Music from Another Dimension!, the newest Aerosmith release, has been a long time coming. For material on this much-anticipated pro- ject, the band invited a principal colleague, Marti Frederiksen, to co-write five songs and to produce three of the tracks.
The Southern California native notes that it takes time for this band to assemble the machine. “It’s hard to get material out,” he says, “getting all of those guys together on a full record. But once they do, they really focus.”
One song that Frederiksen helped pen, “What Could Have Been Love,” has elements in its arrangement that resemble contemporary country radio. “That song has been around,” says Frederiksen. “Joe Perry put a B-bender on it to make it sound more country.”
Now living in Nashville, TN, Frederiksen has penned songs for Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood, who also duets with vocalist Steven Tyler on “Can’t Stop Loving You,” from the new Aerosmith album. “Carrie has songs coming as singles,” he says, “and the only reason that they’re country is that they’re pushing that format. Pop is so programmed. What makes something country is when real players are on the track.” Although he and his partners own Westwood Studios, a full-on Nashville tracking room, he’s not a participant in Music City’s circles of multiple daily co-writes. “I’m not the guy who has to book a writing session every day,” he confirms.
Best known for his work with hard rockers, from Def Leppard to Daughtry, Frederiksen provided the voice for the lead singer of the mythical band Stillwater in Cameron Crowe’s rock epic, Almost Famous. “Cameron did it right, this being his story,” says Frederiksen. “And Nancy Wilson, (Crowe’s now ex-wife, co-founder of the band Heart who composed the film’s music) really lived in that era.”
“My first record deal came through an ad in Music Connection. Talk about connecting people: you have a success story right here."
Born in Hawthorne, CA, Frederiksen played drums in local bands before diving into the Hollywood music scene of the early ‘80s. In 1983, he landed on Geffen Records as the drummer for a band called Drop in the Gray, with their debut being released a year later. “My first record deal came through an ad in Music Connection,” says Frederiksen. “Talk about connecting people: you have a success story right here.”
After the demise of the band, he concentrated on co-writing and production, landing a pair of No. 1 songs for Brother Cane. Columbia Records A&R whiz John Kalodner invited him in to work with Aerosmith on the band’s Nine Lives, and the success of that record, including the Tyler/Frederiksen smash “Jaded,” placed him on a prominent short list of outside hit makers. “I feel like I’m in the band in some sense,” says Frederiksen, “working with them all of these years like a solid member on the scene.”
Frederiksen can work fast. He and Gavin Rossdale co-wrote “Love Remains The Same,” a BMI-award winning song, in a couple of hours. “Someday,” a new collaboration with Tyler, Mark Spiro and Julian Lennon, slated for Lennon’s forthcoming album, was written within a similar time frame in a hotel room at the Sunset Marquis.
Penning pop is a current Frederiksen endeavor. “I have been working on songs for the new Rihanna record. We’ll see if I end up with something. I’m also leaning toward alternative, where there are no rules. You can use any kind of instrumentation, combining real stuff with synths and plug-ins.”
Bouncing between his Nashville home and a condo in Maui, Frederiksen exudes an aura of upbeat unflappability. “Depending on who you work with and write with, you can pretty much go with everything. I remember working with Backstreet Boys one day and Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains the next.”
Meanwhile, Nashville seems to be a fertile locale. “The cost of living is down, but the weather’s not L.A.,” says Frederiksen. And although his creativity is not aligned with the sun, he does believe that he might be more productive on rainy days. “It’s good to be inside and know that you’re not missing anything.”
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