On The Road Again! Boston Legends Joe Perry and Charlie Farren Reunite!

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – For anyone who may be remotely familiar with my music journalism over the years, it is no secret how I feel about the music of Aerosmith's Joe Perry and FARRENHEIT'S Charlie Farren. An incredibly talented musician and charismatic performer, I’m still trying to figure out why Farren is not known worldwide. In fact, let me get my “fan boy accolades” out of the way now.

Article by Joe Milliken

The F-Man is a thoughtful songwriter, energetic guitarist, enthusiastic performer, creative entrepreneur and oh by the way, one of the best vocalists in the business. Farren found national success in the 80's with his rock trio FARRENHEIT and before that, The Joe Perry Project, as sideman for the famed Aerosmith guitarist. Although Farren may not be a household name outside of the Northeast area, Charlie is a favored son of New England who enjoys great regional success and a loyal fan base that spans over 40 years.

Today, Farren continues his solo career and various other music projects, including several solo CD releases, a collaboration with Boston guitar legend Jon Butcher (Jon Butcher Axis, Barefoot Servants), and will soon be releasing a CD of new solo material as well. Charlie also recently reunited with old friend, Joe Perry, for some solo shows to support Perry’s new solo release Sweetzerland Manifesto.

We recently caught up with Charlie, as he gets ready to perform with his old friend Joe Perry.

Standing Room Only: Your upcoming "reunion" with JP is something die-hard Joe Perry Project fans (including this fan) have been hoping for, for a very long time. How did this re-connection with Joe come about? Will this be the first time that you are actually performing onstage (as in, for full, multiple shows) with him since your departure from his band back in the early 80s?

Charlie Farren: I haven't spoken with Joe, rather was contacted by his management who asked if I'd be available to be a special guest on the bill, kicking off the evening with a solo set, and then sitting in with Joe's band performing some Joe Perry Project songs. I think Joe's plan is to bring in "special guests" local to the venues in which he's performing. David Johansen in the New York market, Iggy Pop in the Detroit market, and I know he's also friendly with Robin Zander of Cheap Trick.

SRO: Can you recall, when the last time you had performed with Joe?

F-Man: This is the first time I'll be performing onstage with Joe since our last Joe Perry Project show on New Year's Eve 1981-1982... that's 36 years! FARRENHEIT also shared bills with Aerosmith several times over the years.

SRO: How many shows are you going to do with Joe? There will be other "friends" performing as well?

F-Man: I'll be performing with Joe at the April 18 Boston House of Blues show, and the April 19 show at The Hampton Beach Casino in New Hampshire. Barry Goudreau (Boston), Gary Cherone (Extreme) and Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford will also be performing. I think Gary and Brad are touring with Joe, and Barry and I are special guests on the Boston and Hampton Beach shows.

SRO: Tell me a little about your current activities. You are working on a new CD, can you tell me a little about it.. when it is due for release, are there any guest appearances?

F-Man: Yes, I'm working on a new recording project and it will be called, Charlie Farren: Guitar & Voice. It's featuring eight new original songs and two previously released original songs, reinterpreted in the "guitar & voice" style. A single guitar track and a single vocal track.

SRO: Tell me a little about how your music career evolved?

F-Man: Soon after leaving The Joe Perry Project, I signed a contract with Ahmet Ertegun on Atlantic Records. There was some interest in my band at Atlantic until Ahmet heard my song demos, which were recorded simply... one vocal track, and one nylon string classical guitar track. I met him in his office in New York City and played two song on my nylon called "Crazy Moon" and "Impossible World." I left his office with a contract!

He didn't want to rush into the studio, as he felt radio wasn't ready for this style of record, but he wanted to develop it and do something really different. For about a year and-a-half, I worked directly with Ahmet. He came to Boston several times, once to see my band perform (I was pushing for Atlantic to sign my band, The Enemy), and several times to visit my Beacon Street apartment and studio and talk about songs, songwriting, and various other artists he had signed, including Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles, and The Rolling Stones).

It was exciting, but after a year of just songwriting, I was itching to get back on the road. David Hull, Joe Perry's bass player and former Buddy Miles Band bassist, started writing and playing together. We found John Muzzy on drums and began developing an original sound and FARRENHEIT was born. We were soon offered, and accepted a deal with Warner Brothers!

SRO: Any additional thoughts on re-connecting with JP and getting onstage with him once again?

F-Man: Joe Perry and Aerosmith have always been an influence and Joe was also a mentor. I had been touring for six or seven years before joining Joe's band, but it was in clubs and small theaters, not the same as touring big stages. The Project toured with such bands as Ozzy Osbourne, The Kinks, Rush, ZZ Top, Foghat, and Alice Cooper, and we wrote some great songs together!

In fact, I still love the "East Coast, West Coast" - "I've Got The Rock and Rolls Again" combination to end a show. I still perform "South Station Blues" in my solo show as well. So, it will be fun to play with Joe again, as well as Brad, Gary, Barry Goudreau, and David Hull as well! Wait... I guess I've got "the rock and rolls again!"

Charlie Farren will be performing with Joe Perry and friends tonight, April 19, at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, and SRO will be there to report on all the rock and roll action!