The band members in Canada’s longest running Aerosmith tribute have been doing their show a long time. Their unique and colourful history dates back to the 1990s and no matter how they look at it, it’s a real labour of love. Fans will see that passion in person when the band visits the Olde Walkerville Theatre on Saturday, March 24.
“When the curtain opens and we’re behind it, there’s nothing quite like it,” says drummer Paul Gayne Kramer in a YQG Rocks interview. “It’s probably what real heavy drugs feel like because it’s a heavy rush. It’s like WOW for 90 minutes straight. It never goes away, but when it does, I guess you gotta’ stop doing it. We’ve been going on 28 years now and it’s still just as fun now as it was back then.”
The key for any tribute to be taken seriously is its commitment to reproducing the original experience as people would remember it. That can include costumes, movements and the music. Aeroforce provides a reliable representation of the original Aerosmith while somehow keeping a few things unique.
“We don’t strive to make our costumes as accurate anymore, they just need to have that unique vibe that makes Aerosmith who they are,” he explains. “We have some clearly identifiable pieces, like Joe Perry’s jacket or Steven Tyler’s pants, but it’s mostly a hybrid collection of looks and they’re all over the top. Obviously, we’ve got a collection of hats. We actually have a case just to carry the hats (laughs) and we have a lot of cases!”
Gayne says another part of the complete Aerosmith experience is making sure that the lead singer of the band looks and sounds like the original Steven Tyler. He’s confident “Tyler” Bob Gregory fits the bill.
“When you see Tyler Bob on stage you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about – it’s the whole package,” he adds. “You can’t be an Aerosmith Tribute band if you don’t have the Steven Tyler piece first and foremost. If you don’t have that guy, then it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Steven is the only member of the band that has actually seen us play live – that goes back many years, but he has seen us. You know how hard it is to find someone that can look and sing like that guy? It’s damn near impossible.”
Aeroforce is well-known in the band’s fanbase as well. They’ve performed for band functions and have even opened for famous 70s rockers Night Ranger and REO Speedwagon. That unique Aerosmith inner circle has given the band some street cred and even a few opportunities that don’t come around every day.
“I remember one night in Montreal that we did the after-show party for,” he remembers. “It was during the time when the band was avoiding booze and drugs, so their security was really strict. The band was going to come to the after show, but because they couldn’t get through the crowd and have an alcohol-free zone, they were told not to come. Hold on, Aerosmith wants to come down and you’re not going to let them in? That’s basically what happened, but the place was crawling with all of their crew, people wearing laminates all over the place – even Jackyl, the opening band, showed up. That’s as close as we got to having Aerosmith join us for a show.”
The music is another key factor Aeroforce have to deal with. Not only do they have to accurately reproduce the 70s version of the band, but all eras and sounds of the band.
“Many years ago when we started, all you had to do was show up with your drum set. They put the mics on it, you wore a fancy costume, twirled a few drumsticks and everyone treated you like a rock star,” he said about playing the music. “Now you have to be a computer scientist to do this. There are tracks, sequences and God knows what else. This thing we do is actually a small version of the Aerosmith show. We can’t do “Dude Looks like a Lady” if we don’t have the big horn section; we can’t play “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” if we don’t have the orchestrations; and we can’t play “Janie’s Got A Gun” without the gun. It’s gotten a lot harder and a lot more expensive to reproduce the show – even Aerosmith has a sixth man when they play live, so it’s not as easy as they might make it look.”
Band members are “Tyler” Bob Gregory, Lou Perry, Paul G. Kramer, Darryl Hamilton and Genero Scott Whitford.
Check out Aeroforce live at the Olde Walkerville Theatre Saturday, March 24. Tickets start at $25 and are available online. Proceeds from the show are going to LaSalle Hangout for Youth.
The show is presented by The Bad Examples Riding Club. The club has has presented an annual concert at the Olde Walkerville Theatre to benefit a charity of their choice creating change and benefiting youth in our community. Previously, the Bad Examples has assisted in re-building the Kiwanis Sunshine Camp, and making a permanent “home” possible for the LaSalle Hangout for Youth. The Bad Examples continue to create a positive change in our community by benefiting many great organizations and always willing to lend a hand to anyone who may need it.