After more than five decades and over 150 million albums sold, Aerosmith has announced it will embark on its last tour later this year. “It’s not goodbye, it’s PEACE OUT,” the band said in a statement. “Get ready and walk this way, you’re going to get the best show of our lives.”

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, Aerosmith had humble beginnings and can trace its earliest days to a tiny, roach-ridden apartment in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. Here’s how Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford, and Joey Kramer formed one of the nation’s most successful rock bands.

“Kind of Loud and Obnoxious”

joe perry and steven tyler stand back to back in front of a poster, perry is wearing a cow print suit jacket and black pants, tyler is wearing a red jacket with gold accents and has one arm thrust over his head in the arm
Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, circa 1990
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Tyler and Perry first met in the summer of 1966 while Perry was working part-time at a hamburger restaurant on the harbor in Sunapee, New Hampshire. Tyler, then still going by his birth name Steven Tallarico, visited with members of his rock band Chain Reaction, and they trashed the place.

“They were kind of loud and obnoxious and kind of big fish in a small pond, so to speak,” Perry told “They’re not rock stars yet, but they’re playing the part, and they made a mess of the table and had a food fight, and I ended up having to clean up after it.”

Three years later, in August 1969, Tyler saw Perry again when he and a friend, future Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer, met a drug dealer at a nightclub in Sunapee called The Barn. Perry was performing there as part of his Jam Band trio, with future Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton.

Perry said the Jam Band didn’t particularly care if their guitars were in tune, and Hamilton said it didn’t matter to them “whether the notes were right,” according to an Aerosmith biography by Richard Bienstock. All they cared about was “playing loud and fast,” Hamilton said, and that energy made a strong impression with Tyler.

“When I first saw these guys, they were terrible,” Tyler said, according to Bienstock. “They weren’t in tune, and they weren’t in time, but they did [Peter Green’s] ‘Rattlesnake Shake,’ and there was a f––ing energy that all the bands I’d been in before couldn’t do ever. What was shining through was the core of Aerosmith.”

Renting the “Aerosmith Apartment”

Although Tyler and Perry briefly discussed the idea of forming a band together some day, that didn’t come to fruition for another year. Tyler had been living in Yonkers, New York, and started to feel burnt out by the grueling club circuit scene with Chain Reaction, for which he was both playing drums and providing backup vocals.

“I remember being at the end of my rope,” Tyler said, according to Bienstock. “I was drumming, and [one night] I jumped over the drum set and really got into a fistfight with the guitar player. Things just weren’t happening. I split, packed my suitcase, and headed up to New Hampshire, where Joe was playing in his band.”

Although they toured frequently, Perry and Hamilton were living in Boston, renting a roach-ridden two-bedroom apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue, now known as the “Aerosmith Apartment.” “Every room turned into a party room,” Perry said in his 2014 memoir Rocks, and the narrow hallway was so filled with amps and equipment that people had to walk sideways to enter the bathroom.

steven tyler, wearing a fur coat and sunglasses, holds a street sign for 1325 commonwealth avenue
Steven Tyler holds a sign for the band’s old apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston on November 5, 2012.
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In October 1970, Perry and Hamilton took a “hippie van” to Sunapee for a party at a lake house, where they ran into Tyler again, according to Rocks. When Tyler heard about their place in Boston and that they were trying to get a band together, he wanted to audition but insisted he didn’t want to play drums and would only consider a frontman and lead vocalist spot.

“At the time he was playing drums and singing, and he wasn’t satisfied with that,” Perry said, according to Bienstock. “Steven felt like getting up there and shaking his ass, singing.” Tyler moved into the Boston apartment, and the duo found Perry’s energy and penchant for mayhem mixed well with Tyler’s perfectionism and interest in arrangements.

“Steven was very taken with Joe’s fire,” Hamilton said, according to Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith by Stephen Davis. “It was a case of two very kindred spirits getting together, and all you could do was stand there and watch in awe.”

Finalizing the Band

brad whitford, tom hamilton, steven tyler, joey kramer, and joe perry perform on stage
Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer, and Joe Perry perform as Aerosmith in November 1978 in Los Angeles.
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Tyler insisted on bringing his childhood friend Ray Tabano into the band as a second guitarist. Perry, accustomed to a power trio format, was reluctant but agreed as a compromise after Tyler, who was not particularly impressed with Hamilton’s musical skills, agreed to let Hamilton stay on as bass player, according to Bienstock.

The band operated out of Perry’s Commonwealth Avenue apartment during its early days, where they wrote music, rehearsed, and got high while watching reruns of The Three Stooges. Kramer came aboard as drummer, and Brad Whitford replaced Tabano as guitarist by 1971.

It was Kramer who came up with the name Aerosmith, a phrase he used to write on the pages of his textbooks in high school. He couldn’t remember how he came up with it, but he thought it would be a cool name for a rock band one day, according to Rolling Stone.

“No way,” Tyler initially thought, according to the magazine. “That was just some book that they made you read in high school,” mistaking it for the classic Sinclair Lewis novel Arrowsmith (1925). When Kramer corrected them that it had nothing to do with that book—and it was spelled a-e-r-o-smith—the other bandmates reluctantly came around to the name.

After finalizing their lineup in 1971, the band started generating some success through live shows and released its debut album Aerosmith in 1973, with the single “Dream On” reaching the Billboard charts. That marked the start of a string of multiplatinum albums including Get Your Wings (1974), Toys in the Attic (1975), and Rocks (1976).

As of Monday when Aerosmith announced its worldwide farewell tour, the band has been playing together for more than 50 years and has released 15 studio albums. Aerosmith is estimated to have sold more than 150 million records worldwide and have had 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, including “Sweet Emotion,” “Walk This Way,” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”

Aerosmith’s final tour, called “The Peace Out Tour,” will start on September 2 and run through January 2024, with the Black Crowes joining them as special guests. Kramer will not participate due to family and health concerns, so John Douglas will play in his place. Tour dates and other information can be found on Aerosmith’s official website.

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Colin McEvoy
Senior News Editor,

Colin McEvoy joined the staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy. He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.