Aerosmith continues to be a boldface name in classic rock. The bandmates are instantly recognizable to music fans and tabloid readers worldwide. Yet Aerosmith’s decades-spanning success hasn’t always made the members financially untouchable. Longtime guitarist Joe Perry fell on hard times even as a founding member of the hard-rock juggernaut. At one point, he had to sell a beloved guitar because he was hard up for cash. So, how is it that one of the greatest rock guitarists could be hurting for money, and what is Joe Perry’s net worth today?
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry fell on hard times in the early ’80s
Perry was a founding member of Aerosmith in 1970. But by 1979, he left the band over personal issues between himself and lead singer Steven Tyler. The problem came down to their wives, who toured with the band. Elisa Perry reportedly threw a glass of milk in the face of Terry Hamilton, bassist Tom Hamilton’s wife. The situation led to a big argument between the aggrieved lead guitarist and Tyler.
Fed up, Perry left the band. He took all the music he’d been working on for the next Aerosmith album with him. But the move ended up not being as lucrative as he’d hoped. His marriage to Elisa fell apart not long after, and the divorce was expensive. Short on money, he sold one of his prized guitars in 1980.
From there, the beautiful 1959 Gibson Les Paul changed hands a couple of times. Singer and guitarist Eric Johnson ended up with the beloved instrument. After learning it once belonged to a forlorn Perry, he offered to sell it for $8,000. But the Aerosmith guitarist’s financial woes still loomed, and he wasn’t able to buy it. Johnson sold it off, Guitar Player reports.
Enter: Slash. The Guns N’ Roses guitarist ended up owning the sought-after rock ‘n’ roll artifact without knowing the story behind it. But as Perry relayed on Conan in 2014, his fellow rocker had his back. As a surprise for the Aerosmith legend’s 50th birthday, Slash gifted the history-laden axe to its original owner.
Joe Perry’s net worth rebounded after he re-joined Aerosmith
Joe Perry’s net worth was in the tank for the first chunk of the ’80s. His follow-up to Aerosmith, the Joe Perry Project, saw moderate success. But the band wasn’t enough to close the financial gap left by losing his Aerosmith income and dealing with divorce proceedings.
To say the musician has since recovered from those difficult days would be a massive understatement. Indeed, Celebrity Net Worth estimates Joe Perry’s net worth is an estimated $140 million.
Much of that success comes from Aerosmith. The band’s Las Vegas residency pulls in massive, consistent cash (although it was disrupted recently — more about that later). Perry also continued his eponymous band and plays guitar in the supergroup Hollywood Vampires. They may not be a household name, but the band draws well thanks to the star power involved. Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, and Perry tend to bring in crowds.
Aerosmith is gearing up for its Las Vegas residency
Las Vegas residencies are generally lucrative deals. Unfortunately for the members of Aerosmith, they’ve been on the shelf for some time. First, the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly canceled the band’s dates for 2020 and much of 2021. Then, a difficult foot surgery recovery for Steven Tyler triggered a relapse after 10 years of sobriety.
According to People, the 74-year-old frontman checked into rehab in May. He even decided to stay longer than his mandated 30 days. However, the bandmates will soon cash in some fresh residency checks for the first time in a while. Aerosmith is set to return to the Vegas stage on September 14.