’They Didn’t Want People to Know’: That Time Session Guitarist Secretly Did a Solo for Aerosmith

Although the name Steve Hunter usually won’t ring any bells among rock fans, he’s worked as a backing and session musician to plenty of big names, including Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Meat Loaf, Peter Gabriel, and, among others, Aerosmith. While recently appearing in an interview with Guitar World, Hunter recalled actually recording a guitar solo for Aerosmith and how the whole thing came to be.

Interestingly enough, as the musician recalled, this wasn’t planned at all and just happened randomly one night. The song he ended up recording a guitar solo for was Aerosmith’s take on the blues standard “Train Kept a Rollin'” from the band’s 1974 album “Get Your Wings.” Asked on the matter and how this came to be, Steve replied:

“It happened out of the blue one night. I think there was a sort of political thing going on. All these labels were signing bands with people they thought could play, and they’d get upset that albums were coming out with all these studio musicians on them.”

Aerosmith - Train Kept A Rollin' (Audio)

“They were paying all this extra money for additional people, and second, they signed these bands in good faith that they could play.”

When the interviewer assumed that his sit-in with the band was probably preferred to be kept a secret, Steve confirmed this by offering:

“They definitely didn’t want people to know. But the thing is, when you cut an album, it’s set in stone. It’s not like a live gig where you can have a bad night and make up for it with a good one.”

Train Kept a Rollin' (Live From The Office Depot Center, Sunrise, FL, April 3, 2004)

“It was important that these albums be as good as possible, and that’s basically why I was called into the studio to play on ‘Train Kept a Rollin’.’

However, as Steve also adds, this wasn’t due to anyone being incapable of doing a proper solo. The issue was that Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has just hit a creative block:

“The way it was explained to me was, ‘Joe [Perry] had hit a block,’ and they needed to get the take done and start mixing the next day.”

Who Really Played Aerosmith’s "Train Kept A Rollin’" Guitar Solos? | Steve Hunter In The Trenches

On the other hand, as Steve also adds, Perry most likely wasn’t informed about someone else being called in to do a lead part instead of him. When asked whether Perry was aware of this, the musician replied and added that it’s not much of a big deal and that these things happen:

“Probably not. But it was no big deal; I had hit blocks like that in the studio hundreds of times.”

Going more into the matter, Steve also recalled an odd moment when producer Jack Douglas called him in to record:

“And that’s what happened with Joe on ‘Train Kept a Rollin’.’ So, they saw me sitting in the studio lobby smoking a cigarette, and Jack Douglas poked his head out and said, ‘Hey, do you feel like sitting in for a session?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure. What do you need?'”

Steve Hunter on: Aerosmith and playing a solo on Train Kept A-Rollin'.

So was he asked to replicate Joe Perry’s style? Hunter replied:

“They told me what they were looking for; I gave the solo a couple of passes, they were happy, and that was it. And then I went back and sat down in the lobby again.”

However, he also added:

“Now that I think of it, they did say, ‘Look, it’s best if we don’t mention to anyone that you played on this. Don’t tell anyone; no one can know.'”

Steve Hunter revisits a solo he did 51 years ago!

“I don’t think it was ever mentioned until Joe left the band years later. It was kind of a bummer that no one could know, but by that point, I was used to the double-edged sword of session work.”

The album in question, “Get Your Wings,” was Aerosmith’s second full-length record and a follow-up to their self-titled debut record from 1973. Knowing that they were new to the scene, it’s safe to say that it’s understandable that there was pressure, both on band members and the producer, to make things sound right. So Steve Hunter sitting in for Joe Perry is far from an isolated case.

As far as the song in question goes, Steve Hunter’s take was used for the first half of the solo in “Train Kept a Rollin'” while the second half features Dick Wagner. Just like Steve, Wagner was also known for his work with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed.

Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter guitar duel

Some years ago, Steve Hunter also shared a statement on the matter, clearing things up on how this lead part came to be. He explained in an official statement from 2015:

“Aerosmith was in Studio C of The Record Plant and I was doing work with Bob Ezrin in Studio A. I had a long wait between dubs and was waiting in the lobby. Jack Douglas popped his head out of Studio C and asked ‘Hey, do you feel like playing?’ I said ‘Sure,’ so I grabbed my guitar and went in.

“I had two run-throughs, then Jack said ‘Great, that’s it!’ That turned out to be the opening solos on ‘Train Kept a Rollin’’.”

Photos: Tilly Antoine (Steve Hunter à Rennes en 2011, avec Alice Cooper), Mick man34 (AerosmithNassauColliseum)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.