This album was delayed a lot and was really hard to produce and finish. The album was recorded 3 times in different studios.
They had been off the road since Dec 19, 1994, and the new album was supposed to be out in November 1995, that’s the promise they had with Sony. At the time Tyler had seen Alanis Morriset and was interested in working with Ballard, but it wasn’t set in stone it would be Nine Lives. Some rumours said that they still planned to use Fairburn but basically he was booked out solid (although did put a vague commitment in his diary for the band but they blew it).
It was evident with the club gigs in 1995, that they had a series of demos or songs ready to put on an album before really starting to record and work with external writers. They took the new demos to producer Glen Ballard and wrote more songs on Miami’s “Marlin Hotel”, which served as the South Beach Studios, and they complemented those basic tracks with additional recordings made at Criteria Studios (MTV visited the in May 1996).
However, as Joey Kramer left and Steve Ferroni came in on drums, more songwriters arrived as well. Kalodner said he introduced Marti Frederiksen to the band, and it could be some of the early get together as this was like early 1996. During a Masterclass with Marti, he mentioned that he wrote 9 or 10 songs and that they were all demoed (not all of them with finished lyrics).
The record label didn’t like what they had from the Miami version of the album, and once again they had re-recorded all the songs. This time in NY with a new producer, Kevin Shirley, from September 1996, and continued to December.
In that sense, other than the multiple edits, takes and tapes that exist, there should be at least these main versions of the album tracks in existence:
- Marlin Hotel/South Beach Studio early demos with Steven, Joe and Glen Ballard playg key and drum machine
- Marlin Hotel/South Beach Studio/Criteria Sound tracks with Steve Ferroni on drums
- Marlin Hotel/South Beach Studio/Criteria Sound tracks with Joey Kramer replacing Ferroni’s drums
- Avatar Studios tracks with the full band
A whiteboard of the song they were working on during these sessions can be seen in their “Vindaloo Music” office, in the background of a clip that shows Steven and Tom fooling around at the end of episode 2 of the web series about the “Making of Music From Another Dimension“. The titles that can be read are possible:
- Hole in my Soul
- Fallen Angels
- Ain’t that a Bitch
- Taste of India
- Falling in Love
- Kiss your past Goodbye
- The Farm
- Throws of Emotion
- Fall Together
- Sun Never Shines
- Bacon Biscuit
- Falling off
South Beach Studio tapes
South Beach was the place they recorded. I heard that the studio was rather relaxed in regard to security, in 1996, Marlin Hotel, from a band perspective of music ownership. There were stacks of tapes produced and a case of what was copied. They used to catalogue the tapes on a daily basis and then archive them into their vaults – some tunes would have dozens of takes. Different tapes with different dates featured different versions of the songs, some closer to being finalized than others.
A lot of stuff recorded in 96 was with other songwriters such as Cantrell, Hudson, Frederiksen, Child, Deleo, etc. There was various articles/reviews done during and after the Miami recordings saying what they’d done and who with (including Hudson on “Innocent Man”). A lot of the 96 sessions were with either drum machine or Ferrone on drums rums. Ballard and Frederiksen are very talented multi-talented artists that could work with the band from a recording perspective in playing instruments with them and making demos. A lot of it was Tyler and Perry working with Ballard and then bringing the ideas to the rest of the band when ready to record.
The studio tape pictured had a blank side, the “B Side”. Sadly that side lists a few never before heard song titles (Little Miss Funk it Up, King Kong). The jacket is from an original copy of the “South Beach Studio” tape from the 1996 sessions, the tape indicated that this was once Steven’s copy. Somehow, around 2006 this image leaked:
Aerosmith Demo Songs Tape 2/21/96 Tape 10+2
Client: Sony Music | Producer: Glen Ballard | Engineer: Chris Fogel | Assistant Engineer: Shad T. Scott
- When the Monkey Comes
- Taste of India
- Kiss Your Past Good-Bye
- Somethings Gotta Give
- The Farm
- Where the Sun Never Shines
- What Kind of Love
- Fallen Angels
Around 2003 a person made several posts in Aerosmith online forums telling everyone he had a lot of “real rare stuff”, “Aero Gems” he had found on a street’s garbage bin. He had pictures of the band, backstage passes, and even some DAT tapes.
Several DAT (digital audio tape) tapes were found, yet not many songs inside. One had “Sedona Sunrise”, other “Do You Wonder Why?” (a Perry track that would eventually be released in his 2009 solo album) and a few other rough demos (most likely recorded by Perry with Frederiksen producing and doing raw vocals), and two more with different mixes of “Pink” and “Full Circle” for TV shows, just the studio versions with muted tracks. Read the full story about the lost DAT tapes.
Test pressings of the album
It is usual for a label to produce a few different test pressings of an album, and limited copies of studio alternative mixes and mastering variations exist to get approval from the band, management, etc.
A copy of the “unmastered” tracks from Nine Lives exists. The tracks are just that, not final masters of the song without substantial differences. “The Farm” has a slightly different longer ending, “Pink” features a different South Beach mix/mastering, and featured “Little Grass Shack” as the final track.
A similar test CD featured “Little Grass Shack” as well. The South Beach version of the album could have fitted in tone with “Little Grass Shack”, being recorded in Miami and the overall light and warm sound that Ballard brought, but it certainly did not fit the heavier rock sound that Kevin Shirley brought for the NY version of the album. Steven mentioned that the track was considered to be the opening track during the Howard Stearn show.
Robert DeLeo co-writing
From JB News from the Road:
“…Joe and Steven had Robert Deleo come down to the Marlin Hotel in Florida to write some songs. Although none of the 4 songs that the trio worked up during that time have been used you can still hear Steven humming them from time to time. Maybe they will see the light of day soon.”
On August 25, 1997, MTV News reported:
“Robert DeLeo co-wrote three songs with [Aerosmith] for consideration on their latest album, ‘Nine Lives.’ STP first met Aerosmith in 1994 when STP requested tickets and passes to Aerosmith’s L.A. show — they had grown up on Aerosmith music, they told reporters. DeLeo clicked particularly well with guitarist Joe Perry and the two kept in touch. DeLeo visited Perry at his home the following year, and then last year, DeLeo joined Aerosmith in Miami for an extended writing stint. Those sessions produced three songs that were considered for the album, but they missed the cut along with a dozen others–Aerosmith had gone into the studio with 23 some-odd tunes.
Robert said about writing songs with Aerosmith:
“Yeah. That was pretty amazing. I got asked back in like ’95 to go out and write with Aerosmith. And I’ve gone out several times. I remember pulling up to Joe Perry’s house and he was outside and had just got this stereo for his car and he’s like, ‘hey, check this out.’ And then Steven [Tyler] had just drove-up. We all got in Joe’s car to check out his new stereo. And I thought I was dreaming! We wrote songs in Joe’s basement. I hung with his family. I have to say Aerosmith is just some very nice people. Those guys are very amazing people. […] ultimately they didn’t use any of the material I wrote, because I think I was just so nervous. I think I wrote some really great songs with them and they said they will use them. So we’ll see.”KNAC interview 2002
Other songs on Studio tapes:
1996 Excellent sound, roughs of: Crash – India – Full Circle – Pink – The Farm – Innocent Man – Trouble.
1996 Excellent sound, South Beach studio tape: Attitude – When the Monkey Comes – India – Pink – Loretta – Kiss your past Goodbye – Something’s gotta give – Farm – Where the sun never shines – What kind of love are you on – Fallen Angels – Crash – Full Circle – Something – Bacon biscuit blues – Aint that a bitch – Trouble, different than the one released.
These songs are listed on a tape but the tape is blank: History of man – Up on the mountain – Little miss funk it up – King Kong, so there are more to look for…
1996 Nine Lives Glen Ballard mixes never released, excellent sound: Fallin in Love – India – Pink – Loretta – Farm – Kiss your past Goodbye – 9 Lives – What kind of lover you want – Something’s gotta give – Bisquit blues – Aint that a Bitch 1 – Bitch 2. Also on tape: Bridges are Burning, final mix – Fallin off, final mix – Fallin in love, dance mix – Fallin in love, Moby flawed mix – Fallin, Moby fucked mix – Fallin, extended mix – Fallin, Nicole’s mix – Heart of Passion demo.