2009 Brendan O’Brian sessions

They took place during early February 2009. Joe Perry mentions the sessions in his book saying:

We brought in Brendan O’Brien to help kick-start our new album, but we never got very far. Steven wasn’t really willing to work. Five years had passed since Honkin’ on Bobo. Five years is a long time without a record.
Brendan started coming in every few weeks to help get the ball rolling. We began working up some of the rough riffs that would form the backbone of the new record. Steven either showed up late or not at all. He just wasn’t into it. That was surprising because, like me, he was a big fan of Brendan’s and loved how he had mixed Get a Grip. Despite everyone else’s enthusiasm, though, Steven was emotionally distant. He was getting higher and higher, while I was suffering with knee and painkiller problems. Nonetheless, we moved ahead. The material was getting strong. I felt like I had a tank of high-test gas in a sixties muscle car. I was ready to rock. Plans were made to record in New York. The studio was booked, a schedule blocked out. But a week before we were due to start, Steven withdrew. He said he had pneumonia, which would require three weeks of rest. Scratch New York. Nothing could be done until the following summer.
Well, I had all this creative energy inside me. I had to bust loose. It had been four years since my Joe Perry album. So I did what I’ve always done. Rather than drive myself crazy waiting on Steven, I started making new music.

They were later addressed in interviews, here’s one:

“…the record came together with producer Jack Douglas following an aborted attempt with Brendan O’Brien, Perry explained that O’Brien “just didn’t fit us.” As he put it, “He’d say to me, ‘What have you got?’ I’d play a little bit and he’d ask, ‘What’s the title, what’s the chorus, where does it go?’ If I couldn’t answer then it would be killed. But Jack, who’s like a member of the band, he could say, ‘Hey, that bit is cool – it goes with that other part and it fits with this riff.’”

O’Brien also commented on the topic with the RollingStone:

I was talking to Joey Kramer from Aerosmith about three years ago and he was telling me about the record you started with them. He said it was a tragedy the thing never happened.
[Laughs] Yeah, yeah.

I guess sometimes things just don’t work out.
[Laughs] Um, yeah. You could say that. Joey seems to be an awesome guy. How about that? Let me just say that I really enjoyed hanging out with Tom [Hamilton,] Brad [Whitford] and Joey. They were great. They were awesome.

I just think you caught them at a particularly bad moment in time.
Maybe so, but that didn’t stop . . . Ah, well, never mind. I’m talking to a writer here. I gotta stop.

Joey’s unpublished update from the studio before the sessions failed

A few years back, they attempted to record a new album with producer Brendan O’Brien – who has worked extensively with Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen. It didn’t go well. Tyler claims that both he and Perry were snorting pills during the sessions, and the Aerosmith frontman didn’t like O’Brien’s methods. “He [came] into our session and set up a piano,” Tyler told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “Trying to come up with parts on songs I wrote.”

In 2009, Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford gave Rolling Stone his account of the sessions. “There’s a very sad moment we had,” he said. “The gentleman that we had was number one on our wish list and it was very exciting for us to be working with Brendan. I don’t think it lasted more than two, three weeks. And he bent over backwards to do whatever he could to make Steven comfortable. As I recall, he didn’t like working with Brendan. You couldn’t ask for a nicer person or a more talented musician and producer than Brendan.” The band’s former A&R rep John Kalodner heard similar things. “In the brief conversation I had with Brendan, he said it was a nightmare,” Kalodner told Rolling Stone “He couldn’t believe I worked with them for all those years.”

Andy Greene for Rolling Stone

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