I've been thinking a lot about Aerosmith lately, which is something I never expected to do. Smash lent me their autobiography, Walk This Way, and I've been tearing through it. Woven through all the salacious Toxic Twins-type tales is a vivid picture of the music industry in the '70s.
Strange things could happen. For example, in 1973 you might have seen Aerosmith opening for the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The jazz fusion nerds got a rude awakening, apparently. Recalls photographer Laura Kaufman, after Aerosmith's set "[John] McLaughlin came out in his white clothes, burning incense, and he looks at the crowd with great sympathy and asks for a moment of silence. Joe Perry, standing next to me in the wings, said, 'I guess he figures after an hour of us, they need it.'"
Or in 1979, you could have been flipping through Rolling Stone and read the following: "Aerosmith is a dinosaur among bands, the last of a generation of rock 'n' rollers being edged out by more streamlined competition like Boston, Foreigner, and Fleetwood Mac." You know, cutting-edge New Wave bands like those.