- - Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sometimes a follow-up record takes a while to happen, but 35 years? However, Whitford/St. Holmes, the blues rock duo composed of Derek St. Holmes and Brad Whitford, finally released a rockin’ new disc this year called, appropriately enough, “Reunion.”

So what took them so long? Well, the guys have been busy. Mr. St. Holmes has toured as the singer and rhythm guitarist for Ted Nugent on and off for decades, and Mr. Whitford’s day job has been playing guitar with Aerosmith.

The classic rockers hit the District this week for a show at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, Wednesday with Whitesnake, and Thursday at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, Maryland. Mr. Whitford spoke about the unexpected new album, how touring has changed and the future of his “other” band.

Question: How did you fist meet Derek St. Holmes?

Answer: We [Aerosmith] toured quite extensively with Ted Nugent. We shared the same management team. It seemed like a no-brainer for Aerosmith and Ted Nugent to be touring together.

Derek and I just hit it off right away and because fast friends. It’s been that way ever since.

Q: How did your first album, “Whitford/St. Holmes,” come about in 1981?

A: We were just hanging a lot, which meant we were playing a lot. I would say, “Hey, check this out.” He said, “Check this out.” We had a lot of ideas sitting in our respective music closets. They went from ideas to songs very quickly. That first record was the result.

Q: How did this tour and the new album “Reunion” happen?

A: We had been living in different parts of the country for a long time. A couple years ago we both ended up being neighbors just outside of Nashville. Again we started hanging. And if we’re hanging, we’re playing. And if we’re playing, we’re writing. It was just a sort of natural evolution.

We put together a bunch of songs and decided we had to record it. We put the ideas to bed by recording them. We had a couple guys in mind for the band, and it just sort of evolved from there.

Q: Who else is in the band?

A: Our bass player is “Chopper” Anderson, who toured extensively with Reba McEntire but is a rocker at heart. We were very fortunate to get Troy Luccketta from Tesla on the drums. The last guy to come on was Buck Johnson, who I became friendly with because he started playing with Aerosmith. It was natural for him to be part of it. It’s the best band I’ve ever been in.

Q: Why was it 35 years between Whitford/St. Holmes albums?

A: I guess the timing wasn’t right. We always stayed in touch, but I had stayed very busy with Aerosmith, of course. Derek was continuing to tour and play with Ted. But the past couple of years, Aerosmith has been a lot less busy. [Aerosmith singer] Steven [Tyler] has been working on his record, so he hasn’t been around for work with Aerosmith. We had a big chunk of time that gave us the opportunity to just get into this and go for it.

Q: You’re both known as rhythm guitarists, so how did you decide who would play lead on which song?

A: We both do either/or. We both take shots, both play different songs and went with what sounded great. Sometime we left it up to our engineer to make the final choice while he was mixing. He picked the right thing.

It didn’t matter who played it, it was what we all thought sounded best. No egos. We come from bands where we’ve dealt with really large egos. Almost everyone in this band has almost felt like sidemen in a sense in our other groups. A lot of time you’re trying to satisfy someone else, whereas here it was about what we wanted to do. It was a joy.

Q: On the tour, will you play a mix of songs from both solo CDs with Nugent and Aerosmith tunes?

A: When we do this Whitesnake tour, we are playing an opening slot, and it’s a limited amount of time. So primarily we will be focusing on the new record. We do a little medley that pays a nod to Aerosmith and Ted Nugent.

Q: How has touring changed for you over the decades?

A: This is an entirely different experience. We put the whole thing on one bus —the whole band and the crew. All of us on one bus. It’s a rolling party. We laugh and have a lot of fun.

It’s a lot different from the big, giant circus that is touring with Aerosmith. A lot of times there you’re on your own. With this we’re all together 24/7 and we love it.

Q: Do you think Aerosmith will ever record an new album?

A: We’re talking about it. Making it happen is another story. We are talking about going into the studio to record a couple of things. Maybe not an album. Don’t really know. Hopefully we can do that.

Steven is off working on his new project. [Guitarist] Joe [Perry] is working with the Vampires. [Bassist] Tom [Hamilton] is going out on the road with Thin Lizzy. Everybody is staying busy.

Q: Have you heard Steven Tyler’s new music or Joe’s music with the Hollywood Vampires?

A: I’ve heard a couple of things Steven has been working on, because he’s been here in Nashville. Heard some pretty cool things there. I have not heard the Vampires stuff yet. Just haven’t had the opportunity. I’m always anxious to hear his stuff because he just comes up with classic riffs. Always does.

Whitford/St. Holmes opens for Whitesnake at The Fillmore Silver Spring Wednesday. Tickets are $40 by going to LiveNation.com. The band plays Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis, Maryland, Thursday. Tickets are $45 by going to Ticketfly.com

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