Joe Perry recently spoke with Guitar World about how watching Jeff Beck perform affected his formative years as a guitarist and resulted in a choice that changed the course of his career.
It is certain that Beck had a significant impact on the whole rock scene since he and his colleagues set the standard for what a guitarist should be for many upcoming musicians. Evidently, Joe was one of those people who, upon watching Jeff on stage, felt inspired.
As a result, Perry mentioned how he swapped his equipment in the first place while the Aerosmith legend was talking about his decision to play Les Paul. Perry owned a Guild Starfire early in his career. But after witnessing the British guitar legend playing a Les Paul, the rocker imitated him and exchanged his instrument for a brand-new, reissued Les Paul Gold Top, which he purchased from a music store.
The rocker then talked about how, although frequently using Les Paul during the 1970s, he preferred using a Strat for recording because he enjoyed the variety of tones and how it allowed him to add additional layers to his sound. Perry never hesitated to move between instruments when playing the guitar.
However, given that Joe recorded the majority of Aerosmith’s notable albums, including “Pandora’s Box,” “Nine Lives,” and “Toys In The Attic,” with Les Paul, it may be safe to say that Beck somehow had an impact on Joe’s musical life. Additionally, Joe’s decision to give up his old guitar and switch to Les Paul’s more well-known sound may have had a career-altering effect.
Perry talks about Jeff’s impact, receiving his first Les Paul, and how he switched out gear as needed:
“After seeing that Jeff Beck played a Les Paul, I [was] determined to sell the Guild Starfire I had. I traded it in ’68. They had just reissued the Les Paul Gold Top, and so I bought a new one. I could have picked up a ’59 for pretty close to what I paid for a new one off the wall, but I just went into the music store, and there it was.
I played Les Pauls pretty much throughout the ’70s, but I recorded most of my stuff with Strats. I always loved having the vibrato arm, and it seemed easier to get different tones out of a Strat. The tone you could get out of a Les Paul was heavier, and it was easier to get distortion with less noise.
I think a lot of the reason that guitar plays so well, in general, is because it has its roots in Spanish guitar The first version, with the trapeze tailpiece and the strings going under the bridge, is almost impossible to play the way we play guitar now, but after the first couple of years they really nailed it.”
Joe was ready to alter his equipment after hearing Beck perform, and Jeff was one of the guitar idols who inspired other guitarists and forced them to reconsider their choice of instrument. If art imitates life, it stands to reason that guitar heroes like copying other guitar heroes.