Guitar Player’s Ultimate Musician’s Camp at Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp had its share of surprises—with rock stars roaming the halls and sitting in with campers and so on—but perhaps the biggest surprise was the one we dropped on an unsuspecting Joe Perry: His getting the GP Certified Legend Award for 2014.
Perry has graced our cover twice—in March 1979 (Aerosmith) and May 2005 (for his solo album)—and his gritty riffs have left a huge imprint on rock music (Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time with 150+ million albums sold worldwide), popular culture (the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001), and the art of songwriting (Perry and co-writer Steven Tyler entered the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013). But the main reason Perry has joined Les Paul, Duane Eddy, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, James Burton, and other guitar icons as a GP Certified Legend (we copped the title from the term Chet Atkins used to qualify serious players) is because he has an individual, identifiable, and inspiring style of playing guitar. I think GP Associate Editor Matt Blackett said it best when he profiled Perry a couple of years back.
“There are those who would dismiss Perry as a guy who ‘pretty much just plays pentatonics,’” wrote Blackett. “There are plenty of solos where it looks like that’s exactly what he’s doing. Then, you realize how difficult those licks are to duplicate. The main reason for that is, once again, rhythmic. How and where Perry works those box shapes is unique and singular. When he mixes in his trademark chromaticism and Stax-approved doublestops, forget about it. You can’t touch it.”
The always cool Perry—who had just performed with 14 Fantasy Camp bands that day, as well as posing for photos and signing autographs—seemed to be quietly touched by the award presentation, which occurred privately with myself, GP publisher Joe Perry (yeah, how funny is that—we call “our” Joe, the “real” Joe Perry and the rock star Joe Perry, the “other” Joe Perry), GP social-networking editor Jennifer Bergeron, Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp founder David Fishof, and various camp staff in attendance.
“It’s very nice of Guitar Player to do this for me,” he said. “I really appreciate this. It’s an honor.”
Scoop: There will be one more recipient of a GP Certified Legend Award in 2014. It’s kind of a “class” this year. I don’t want to leak the news now, of course, but please stay tuned for the announcement.