In 1979, Joe Perry shocked fans by abruptly leaving Aerosmith and his fellow Toxic Twin Steven Tyler. Opting out during the difficult recording sessions for what became "Night in the Ruts," the guitarist of Aerosmith formed his Joe Perry Project and released the first of three albums. Each record featured a new lineup of the band, the final one enlisting the talents of Boston singer Mach Bell, who had become a local legend as the frontman for the hard-rockin' Thundertrain. Since his band looked at Aerosmith as their prime inspiration, the choice made a whole lot of sense.
Mach Bell joined up in 1982 and recorded the third Joe Perry project album , "Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker," and headed out on an, often-tumultuous series of tour dates. Those experiences have been chronicled in a new book penned by 'Cowboy' Mach Bell titled after the album he made with Joe Perry. Now available at bookstores and on Amazon, "Once a Rocker, Always A Rocker."
I've known Bell since the dawn of the Boston punk scene in 1976-77 when Thundertrain was in the thick of it riding that blurry line between hard rock glory and punk rock's ethos of grit and humility. This is an exciting look into what was a blurry time for a lot of rockers; good thing someone was writing it all down!
Mach Bell says this about his history with Joe Perry and the book that came from it:
"I was 29 years old in February 1982 and living in my parents’ basement. I worked at my father’s stereo shop. A week later I unexpectedly became the lead singer of a famous hard rock band. Suddenly I was touring America and preparing to cut an album for a major label. Aerosmith’s Joe Perry needed a new singer for his Joe Perry Project and I got drafted.
For me it was like winning the lottery. Much better though, because lotteries only pay cash. For the next two years I would be experiencing things in life that money just can’t buy. Living on the road with a beloved rock star, playing adventurous, unbridled hard rock on big stages to young crowds, signing autographs, finding romance and partying with my idols. I was on top but…
Since quitting Aerosmith, Joe Perry was bottoming out. Health failing, marriage falling apart and deeply in debt. In order to stay one foot ahead of the tallyman, Joe jumped into a Dodge van and hit the road, taking me and a few other newbies along on a mad dash across North America and beyond. Taking any gig he could get.
I kept a daily diary of the entire journey. Beginning on February 23, 1982, the day I got the phone call asking me to audition for Joe. Twenty-eight months later on Saturday May 12, 1984, the final entry details my last day on tour with the Project.
The very next morning Aerosmith would reunite for the first time, and go on to become America’s most successful hard rock band. Against a backdrop of early 80’s pop culture, the Project and I encounter groupies, Chicken McNuggets, the border patrol, VCRs, Bolivars, TV stars, ATMs and something called Buffalo Wings all for the very first time.
We tour three countries in three days, go to bizarre parties, get busted in Disneyland, hook up with Playboy Bunnies, get arrested in Florida, destroy hotels, watch ourselves on MTV, count our change for food, laugh our butts off and rock the house every night. This is a fast moving, authentic account written as it went down all around me. Inside scoops, weird stories, salacious scandals and hundreds of astounding tales." - COWBOY MACH BELL
Thanks Mach, looking forward to the read!