Aerosmith: Tom Hamilton Interview 2019 – Talks Bass, Vegas Residency, Old School

Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton says hello from Las Vegas, where his multi-platinum-selling band are delivering the most ambitious show of their almost-50-year career.

An excerpt from the interview can be found below. You can read the entire interview @ this location.


How much fun is the residency in Las Vegas, Tom?

Tom Hamilton: I can really feel myself and the band growing into this way of gigging. It’s starting to feel like home. Plus, I love the fact that we can have this monstrous production. I’ve always been into the eye-candy aspect of rock shows. I have absolutely no worries about the production distracting the audience from the music.

What gear are you using these days?

Tom: Since I’m in a band with two guitar players it’s important that I have a clear, punchy, percussive sound. The Gallien Krueger amps I’ve been using for a long time now make it easy for me to get that sound. I need amps that are relatively simple to use without a lot of redundant controls. Obviously, the cabinets need to be part of the formula, as well. I use primarily G&L ASAT basses. They remind me of my favorite bass of all time – my early-60s stack pot Jazz. It’s the one I used to record ‘Sweet Emotion’ and all the rest of the Toys In The Attic and Rocks albums.

Why choose G&L for your signature bass?

Tom: G&L was one of Leo Fender’s companies, so a lot of his viewpoint on sound comes through. I like active basses, and the neck on the ASAT is slender like a Jazz. All of the G&L stuff is such high quality, and they look really cool. I like the way that company likes to stick to its mission: I don’t feel them trying to expand and cash in. I went to the factory one day, and they have Leo’s office exactly as it was when he spent his last day there. They say a cluttered room can be the sign of a creative mind – and that definitely describes his workspace.

Which album from the Aerosmith back catalog are you most proud of?

Tom: Obviously, I’m proud of Toys In The Attic and Rocks. I was able to take my playing up a notch and also kick some ideas into the songwriting department. But I also feel good about my playing and the sound I was able to get on the Pump album. I used my early Music Man for most of that album except for the ballad, ‘What It Takes’, where I used a Hofner.

Talk us through ‘Sweet Emotion’, one of the most recognizable bass-lines in rock

Tom: It’s such a simple little thing. There’s no weird mysterious elements to it that make it like something you find at the top of a mountain. It’s the one, the third, the fourth, the minor seventh and the octave. Not to encourage bad behavior, but I probably snuck outside, inhaled something and then started grinding away. I was probably doing some endurance-based exercise and got the muscles all warmed up and the thing just floated by. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to make sure I remembered it. I knew I loved the way it felt to hear it, so I kept at it and soon enough I picked up a guitar and thought up a couple of simple things to go with it until I had enough to show to the band. We found ourselves with an extra day when we were recording Toys In The Attic and our producer, Jack Douglas, helped me to get everyone else to play along. By the end of the day we had an arrangement, cut it and then a month later I heard it with Steven’s vocal on it.

Read the entire interview @ this location.