis novel. What
    about a retrofitted version of that?

    “It was the only name nobody didn’t like,” recalls Joe Perry, the guitarist. “Nobody could think of
    anything the matter with it.”

    As it turned out, the name has served Perry’s band well. Within a few years, he and the singer
    Steven Tyler and their band mates perfected a rock ‘n’ roll swagger that took cues from the Rolling
    Stones and would go on to influence Van Halen and Guns N' Roses. Having established themselves
    as one of the best-selling rock bands of all time, Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
    of Fame in 2001.
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    It’s been 50 years since the band’s first appearance with the name. That show, on Nov. 6, 1970, took
    place at the old Nipmuc Regional High School, now a middle school, in Mendon.

    Joe Perry grew up in nearby Hopedale. He’d met Steven Tyler — then still known by his birth name,
    Steven Tallarico — around the Lake Sunapee area of New Hampshire, where they both spent their
    summers. To pursue their rock ‘n’ roll dreams together, they’d moved into an apartment on Boston’s
    Commonwealth Avenue with drummer Joey Kramer and bassist Tom Hamilton. (Guitarist Brad
    Whitford would join the band a little later, replacing Ray Tabano.)

























    Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler in 2012, performing outside the Commonwealth Avenue apartment
    building where the band members lived when they first began performing together in 1970.Bill Greene

    In those early months the band landed a lot of gigs around Perry’s hometown in Worcester County.
    With help from Dave Meade, a high school friend, they arranged some shows at the Hopedale Town
    Hall, and several more at the Lakeview Ballroom in Mendon. They got the gig at Nipmuc Regional
    through a young history teacher who was serving as the sophomore class adviser.

    “The girls in the class were very friendly with the boys from Hopedale,” says Carl Olson, who is now
    retired. The students were tired of the usual “record hops.” Could they hire a band for the next
    dance?

    Olson went to the principal to get permission. The band wanted $50 to play.

    “His eyebrows kind of went up,” Olson remembers. “He was a very conservative gentleman, but he
    finally agreed.”

    No one can quite recall what songs the newly christened Aerosmith played that night. They almost
    certainly played their versions of “Route 66” and “Train Kept a-Rollin’.” They may have played one or
    two originals — “Movin' Out,” maybe, or “Somebody,” both of which would appear on their debut
    album in 1973. (That’s the record that also features a certain power ballad with the name of “Dream
    On.”)

    There were maybe 200 people on hand, says Meade, who was there. Other than Tyler’s complaint
    about how loud Perry was playing, the show was not particularly memorable. They had better shows
    at the Hopedale Town Hall, Meade says, which had exceptional acoustics.

    But the students, by all accounts, enjoyed themselves. Tyler took the stage wearing a Nipmuc
    Regional basketball T-shirt, which he’d pinched from the boys’ locker room. After the show, the
    janitors informed Olson that they’d found some empty bottles of cheap Boone’s Farm wine out behind
    the gym.

    The golden anniversary of the first Aerosmith gig kicks off what the band hopes will be an extended
    period of retrospection, says Perry. They’re discussing an upcoming release that could showcase a
    recently discovered rehearsal tape from the period before the band was signed to Columbia
    Records. The original reel-to-reel tape turned up, Perry believes, in the band’s old van, a 1964
    International Harvester Metro delivery truck. The van made news when it was pulled from the woods
    on private property in the town of Chesterfield a couple of years ago.























    The original Aerosmith tour van, which was located in Chesterfield and later restored. The History
    Channel/Screenshot

    “There was a lot of stuff tucked in the corners — ticket stubs, a notebook, gas receipts,” Perry
    explains, speaking by phone while lying in the sun at his Florida home. It’s a pristine recording, he
    says: “Even though some of the lyrics are different and it’s a little different in the arrangements, if you
    played it side by side with the first album, you might find it hard to figure out which is which.”

    In those days, the band had a close relationship with Frank Connelly, the powerful concert promoter
    who’d brought the Beatles to Boston. They called him Father Frank. In turn, he gave each of the
    band members a nickname.

    According to Perry, Hamilton was “Low Gear.” Whitford was “Light Horse,” and Kramer, who loved the
    Three Stooges, was “Soitanly.” Tyler was “LM,” short for “Loudmouth.” And Connelly called Perry
    “Flash,” though he was unaware that was the name of one of the guitar player’s first bands.

    In 2012, the city of Boston closed off a section of Commonwealth Avenue in front of the band’s old
    apartment for an afternoon promotional concert to mark the release of their most recent album,
    “Music From Another Dimension!” Tom Brady and Robert Kraft were on hand, and the band played
    on a flatbed truck for an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand.

    “We thought a few people would show up, but they really rolled it out for us,” Perry says. “We were
    stunned.” They’d driven by the old apartment to reminisce once or twice before, he says.

    “We had quite a few adventures there. Some made it into the books, and some didn’t,” he adds with a
    laugh.

    Perry and his family recently sold the horse farm they kept for years in central Vermont, not far from
    where he once attended boarding school. He still has a house on the South Shore, in Duxbury, but
    with homes in the Sunshine State and Los Angeles, these days he’s rarely in New England.

    He’s been meaning to get back to Hopedale for a trip down Memory Lane, he says.

    “It would be great to do a gig at the Town Hall again,” he says. “We’ll see.”

    James Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter
    @sullivanjames.