born on 23/2/1952 in Reading, MA, United States
Bradley Ernest "Brad" Whitford (born February 23, 1952) is an American musician who is best known for serving as the rhythm 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".
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. 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. 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. 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 force 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.
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.
Along with fellow Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, Whitford was included in the Guitar World book The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2007.
In 2013 played with Buddy Guy, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry on Evil Twin.
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". When Aerosmith made their comeback in the late 1980s, Whitford continued to co-write tracks such as "Permanent Vacation" and "Voodoo Medicine Man", and plays occasional lead guitar on some more recent tracks.
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."
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."
Aerosmith songs written by Whitford
The following Aerosmith songs have a writing credit given to Brad Whitford
- "Round and Round" from Toys in the Attic
- "Last Child" from Rocks
- "Nobody's Fault" from Rocks
- "Kings and Queens" from Draw the Line
- "The Hand That Feeds" from Draw the Line
- "Shela" from Done with Mirrors
- "The Hop" from Done with Mirrors
- "Permanent Vacation" from Permanent Vacation
- "The Movie" from Permanent Vacation
- "Hoodoo/ Voodoo Medicine Man" from Pump
- "Krawhitham" from Pandora's Box
- "Soul Saver" from Pandora's Box
- "Circle Jerk" from Pandora's Box
- "Beautiful" from Music from Another Dimension!
- "Street Jesus" from Music from Another Dimension!
- "Lover Alot" from Music from Another Dimension!
- "Can't Stop Lovin' You" from Music from Another Dimension!
At current performances, Brad can be seen playing a huge 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 (as well as many other Les Pauls), and 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.
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 creations. He also uses Paul Reed Smith amps. He has used a myriad of pedals throughout his career including many boutique ones.
- Brad appears in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith as the guitarist. He is also a playable character.
- In 2011 Whitford made a guest appearance on A&Es Storage Wars episode "Hang 'Em High Desert" along with collector Barry Weiss appraising two vintage guitars & an amp
- In 2012 Whitford contributed to Joe Bonamassas Album Driving Towards the Daylight on several tracks.
- Putterford, Mark (1991) The Fall and Rise of Aerosmith, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0-7119-2303-4
- Strong, Martin C. (2001) The Great Metal Discography (2nd edn.), MOJO Books, ISBN 1-84195-185-4, p. 11-13
- "Top 10 Brad Whitford Aerosmith Songs".
- Classic Rock Legends interview (accessed May 27, 2008)
- Waller, Don (1998) "Rock This Way: A Brief History of Roads Taken", Billboard, August 15, 1998, retrieved April 3, 2010
- Kreps, Daniel (2009) "Aerosmith Lose Guitarist Brad Whitford For Part of Summer Tour", Rolling Stone, June 8, 2009, retrieved April 3, 2010
- Kreps, Daniel (2009) "Aerosmith’s Whitford Plots July 7 Return From Head Injury", Rolling Stone, June 15, 2009, retrieved April 3, 2010
- Benson, John (2010) "Experience ... Jimi Hendrix", News-Herald, March 22, 2010, retrieved April 3, 2010
- Kitts, Jeff & Tolinski, Brad (2008) The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Hal Leonard, ISBN 978-0-634-04619-3, p. 9
- Sharp, K. (2007, Mar 16). Weathering the storms: Aerosmith's tumultuous history, as told by Brad Whitford. Goldmine, 33, 64-65.
- "Rig Rundown: Brad Whitford and Derek St. Holmes". Retrieved 2017-01-04.
- "Rig Rundown - Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Brad Whitford". Retrieved 2017-01-04.