"Steven's motorcycle thing happened and everything just stopped. Nothing was going on and I was bored and very frustrated. We all were. Aerosmith was in chaos, with Steven in and out of drugs and rehab. Cyrinda was threatening to jump out of hotel room windows.
The year before (1980) I got together with my friend Derek St. Holmes, who I met when he was singing with Ted Nugent's band. Derek was in a similar situation to mine, between albums with Ted, and one afternoon we started to write songs in my house in Walpole.
Suddenly I felt better. So great to be working, doing things. We made some rough demos on a four-track, took them to David Krebbs, and he got us a record deal with Columbia. He told me that Derek was a great singer but that Ted Nugent had egoed out and wanted to figure out a way to get rid of him. So we got together [with drummer Steve Pace and bassiest Dave Hewitt], went down to Atlanta where Derek lived, and cut an album's worth of songs in about two weeks. We had days when we were writing six songs. Derek would come in late at night, do his vocals perfectly, and leave. It was so professional. This is how sane people make an album. It was a relief to realize I wasn't the cog in the wheel that didn't work. It wasn't a great album, but it was OK and we had high hopes. "If this album dies," Derek told the press, "keep all razor blades at a safe distance."
Whitford St. Holmes was released in the summer of '81 but didn't make any charts. We were competing against bands like Journey. We did a little bullshit tour---six seriously hungover guys in a station wagon driving from West Virginia to North Dakota---and that was it. Derek went back to work for Ted Nugent.
In September (1981), We began to try to finish the next Aerosmith album, cutting some tracks at the Power Station in New York with Jimmy Crespo. Jimmy was a trained musician, a stickler for getting things precise. I found it hard to work with that attitude. Joe and I, we didn't have to say two words to each other about the guitar parts. It was a big part of the guitar magic that had sustained Aerosmith for ten years.
Meanwhile, Steven was well into one of his periods on heroin. Some nights they would basically wheel him into the studio and prop him up on a couch and hope something would happen. The insanity was driving me crazy.
I went back up to Boston and just started to enjoy the beautiful early summer weather for a few days before I had to go back to New York to work on the record. Whenever I thought about this, my shoulders would knot up and I'd be miserable. I knew I was gonna go down there and jerk off. Nothin' was gonna happen! I felt guilty, bitter. I'd never felt that way before.
I drove to the airport in Boston and was about to get on the Eastern shuttle to La Guardia when I felt something tear inside my head. I said to myself: I can't do this anymore.
I called David Krebbs to tell him I was quiting the band. He was in a meeting and wouldn't take the call. So I called Mark Puma, who had been hired by David to handle the band. "Mark, it's Brad. Listen... I can't come down... I'm not coming... That's it... I can't even think about it... Tell the guys, OK? Sorry, man. Good-bye."
I couldn't bring myself to call the band. I was confused, distraught, wondering if I'd made the right decision. My shoulders told me that I had. I went home, opened a beer, and felt a lot better about the whole thing. This was in 1981, and I stayed out of Aerosmith for two and a half years. In '82, I worked with [singer] Rex Smith, one of David's clients. He was hosting the TV show Solid Gold and wanted to be a rock star. We made a record, but it never got released. In the fall of '82, I hooked back up with Joe Perry and played some occasional dates with the Project."