Aerosmith has been going strong for decades, but the legendary rock band actually traces its roots back to New Hampshire.
Lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry met in Sunapee, where they spent their childhood summers, and the rest is rock history.
On Saturday, the Sunapee Historical Society will be transformed into a shrine of sorts for the band when it hosts Aerosmith History Day.
Memorabilia spanning the band’s nearly 50-year career will be on display.
Jonathan Robinson is a Sunapee resident, and he’s helping to organize the event. He also may be New Hampshire’s biggest Aerosmith fan.
He joined NHPR’s Morning Edition.
So, are you the biggest Aerosmith fan in the Granite State?
Well, that might be a bit of hyperbole, but I certainly have loved them for most of my life, as a matter of fact.
How did you get into collecting Aerosmith memorabilia?
Back in 1974, I was a counselor in training at Camp Coniston in nearby Croydon and got turned onto them like everyone else at the time with the song “Dream On.” I was instantly smitten and wanted to find out everything I could about these guys and it started a lifelong love affair with this band. So I started collecting a lot of archives on the band, everything that was printed, all the great rock magazines at the time. And it just developed and grew over the years to the point now where it’s inarguably the largest collection of its kind in the world; some 54 years of clippings, articles, interviews, magazine covers. If you put it all on bulletin board, it’s over three football fields long. And we’ll do what we can to compress it into a smaller type of display at the Sunapee Historical Society.
What are you going to have on display? It’s your collection, and you’re adding collections from other people?
We’ve got tour shirts, tour band and crew jackets, tour programs, backstage passes; all sorts of things that are going to be up and available to be seen. So there’s a lot more than just the printed material. One of the exhibitors of course is Raymond Tabano. He was the band’s original rhythm guitarist when they first got started in 1970. He was replaced by Brad Whitford, who’s been in the band since the summer of 1971. He left for two years and came back and in 1973, came as the tour merchandising director, and he stayed on through 1979, so he’s got squirreled away all this great stuff that was available to purchase back on the Aerosmith tours back in their first heyday.
Right, there was the ’70s heyday. They came back in the ‘80s and had a whole second era, and another era in the ‘90s and into the 2000s. So do you have memorabilia from each of those periods of the band?
Absolutely. Everything from the first things of when they were another band prior to Aerosmith; ads, interviews, things like that from those earlier bands, all the way right up to the present day.
What are some of your favorite pieces you’re going to have?
We’ve got some really nice things we picked up Thursday morning from one of the exhibitors who won’t be here until Saturday morning, so we got his stuff a little bit early so we could put it in there. He’s got some amazing things: record promo pieces, some one-of-a-kind pieces signed by the band. These are things people are going to take note of for sure.
So this has been a chance for you to meet some other hardcore collectors, right?
No question. And I knew this would be great exhibit with my collection alone. The old saying I guess is nothing succeeds like excess. So I thought for sure it would be a great opportunity to bring these other fellows in because what they would be able to augment the display with stuff that would just make people drop their jaws when they walk into the place. It’s really going to surprise a lot of people.
One last question – what’s your favorite Aerosmith song?
I think probably ‘Toys in the Attic’ is one of my favorites because it was the first song I heard them play live at my first concert.