"Two months after the tour ended, we wanted to get started again. We could feel something big was coming. On November 1, 1988, Steven and I started writing. We just went to work. The first day produced "Monkey On My Back," which started out as an Aerosmith folk song. We recorded it straight-ahead, the five of us playing live, and steven redid the vocals later. It was about our adventures in body chemistry. "
"By April , "Elevator" was coming together in Vancouver. We were jamming on "Monkey On My Back," working on "Deuces Are Wild" and "Don't Get Mad."
We had three weeks on preproduction in Vancouver before we actually recorded. I went down to Jim Vallance's house with the idea to write the first song on the album, just tear it up into something that sounded lik a dinosaur eating cars. Y'know, let them know we're here when that double kick drum gets going. We came up with "Young Lust."
"F.I.N.E." was written by Steven and me, and we took the bridge from another song we were working on with Desmond Child and didn't use. We also wrote "What It Takes" with Desmond. It started out as a country and western type song that we ended up putting on electric guitars--a Leslie and Les Paul-- to make it sound heavier.
Bruce Fairbairn was a taskmaster; he wasn't emotionally attached to songs we'd been living with for four months. He came in and cut and maimed. These songs--they're like your babies, y'know? It's like someone deciding if they're going to grow up or not."
""Janie" was very close to the demo that Steven brought to the band. He wrote it on piano, and I adopted the part for the guitar, a Chet Atkins electric/acoustic plugged into an amp and cranked really loud."
"Earlier, during preproduction, I was working by myself with Toby, our sound guy, and I couldn't think of anything. So I put "Rag Doll" on backward and tried to play along with it. I got the chord change and built "Don't get Mad, Get Even" around it. I was after dynamics, fury. When this band gets together to make a record, you can't believe some of the shit that comes out.
One night we saw Keith Richard's band [the X-Pensive Winos] and they did the old Stones song "Connection," which got us thinking about how cool that song was, how cool the Kinks were, and about all the English rock songs we liked from the sixties; next day I started playing a riff, Steven's at the keyboard, and by the end of the afternoon, we had "My Girl."
Steven didn't like it, said he was afraid of it, said it seemed like a sellout because it sounded too pop. I told him it was heavy because it was trashy, a tribute to songs we used to like. To me, selling out was doing a power ballad.
For me, it wasn't about "letting the kid out." "Young Lust" wasn't about kids, it's about us at forty, having the same feelings we used to have, still listening to rock 'n' roll. I still have that side of me that loves Deep Purple and the sex pistols: "Highway Star," "Smoke On The water." I still get goose bumps when I hear "Immigrant Song.""
"I didn't like a lot of the input we were getting from outside the band, but I accepted it. Did I like it as a musician and an artist? Maybe not. But were I that much of an artist, I'd be playing coffeehouses in Cambridge. Y'know? I'm an entertainer, playing rock 'n roll, arena rock. In order to do that, you have to make compromises.
I wanted to call the album F.I.N.E. after the song we wrote with Desmond Child. [Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional] Other titles considered were Elevator, Monkey House, and Here's Looking Up Your Old Address. I think Brad came up with Pump."
Steven Page 455
"That song ["Janie"] is about a girl getting raped and pillaged by her father. It's about incest, something that happens to a lot of kids who don't even find out about it until they find themselves trying to work through some major fucking neurosis. It's a song about abuse in America."
"The real fight was over the line "put a bullet in his brain," which John [Kalodner] wanted to change to "stand out in the pouring rain" because he was afraid they wouldn't play it on the radio. There was another one over "feeding that fuckin' monkey on my back." I screamed. "I can't take the 'fuck' out of it. Those words are in every kid's vocabulary and I use them to communicate with them. It's freedom of expression. Those words are the colors on my fuckin' palette." And later the program director at Z-100 in New York told me it was all bullshit anyway--they played songs with those kinds of lyrics."
Brad Page 454
"When we get together, I listen to closely to Joe. Joe Perry playing the guitar is like fuel for us. Flashes of lightning. Bolts of brilliance. A lot of songs begin that way."
"[album title] This actually came up at a band meeting after the Permanent Vacation tour. I was looking at the Aerosmith wings logo, and it reminded me of the old Flying A gas station sign, which led to a whole scenario of gasoline pumps and the humping old trucks we eventually put on the cover. Steven goes, "Pump--what the fuck does that mean?" I said, "I don't know. It just seems very... nineties.""