Aerosmith rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford lived in Charlotte for five years, but it’s safe to say the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer kept a low profile. He socialized with friends in NASCAR and made occasional guest appearances on stage with peers like Slash.
“My wife at the time was born and raised in Charlotte. We ended up there and started to raise a family there,” says Whitford, who now lives in Nashville – where he and Ted Nugent guitarist Derek St. Holmes revived their long-dormant side project Whitford/St. Holmes.
The duo released its self-titled debut album way back in 1981. Then, in a sense, they were never heard from again. Until now.
Whitford/St. Holmes’ new album, “Reunion,” picks up where the last one left off 35 years ago. The tour brings the group – which includes Tesla’s Troy Luccketta on drums, Nashville bassist Chopper Anderson, and touring Aerosmith keyboardist Buck Johnson – to Neighborhood Theatre on Tuesday.
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“I never really planned on it,” Whitford says of reuniting with St. Holmes. “Maybe if the circumstances were right. That’s why it got easy; we ended up being neighbors.”
It’s no secret that Nashville isn’t just for country musicians anymore.
“It’s really becoming the music capital,” Whitford says. “I think there’s a lot of reasons that make it attractive: outstanding beauty, real estate and certainly the culture.”
The locale doesn’t mean the old pals, whose bands toured together in the ’70s, have gone country either. Rock fans will be pleased that “Reunion” is a full-on classic rock throwback with edge and grit.
“It hits you like a hammer,” Whitford says of rock ’n’ roll, which he discovered through his brother in the ’60s. “Rock ’n’ roll has supposedly died a number of times. That isn’t happening. It’s another art form – a twist on the classic American art form, the blues – and judging by the audiences that come see us, rock ’n’ roll is alive and well. Like other forms of music, it goes through phases.”
“Reunion” was a different experience for Whitford.
“I ended up writing a whole lot of lyrics,” says the 64-year-old guitarist, who was encouraged by his musical partner. “I couldn’t have done it without his help, and the way he adapts the lyrics to the songs is quite unique. It’s one of those good writing combinations.”
He calls the intimate club tour “refreshing.”
“The closer you are to your audience really has a profound effect on how you experience the whole thing,” he says.
That said, he’ll be back in arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters by fall, when Aerosmith heads to South America. Despite Steven Tyler’s dip into country, Whitford’s side project, and Joe Perry’s solo work, that train keeps on rolling.
“We’re planning on touring next year,” says Whitford, who seems reinvigorated by his current project. “It definitely brings new life back to it for sure. To take a breather. It’s like going on a musical vacation.”
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.
Details: 704-942-7997; www.neighborhoodtheatre.com