I had the chance to ask Tom Hamilton, the bass guitarist for Aerosmith, a question I had wondered about for many years. I couldn’t have wished for a better response!
There’s a book, a history of Aerosmith, called “Walk this Way”. The author of the book makes an argument about you that says that you were the band member that was most difficult to convince to stop doing drugs.
The reason that the author gave was because you had never lost your house, never lost your wife, in the way that some of the other band members did.
I was wondering if that’s true and if you would elaborate on how you made that decision at that time of your life.
Well you know I was never addicted to drugs, I just found them so damn fun!
We got to a point where we were losing tours and began having problems in the band because tours were going down because people were too involved in getting high and when you combine that with the pressure and stress of the band going like that, arguing all the time, and dealing with the personalities and the fights and the arguments.
You know the band broke apart in 1979 and I remember thinking well big deal we’ll just get two more guitar players and let them in. It’ll be fine.
It wasn’t until we got together and we did the Rock in a Hard place album and we went out on tour and then that’s when we realized that Aerosmith in its new form wasn’t going to go over with the fans.
Cause we would be in a situation like this and somebody would yell “hey where’s Joe?”
The harder we tried the harder we realized the fans wanted the band back in the original shape and they really let us know about it.
And we realized that’s what we really wanted too. It’s the best thing we ever had and we fucked it up. You know.
So we finally got to that point where the band got back together but we still had a lot of dysfunctions and problems and issues and a lot of it was related to drugs.
At some point I became convinced, yeah, you can’t expect a couple people, or especially one particular person, to be completely sober if other band members are around the corner smoking a joint or having a drink.
Up until then I had read out the Constitution on why I should be able to have a beer with dinner - I never fell offstage! I realized that it is true, if we want Aerosmith we are gonna have to face it together, all together, and it does bite while it’s going on but I’m really happy that it did. Because it was very true and it was hard and the tours started coming back.
I think it’s part of why we’re still around is that we went through that.