Athletes & Celebrities

Joe Perry: Old-School Ass Kicker

You’d never guess, but Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry is actually a fitness nut who always ate discriminately and got sober with the help of exercise.

Joe Perry in concert

M&F: What’s changed in your diet over the years? What’s remained the same?

JP: I think the one thing that hasn’t changed, and was the first thing that I became hip to, was diet, and that’s the most important thing. Back in the hippie days, organic food was such an underground thing. But I went out of my way to eat food that didn’t have preservatives as much as possible.

Do you have a background in fitness or sports?

When I got sober in the early ’80s, I started jogging again. I found out that my father was into jogging; my mother, who was a gym teacher, mentioned it to me. Physical fitness was always part of the family.

Has health and fitness been an aid to your sobriety?

At the beginning I think it was one of those things that helped me take up some of that time during the day. It became kind of like replacing one addiction with another, but even at that young age of 33 or 34, I felt like I was five years younger, if you can imagine that.

Gene Simmons declared that rock ’n’ roll is dead. Do you agree or disagree?

I would put it a little differently. I wouldn’t say rock is dead, because I see a lot of young fans who are really interested in classic rock, but the kind of rock ’n’ roll that we like, where people sold millions of records and looked like rock stars (is gone). It’s not the most popular thing right now, so it’s kind of the end of an era, but that kind of excitement still exists.

Perry’s new book, Rocks (Simon & Schuster), details his time with Aerosmith.

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