From The Desk Of Bird Streets’ John Brodeur: “The Making Of Pump”

Omnivore just released the self-titled debut album from Brooklyn’s Bird Streets (a.k.a. John Brodeur). In addition to self-releasing records over the past two decades, Brodeur also worked as a music journalist (poor guy). For Bird Streets’ debut, Brodeur enlisted Jason Falkner (Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, etc.) as co-writer, co-player and producer, while Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell contribute to a few tracks as well. Brodeur will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Check out the Bird Streets track we premiered in June.

Brodeur: With the release of their 10th and finest (fight me) album, 1989’s Pump, Aerosmith instantly became my favorite band, dethroning the mighty Def Leppard. I loved the big, bloozy guitars, the king-size hooks, Steven Tyler’s cartoonishly awesome vocal work (he’s an American treasure!) and tongue-barely-in-cheek wordplay. I was a tender and impressionable 13, and this was totally my shit. Finely crafted yet playful, ass-kicking yet nuanced. Not to mention Pump features “Janie’s Got A Gun,” a rare social-commentary track from the good-time rockers, but also “What It Takes,” which is, for my money, one of the best rock ballads of this or any era. This album had range.

And then there’s the documentary. The Making Of Pump is a mash of interview, studio and video footage, released in 1990 to cash in on the band’s behemoth success and the booming home-video market. The interview footage is supremely cheesy: the staging, the sets, Tyler’s hair—it’s 1989-90 to the letter. But the studio footage is outstanding, surely the distillation of many, many hours of tape, but Tyler’s creative spirit is infectious and the band is at the top of its game, communicating and jamming and acting like a bunch of guys who actually like one another. Producers, A&R and managers turn up to contribute to the process like honorary band members. (Turns out it takes a village to make one of the all-time-great hard-rock records.)

This film has become a bit of a secret handshake among my musician friends. I have had two different bands watch it together in recent years, on days off from tour, and it’s just as entertaining as it was more than two decades ago. It’s an accidental evergreen.