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Learn the “Last Child” Solo With Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford

Learn the “Last Child” Solo With Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford

The Aerosmith axeman recounts how he ripped the blazing lead on the Rocks hit, dishing some critical history along the way.

Behind Steven Tyler’s unhinged howls, Aerosmith’s twin-guitar attack with Joe Perry and Brad Whitford cemented them as one of the greatest hard-rock bands of the ’70s. “Last Child,” the street-strutting, hard-blues hit off their breakout 1976 record Rocks, is one of the greatest demonstrations of this dangerous duo’s interplay. While Perry holds down the funky rhythmic chord stabs, Whitford burns through a volcanic, first-take solo. Did any pedals help snare that screaming tone? Nope. Just a ’57 goldtop Les Paul and a 100-watt Marshall.

That combo just “makes you play real good,” Whitford says with a grin on this week’s episode. Whitford gives Shifty the background story on how Rocks came together between the band’s Massachusetts rehearsal space and the Record Plant in New York. They dig deep on Aerosmith’s influences and the guitar players that shaped Whitford’s lead style, including the shredders that knew when to pause. “Whatever you play, you’re still replicating the human voice for the most part, and you have to take a breath,” Whitford notes.

Later on, Brad’s son Graham—an established player in his own right—joins the episode to talk about raiding his dad’s guitar and amp vault, and Brad muses on a big question: Will Aerosmith’s upcoming tour be their last?

Aerosmith - Last Child (Live From The Office Depot Center, Sunrise, FL, April 3, 2004)

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Producer: Jason Shadrick

Executive Producers: Brady Sadler and Jake Brennan for Double Elvis

Engineering Support by Matt Tahaney and Matt Beaudion

Video Editors: Dan Destefano and Addison Sauvan

Special thanks to Chris Peterson, Greg Nacron, and the entire crew.