The Joe Perry Project
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|The Joe Perry Project|
|Genres||Hard rock, blues rock|
|Labels||Roman Records, Columbia Records, MCA Records|
|Associated acts||Aerosmith, BUX, Savoy Brown, Angel|
|Past members||Ronnie Stewart
Cowboy Mach Bell
The Joe Perry Project is an American rock band formed by Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry. Perry started working on forming the band shortly before his departure from Aerosmith in 1979. The Joe Perry Project signed a record deal almost immediately after Perry's exit from the band with Aerosmith's label, Columbia Records, who were disappointed with the chaos in the Aerosmith camp and hoping to maneuver Perry back into Aerosmith.
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The original band line-up consisted of Perry, singer Ralph Morman, bassist David Hull and drummer Ronnie Stewart. This line-up recorded The Project's 1980 debut album, Let the Music Do the Talking, which was produced by long-time Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas. The album was fairly well received and sold a respectable 250,000 copies in America within its first six months of release.
During the tour in support of the album, Morman's behavior became very erratic due to alcohol-related issues, and he was dismissed from the band in June 1980. He was temporarily replaced by singer Joey Mala, of the New York-based act Revolver, in order for Perry to fulfill concert obligations until a permanent vocalist could be brought in. Morman would go on to become lead singer for Savoy Brown a few weeks after being fired from the Perry organization. A permanent replacement for Morman was found in singer and rhythm guitarist Charlie Farren. Perry, Farren, Stewart, and Hull recorded one album, I've Got the Rock'n'Rolls Again, which proved to be less successful than the group's debut effort. Columbia's reluctance to promote the album combined with Perry's continuing drug and financial problems led to the entire band quitting in 1982.
Equipped with a new record label (MCA Records) and three new band members in singer Cowboy Mach Bell, bassist Danny Hargrove and drummer Joe Pet, the band released Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker in 1983. The album met the same fate as its predecessor, selling less than 50,000 copies. Despite the poor sales, The Project went out on a final tour in support of the album, adding then-former Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford to the line-up.
During this tour, The Project performed in a series of co-bills with Huey Lewis and the News in Texas promoted by veteran concert producers Tom Young and Terrell Braly. It was during this tour that Joe formed a strong friendship with Huey Lewis. The News was booked by Fred Bohlander of Monterey Peninsula Artists and Huey felt that Joe should be with the same agency in a reformed Aerosmith. Fred Bohlander agreed and arranged a meeting between Joe and Steven Tyler. Monterey Penn Artist would arrange for a tour of the reformed legendary act should the principals agree.
The following year, both Perry and Whitford would rejoin Aerosmith for a very successful reunion and began a two decade relationship with Monterey Peninsula Artists which in turn helped make the small agency the industry powerhouse it is today.
A compilation album, The Music Still Does the Talking: The Best of the Joe Perry Project, was released by an Australian Indie Record label in 1999.
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On October 6, 2009 Joe Perry released a solo album entitled Have Guitar, Will Travel. The first single from the album was called "We've Got a Long Way to Go." Although the record was released as a Perry solo album, the touring band included original bassist David Hull and they are being billed as The Joe Perry Project. Also participating in the band were guitarist/keyboardist Paul Santo, drummer Marty Richards and German vocalist Hagen Grohe who was discovered by Perry's wife on YouTube. The new Joe Perry Project also backed Joe on his latest album which makes it a de facto JPP album.
On September 20, 2009, the new Joe Perry Project played the first public concert of the Have Guitar, Will Travel Tour at Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The show was announced just days before the event. Fans who attended the show were the first to hear some of the new songs from the upcoming album "Joe Perry...Have Guitar, Will Travel", as well as a handful of classic Aerosmith hits including: "Let the Music Do the Talking" (alternate JPP version), "Walkin' The Dog", "Dream On", "Combination" and "Walk This Way". The final song of the night was a cover of Neil Young's "Keep On Rockin' in the Free World."
On November 10, 2009, Steven Tyler surprised Joe Perry when he appeared backstage during the show. Before the encore, Steven asked Joe if he could perform "Walk This Way" during the encore. Joe agreed. Because rumors had been circulating that Steven Tyler was planning to quit Aerosmith, Steven took this opportunity to assure the audience that he had no intention of quitting Aerosmith. During an interview after the show, Joe Perry said that he was puzzled by Steven's remark because, according to Joe, neither Steven nor any band member or staff member had recently indicated that there were personnel changes in the works.
Singer Ralph Morman, original lead vocalist for the Project, attempted a comeback in 2011 after a hiatus from the music business of more than twenty-five years. Interviews with Morman discussing an upcoming release and concert plans were featured in print publications and online sites, but the singer withdrew from the public with no explanation shortly after the announcement of his first concert dates in the Summer of that year.
On January 21, 2014, Morman's wife Debra announced that Morman has been battling cancer. He died on August 17, 2014.
- Let the Music Do the Talking (1980)
- I've Got the Rock'n'Rolls Again (1981)
- Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker (1983)
- The Music Still Does the Talking: The Best of the Joe Perry Project (1999)
- Bienstock, Richard (September 16, 2011). Aerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Boston Bad Boys. Voyageur Press. p. 65. ISBN 9781610597692.
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