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Joe Perry explains how hearing Van Halen led to his break from Aerosmith

ABC/Crag Sjodin

Joe Perry was more than impressed the first time he heard Van Halen. In fact, in an interview with Guitar World, the Aerosmith guitarist reveals how hearing Van Halen for the first time contributed to his realization he needed a break from his band.

Perry left Aerosmith midway through the recording of their 1979 album Night in the Ruts because he was dealing with personal issues and needed to focus on himself. But, he says, “I also felt we needed to be more open to new ideas.”

“We were rolling into the ’80s, and I still remember hearing the first Van Halen record and f****** loving it,” Perry shares. “Eddie’s guitar playing was just so incredible; he turned guitar on its f****** ear and was doing stuff that I’d never heard before. I knew it was time for a break because new ideas were needed.”

He adds, “But we also needed to re-adjust our sights and learn to get along again. I remember saying, ‘We’re not ready for the ’80s.’ I don’t know why I said that; it was just a vibe or a feeling I had.”

Night in the Ruts was eventually released and Perry was still on it, despite his leaving. And he even has some good things to say about the album.

Perry says, “That record was a nightmare. But I have to say, it features some of the best playing Aerosmith has ever done in the studio.”

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