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Walk this way

Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton talks to Mallvika Nanda about rock, Bollywood and his good old days.

art and culture Updated: May 26, 2007 14:55 IST

The voice on the other side said, "Hi, this is Tom from Aerosmith. How are you doing?"

That might sound very guy-from-the-next-block types. But that's how Tom Hamilton, famed bassist of Aerosmith is known to be - hopelessly grounded and hopelessly famous. Aerosmith will perform for the first time in India, on June 2, in Bangalore.

In this interview, Tom did not do the Taj Mahal, tikka masala and ‘I love India' routine. So what did he say?

India Calling: I was talking to a friend and he asked what we were up to. I told him that we're going to India. And it felt amazing saying that. Every once in a while we meet people and they tell us, you guys should play in India, there is a lot of Aerosmith fanfare there. Recently, I was watching one of the American talk shows where the Indian prime minister was a guest. It was interesting to hear him talk about the changes in India.

Looking forward to… I've heard that Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India and I have a picture in my head. I'm expecting a sort of juxtaposition of the modern and the ancient.

Ever heard of Bollywood?
Who has not? I know about it but haven't really picked up any CDs yet. It's good to hear that there is a band scene happening there too.

Is rock dead? They've said that many times. There was the Punk era, Disco era and the whole Techno era and the regular rock bands were called dinosaurs. I read in the Rolling Stone or the Sun magazine that guitar was dead, and that music would only be made with synthesisers and computers. That was stupid of them to say that. But it's interesting to know that a lot of youngsters have started listening to hard rock again. It's an amazing thing, it's like a new trend. But for us it's where we've always been.

Aerosmith - playing on: It took us a long time to reach here and understand each other. We rarely discuss anything without yelling or shouting and sometimes the exchanges leave you upset. But we have learnt not to be affected.

Looking back… "In late 60s, when Joe Perry (guitarist) and I were kids there was an explosion of bands. There was Led Zeppelin, Who, Doors, Byrds, Rolling Stones…I'd try to play like our heroes. But we just blasted the volume and tried to play fast and rock hard. Steven Tyler (vocalist) had his own band. But he as fed up of what he was doing. He thought we were horrible musicians, but he recognised the energy. That's how Aerosmith happened."

A little known fact: I enjoy slap-stick. I have played Laura Bush and Camilla Parker Bowles. Now I want to play a guy I . was meant to go to acting school, but Aerosmith happened instead. Sound advice: Today you can make records and correct your mistakes on the comp. But the focus should be on playing your instruments well.

First Published: May 26, 2007 12:53 IST