Joe Perry - Sweetzerland Manifesto

by Kevin Wierzbicki

While he can sing, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is not known for his vocal abilities, and here he has picked the perfect singers to help him out on this set of mostly self-penned and co-written tunes: Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, David Johansen of New York Dolls fame and English singer Terry Reid. The set begins with an instrumental though, the appropriately-titled "Rumble in the Jungle." The cut has a tribal beat, wordless ritual chanting and sound effects added to Perry's shrieking guitar, giving the impression that some type of less-than-friendly confrontation is about to happen. Reid and Johansen each get three turns behind the mic, Reid on rockers "I'll Do Happiness, "Sick & Tired" and "Won't Let Me Go," which has an ominous tone that indicates the song is about fighting an addiction, and Johansen on the slow and eerie "I Wanna Roll," the Muddy Waters-recalling "Haberdasher Blues" and the likewise bluesy "I'm Going Crazy." Zander sings on only one song, the frenetic "Aye, Aye, Aye," where he shows he's as comfortable with a bluesy howl as he is with the sparkling power pop vocals he's known for. Perry's guitar work is precise and never overly-showy throughout; he wisely lets his talented guest singers take the spotlight. Perry does sing on one cut, a cover of Barry McGuire's Vietnam War-era protest song "Eve of Destruction," which also features actor Johnny Depp on drums. Other guests include second generation musicians Zak Starkey, who is Ringo Starr's son, and Perry's own kids, Tony and Roman. Sweetzerland Manifesto is by far the best of Perry's solo work.

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Joe Perry - Sweetzerland Manifesto

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