When one prepares to sit down with a rock star, one imagines that there is going to be a lot of ego, flightiness, and bling going on. When I sat down with Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, noted as one of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time by Guitar World book, and his son, Zack Whitford, official photographer for the band, my experience with them couldn't have been more opposite than my expectations.
Not only was Brad Whitford gentle, understated and, when probed, capable of some very keen and profound insights, but he showed himself to be very much a family man. Traveling to Chicago with his son, Zack, for his first photography exhibition at the Hilton Asmus Gallery, Brad was incredibly supportive of Zack's work and his role as official Aerosmith photographer.
As you will hear in the podcast below, more like college roommates than father and son, the two go back and forth, joking about funny stories on the road with Aerosmith, having a good laugh about Steven Tyler's wardrobe and Joe Perry's penchant for stockpiling gym weights in his hotel room. They also spout about what makes a good photograph, what makes a good song, the importance of visualization in achieving one's goals and how to keep life simple.
In the podcast, Zack shares what he has learned from traveling the world with the band: "Everybody cherishes their children's future. Most people love dogs. I'm not really interested in people who don't like dogs. By traveling you realize that the world is a much small place than it seems." Brad shares his philosophy on work and perpetual learning: "Keep your nose to the grindstone. It's about hard work, and the work should be fulfilling. You should want to get up and do it because you want to because you love to...It's about the passion...It's so much about team work. You have to get with like-minded people... Seek out those people that you look up to that are doing it well, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to say that you want to learn."
To view Zack's Aerosmith and travel photos, visit The Hilton Asmus Gallery website, which highlights their new photography division, Hilton Asmus Foto, or visit the gallery in person at 716 N. Wells in Chicago during the month of June. Until then, enjoy this intimate conversation with Brad and Zack Whitford, recorded at the Talbott Hotel over Shrimp and Carne Asada Tacos, Mango Guacamole and Dorado Ceviche from Mercadito Kitchen.