Russ Irwin is unofficial sixth member of Aerosmith

Aerosmith's touring keyboardist is ready to step out on his own.
BY GENE TRIPLETT etriplett@opubco.com Modified: November 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm •  Published: November 7, 2012
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This time, with a little help from such friends as Aerosmith's Tyler and Brad Whitford, Stone Temple Pilots' Dean DeLeo and Grammy-nominated trumpeter Chris Botti, and Irwin himself at the production helm, he made an album which he accurately describes as “a singer-songwriter piano record.”

“It's an old sort of retro-modern, bluesy piano record very much in the style of, like, Elton or Billy Joel or Stevie Wonder. That was the stuff that I grew up listening to, loving, and that was the reason why I started playin' piano, was because of those guys. Those are the guys who made me wanna write songs when I was a kid. So it was really like it was me getting in touch with my roots. And doing it for the real love of music again. It'd been a long time coming. I've felt that way about music since I was a kid.”

Meanwhile, Aerosmith fans who might now be interested in hearing Irwin's handiwork can check out “What Could Have Been Love,” a high-emotion power-ballad typical of the band from “Music from Another Dimension,” the new Aerosmith album released Tuesday. Irwin co-wrote the song with Tyler and Marti Frederiksen, and he plays and sings on the album track.

Fans will no doubt get the chance to hear the song live on Thursday night at Chesapeake, with Irwin on keyboards and backing vocals behind Tyler.

“You know, I am close with them,” Irwin said. “I love those guys a lot, you know? They're great musicians and they've been really great friends to me and it's been great working with them, you know? They're really a pleasure.

“They're great because I wouldn't have stayed with them so long if they weren't so great. Steve and I have a real musical connection, we sing really great together. I think we both have a lot of respect for the band. I think they have a lot of respect for me and we've just made some great music together over the last 15 years.”

Solo stardom for Irwin coming soon, with any luck.