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Aerosmith Readies Honkin' New Blues Set

The long expected blues album from veteran rock act Aerosmith will finally arrive later this month.

“Honkin’ on Bobo,” due March 30 via Columbia, finds the band paying homage to its influences as it covers a host of blues classics. The 12-track set also includes one new Aerosmith song, “The Grind.”

“We’re not making an album for blues purists, we’re not making an album to educate people in the blues, we’re not making an album to try and copy Muddy Waters,” guitarist Joe Perry told Billboard.com last year. “What we’re doing is taking songs that when we heard them made the hair on the back of our neck stand up and playing them the way we feel.”

Much of the album was recorded in Perry’s home basement studio. Additional tracking was done at singer Steven Tyler’s studio, the Bryer Patch, with mixing undertaken at the new Aerosmith-owned Pandora’s Box studio in the Boston area.

Among the classics the band takes on are Waters’ “I’m Ready,” Little Walter’s “Temperature,” Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Eyesight to the Blind,” Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Got To Move” and Bo Diddley’s “Road Runner.”

Also covered is “Stop Messin’ Around,” an early Fleetwood Mac track. “We’re having a good time doing it,” Perry said of the song while the band was in the midst of recording. “And I’m not letting anything go out that doesn’t get me off, like, through and through. And that’s my own, selfish take on it. But, then, that’s how I’ve been, that’s how I was in 1975.”

Tyler and Perry produced “Honkin’ on Bobo” with Jack Douglas, who shepherded the Aerosmith classics “Toys in the Attic” (1975) and “Rocks” (1976). Marti Frederiksen, who produced the band’s 2001 set “Just Push Play,” and has worked with such diverse artists as Jonny Lang, Eminem and Pink, provided additional production.

“We didn’t record a blues album, we recorded an Aerosmith album,” Tyler said in a statement. “Everything Aerosmith has ever done has been influenced by the blues. This time around, we just brought the influence a little closer to the surface.”

In advance of the new album, Aerosmith will hit the road next week on a 40-city tour with Cheap Trick. The trek kicks off March 11 in Lubbock, Texas and runs through late June.

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