Brad Whitford

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Brad Whitford
Whitford performing with Aerosmith in 2010
Background information
Birth nameBradley Ernest Whitford
Born (1952-02-23) February 23, 1952 (age 68)
Winchester, Massachusetts
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1970–present
Associated acts Aerosmith, The Joe Perry Project, Experience Hendrix, Whitford/St. Holmes
Website Aerosmith official site

Bradley Ernest Whitford (born February 23, 1952) [1] [2] is an American musician who is best known for serving as the rhythm and co-lead guitarist for the hard rock band Aerosmith. He has also worked as a songwriter for the group, co-composing well-received tracks such as 1976's "Last Child". [3]



Whitford graduated from Reading Memorial High School in 1970. After attending the Berklee College of Music, Whitford played in local bands Cymbals of Resistance, Teapot Dome, Earth, Inc., and finally a band called Justin Thyme before joining Aerosmith in 1971, replacing original guitarist Ray Tabano. [4] [5] Aerosmith would go on to be one of the most successful bands of the 1970s. However, following a string of less successful albums in the late 1970s, Whitford left the band in 1981 to work on his own project with singer Derek St. Holmes, simply called Whitford/St. Holmes. [5] The project was dissolved after a sole self-titled album was released in 1981 (However, Whitford/St. Holmes reunited for a 2015 tour. A follow up CD titled "REUNION" was sold at these shows).

Whitford briefly toured with the Joe Perry Project, featuring former Aerosmith bandmate Joe Perry, before both Perry and Whitford rejoined Aerosmith in 1984. [1] [2] In the mid-late 1980s, all band members completed drug rehabilitation, including Whitford, who completed programs to combat his alcohol abuse. Whitford remains sober to this day and continues to be an active member in Aerosmith.

Whitford also served as a producer for a well-known Boston band, the Neighborhoods, who were led by a rabid Aerosmith fan, David Minehan. When, in 1994, Whitford was forced to leave unexpectedly in the middle of an Asian tour due to family illness, Minehan was flown to Japan where he performed in Whitford's place for several days until Whitford returned.

Whitford missed the start of Aerosmith's 2009 summer tour after requiring surgery as a result of a head injury sustained while getting out of his Ferrari, joining the tour after a month. [6] [7]

Whitford performing with Whitford/St. Holmes in St. Charles, Illinois on November 13, 2015 Brad Whitford 2015.jpg
Whitford performing with Whitford/St. Holmes in St. Charles, Illinois on November 13, 2015

In 2010, Whitford was announced as one of the guitarists to take part in the Experience Hendrix tour, playing songs performed and inspired by Jimi Hendrix along with other musicians such as Joe Satriani, Sacred Steel, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ernie Isley, Living Colour, Hubert Sumlin, Chris Layton, and bassist Billy Cox. [8]

Along with fellow Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, Whitford was included in the Guitar World book The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2007. [9]

In November 2015, Whitford/St. Holmes reunited for a 10 show tour.

Musical contributions and style

While Joe Perry is Aerosmith's better known guitarist and the band's principal songwriter with Steven Tyler, Whitford has made significant contributions to the band's repertoire over the years. This includes co-writing Aerosmith's hit "Last Child" as well as some of Aerosmith's heaviest songs: "Nobody's Fault" and "Round and Round", and playing lead guitar on "Sick as a Dog" and "Back In the Saddle" (on which Perry plays six string bass), "Last Child", and on the ballads "You See Me Crying" and "Home Tonight" He also plays co-lead with Joe Perry on songs such as "Train Kept A-Rollin", "Lord of the Thighs" and "Love in an Elevator". The version of "Lord of the Thighs" on their 1978 live album Live! Bootleg in particular is perhaps his most famous soloing moment. When Aerosmith made their comeback in the late 1980s, Whitford continued to co-write tracks such as "Permanent Vacation" and "Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man", and plays occasional lead guitar on some more recent tracks as well as during many live performances.

Concerning his lesser role in the band's songwriting process, Whitford has said, "I don't consider myself a terribly prolific writer. I can write music with other people if they're better songwriters than I am. I really can't create a song. It's very difficult to do. That's why the people that can do it are very few and far between. I'm certainly not that type of a guy. More of a guitar player, more of the kind of [guy] who comes up with enough riffs and ideas to write a song. But to write lyrics and come up with a melody for it, it won't happen." [10]

Said Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler of the two guitarists, "Joe is self-taught and his playing comes from raw emotion. Not that Brad's doesn't, but his style is more schooled."

Slash, lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses cites Whitford as one of his heaviest influences, stating: "I identified with Joe Perry's image, both soundwise and visually....but I was also totally into Brad Whitford's guitar solos, and he had a more direct influence on the way I play than anybody realizes." [11]

Aerosmith songs where Brad Whitford plays lead guitar

Brad Whitford plays lead guitar, co-leads, or plays the guitar solo on the following Aerosmith songs

  1. "Dream On" from Aerosmith
  2. "Mama Kin" from Aerosmith
  3. "One Way Street" (co-lead) from Aerosmith
  4. "Same Old Song and Dance" (co-lead, during live performances) from Get Your Wings
  5. "Lord of the Thighs" (lead on album, co-lead, during live performances) from Get Your Wings
  6. "Train Kept A-Rollin'" (co-lead, during live performances) from Get Your Wings
  7. "Round and Round" from Toys in the Attic
  8. "You See Me Crying" from Toys in the Attic
  9. "Back in the Saddle" from Rocks
  10. "Last Child" from Rocks
  11. "Sick as a Dog" (lead guitar and first solo only) from Rocks
  12. "Nobody's Fault" from Rocks
  13. "Home Tonight" from Rocks
  14. "Kings and Queens" from Draw the Line
  15. "The Hand that Feeds" from Draw the Line
  16. "Milk Cow Blues" (co-lead and first guitar solo) from Draw the Line
  17. "Shela" (co-lead) from Done with Mirrors
  18. "The Hop" (co-lead) from Done with Mirrors
  19. "Hearts Done Time" (co-lead) from Permanent Vacation
  20. "Girl Keeps Coming Apart" from Permanent Vacation
  21. "Permanent Vacation" from Permanent Vacation
  22. "The Movie" from Permanent Vacation
  23. "Love in an Elevator" (co-lead) from Pump
  24. "Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man" from Pump
  25. "Krawhitham" from Pandora's Box
  26. "Fever" from Get a Grip
  27. "Flesh" (second guitar solo) from Get a Grip
  28. "Walk on Down" (last solo during live performances only) from Get a Grip
  29. "Gotta Love It" (first guitar solo) from Get a Grip
  30. "Nine Lives" from Nine Lives
  31. "Jaded" (during live performances) from Just Push Play
  32. "Stop Messin' Around" (first guitar solo) from Honkin' on Bobo
  33. "Beautiful" from Music from Another Dimension
  34. "Street Jesus" (co-lead and first guitar solo) from Music from Another Dimension
  35. "Can't Stop Lovin' You" from Music from Another Dimension

Aerosmith songs co-written by Whitford

The following Aerosmith songs have a co-writing credit given to Brad Whitford

  1. "Round and Round" from Toys in the Attic
  2. "Last Child" from Rocks
  3. "Nobody's Fault" from Rocks
  4. "Kings and Queens" from Draw the Line
  5. "The Hand That Feeds" from Draw the Line
  6. "Shela" from Done with Mirrors
  7. "The Hop" from Done with Mirrors
  8. "Permanent Vacation" from Permanent Vacation
  9. "The Movie" from Permanent Vacation
  10. "Hoodoo/ Voodoo Medicine Man" from Pump
  11. "Krawhitham" from Pandora's Box
  12. "Soul Saver" from Pandora's Box
  13. "Circle Jerk" from Pandora's Box
  14. "Beautiful" from Music from Another Dimension!
  15. "Street Jesus" from Music from Another Dimension!
  16. "Lover Alot" from Music from Another Dimension!
  17. "Can't Stop Lovin' You" from Music from Another Dimension!


At current performances, Whitford can be seen playing a wide array of solid-body guitars, some including Floyd Rose locking tremolos: Gretschs, several Floyd Rose Discovery Series guitars, a Shoreline Gold painted (Stratocaster style) Melancon Pro Artist, a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop along with a wide variety of Fender Stratocasters. Whitford continues to tour with vintage Fender Stratocasters and Gibson Les Pauls for Aerosmith concerts as well as smaller gigs. [12]

Meanwhile, Aerosmith's original heyday in the late 1970s saw both Whitford and co-guitarist Joe Perry arm themselves with aggressive-looking guitars from BC Rich (Whitford favored an unpainted BC Rich Eagle, while Perry often played an alien-looking red BC Rich Bich).

On the amplifier front, Whitford has created his own amplifier company - 3 Monkeys Amplification and tours with many of their products. Furthermore, he also uses Paul Reed Smith amps. Additionally, Whitford has used a myriad of pedals throughout his career including many boutique ones. [13]

Guest appearances

Related Research Articles

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The Joe Perry Project is an American rock band formed by Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry. Perry formed the band shortly before his departure from Aerosmith in 1979. The Joe Perry Project signed a record deal almost immediately after Perry's exit from the band with Aerosmith's label, Columbia Records, who were disappointed with the chaos in the Aerosmith camp and hoping to maneuver Perry back into Aerosmith. The Project, with its debut album Let the Music Do the Talking played mostly around the Boston area in smaller venues. Aerosmith replaced Perry with guitarist Jimmy Crespo and after, Rick Dufay was brought on to replace Brad Whitford, Aerosmith's other original guitarist, after his departure shortly after Joe Perry's. After several line-up changes over the next few years and two more albums with dismal sales the Joe Perry Project dissolved in 1984 when Perry agreed to reunite with Aerosmith and the band went on to have arguably one of the most successful "comeback" stories in music history. Joe Perry has reformed the JPP several times since as a side project to stay busy during downtime with Aerosmith.

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Derek St. Holmes is an American musician, best known as the vocalist and rhythm guitar player for Ted Nugent's early solo career. After splitting from Nugent in 1978, St. Holmes worked with various artists, most notably the Whitford/St. Holmes project with Brad Whitford, who had recently parted ways with Aerosmith.

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  2. 1 2 Strong, Martin C. (2001) The Great Metal Discography (2nd edn.), MOJO Books, ISBN   1-84195-185-4, p. 11-13
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  11. Rolling Stone. (2010, Dec 13). 100 Greatest Artists Rolling Stone
  12. "Rig Rundown: Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes" . Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  13. "Rig Rundown - Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Brad Whitford" . Retrieved 2017-01-04.