Joe Perry is making the most of Aerosmith‘s temporary hiatus with the release of his sixth solo project Sweetzerland Manifesto. Perry began working on the album back in 2012 with the recording of the ’60s pop hit “Eve of Destruction” but the creative process picked up steam last year and what was originally planned as an instrumental record eventually morphed into something else. “It’s kind of a modern-made classic rock record, I guess,” explains Perry.
Written and recorded at the home studio of Perry’s longtime friend and frequent musical collaborator, Johnny Depp, Sweetzerland Manifesto is comprised of 10 new tracks and all but “Eve of Destruction” were written or co-written by Perry – many with the album’s guest vocalists. “I just started showing up everyday and rolling tape – well, figuratively – and started putting songs together,” said Perry. “[Depp’s studio is] like an enclave that doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the world. It’s like an artists’ refuge – he’s got writers up there, painter. There are comedians that come up. Oddly enough, not a lot of actors, other than Johnny. It’s a place here creativity is probably the most important thing. It’s a state of mind almost.” He goes on to add “I love to record. I love to be in the studio. I love to experiment. This was just another way to go about it.”
Depp as well as Dean and Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots, Terry Reid, drummer Zak Starkey, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and former New York Dolls frontman David Johansen all make appearances on the album.
Along with writing and performing the songs, Perry co-produced the album alongside Bruce Witkin with input from Jack Douglas – producer of Aerosmith‘s career-defining albums from the 1970s. The guitarist even invited his sons DJ Roman Perry and musician-producer Tony Perry (who mixed the album) to weigh-in on the project. “I sit back and listen to what they have to say,” the guitarist explains. “Nobody is as interested anymore in hearing guitar gymnastics. Sometimes a really good riff is enough to carry the day. It’s all about the song again. I learned that from my kids.”
Sweetzerland Manifesto is available now from Perry’s own Roman Records imprint. Check out the single “Aye, Aye, Aye” below.