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Joe Perry Opens Up About His Guitar Hero: Retired Math Teacher Steve Rose

Joe Perry
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Growing up in the early ’60s, one would think the Beatles were a heavy influence on Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, and maybe later the Rolling Stones. While those bands may have paved a road for his group to follow, it was a local 14-year-old named Steve Rose that first inspired Perry to play rock and roll.

In an interview with Noisecreep, Perry talked about being a kid at a high school dance and watching a classmate play music with his bandmates. Their cover songs sounded just like the originals on the radio. Suddenly Perry’s world opened up and he knew what he was meant to do. Rose was the guitarist in a band called the Wildcats at that dance at Hopedale High School.

“He just impressed on me that the music on TV and on the radio, it was not untouchable,” Perry says. “It’s like being a baseball fan at age seven and watching a major league game on TV. It’s a pretty long jump to make it there. But Steve made it seem attainable.”

Rose also spoke with Noisecreep and deflected the credit Perry gives him while admitting he did try to teach him to read music. “He just wanted to play,” he says. ” “He’s 99 percent self-taught and one percent Steve Rose [laughs]. I don’t take all the credit he gives me, but he just wanted to play so bad, he’d play more than me, and I was playing 10-12 hours a day.”

The two men lost touch over the years, especially as Perry’s band with Steven Tyler grew bigger and bigger. However, Rose stayed in the same hometown and from time to time he’d meet up with Perry again. His path didn’t lead to rock star fortunes, though. Rose is a retired math teacher.

Next: Top 10 Aerosmith Songs of the '70s

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