Aerosmith’s Joe Perry Compares COVID-19 to a World War
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry didn’t mince words when addressing the coronavirus’ effect on society.
"I would say this is as close to a world war as you could get, in a lot of ways," Perry said during a conversation with Boston radio station WBUR. "If you tick off the boxes, it is a world war. Basically, it has shut down the touring business for an indefinite period of time."
Aerosmith had been scheduled to resume their Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency on May 20 before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the live-event industry to a halt. While Perry is understandably disappointed that his band had to cancel shows, the silver lining is that he's been spending more time with family.
“As soon as I realized we weren’t gonna be playing for at least months, if not a year, it was almost like I felt like I was on vacation for the first time in 30 years," he explained. "I didn’t have to think [when I got home], ‘Well, I don’t need to unpack my bags because I’m leaving in a week.’”
Although the guitarist is looking forward to getting back onstage, the safety of Aerosmith fans is his top concern.
"If they somehow wanted to open the shows — and I doubt they would do it — we wouldn't push our luck," Perry said. "We also feel like we don't want to be the ones responsible, the ones to say to people, 'It's okay to come in. Take your chances. Wear masks. Come in and rock out!'
"I don't see 5,000 people in an arena or theater. It's too contagious. It doesn't take much to pass it from one place to another. It would take a lot to get me on a plane to Vegas at this point."
Naturally, Perry is also thinking of his own safety, as well as his bandmates'.
“We’re pretty healthy as far as 70-year-olds go,” Perry declared. “Whatever we do onstage, with Steven [Tyler], as physical as he is, that stuff doesn’t bother us, but it definitely puts more pressure on your immune system, and we’re in that [danger] zone.”
Even though Aerosmith’s members don’t have any serious underlying health issues, Perry noted they’ve “definitely lived hard lives": “The things that you’ve done 20 or 30 years ago, like smoking - you smoke for 10 years and still they can see signs in your arteries and lungs.”
For now, Perry and his band just have to isolate and wait. Like most people, they hope that society can safely return to normal soon. Aerosmith still have summer tour dates scheduled in Europe, as well as a homecoming performance at Fenway Park in Boston on Sept. 18. Determining whether these shows go ahead will be in the hands of “the powers that be." "If they say we can’t do the shows," he said, "that’s when they’d be canned.”