James (Jimmy) Crespo Jr.
(born July 5, 1954 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American guitarist. He was the lead guitarist for the rock and roll band Aerosmith from 1979 until 1984. Crespo has also performed or recorded with Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Meat Loaf, Stevie Nicks, Robert Fleischman, and others.
Early Life & Career
Crespo was born and raised by Puerto Rican-American parents in Brooklyn, New York. Raised within a musical family, Crespo first took up the guitar at the age of 14, forming his first band, The Knoms (pronounced with a silent 'k'), shortly afterwards. During his teenage years Crespo became an accomplished guitarist, drawing on the stylings of such artists as The Yardbirds, Cream, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix. Forming the New York club band Anaconda, Crespo was to draw attention on the local scene from industry figures, leading to session work with a number of high profile artists such as Meat Loaf and Stevie Nicks before he was recruited as lead guitarist for the RCA-signed band, Flame.
Flame was to release two albums, both their eponymous debut in 1976 and 1977's Queen of the Neighbourhood.
Returning to session work following the breakup of Flame, Crespo attracted the attention of Aerosmith's management following the departure of Joe Perry from the band in 1979. Invited to audition for the vacant lead guitarist position, Crespo was asked to join Aerosmith in October 1979. Contributing a guitar solo to the song "3 Mile Smile" for the already recorded Night in the Ruts album, Crespo commenced touring with the band soon after joining. The tour was hampered by the increasingly erratic state of the band's singer, Steven Tyler, at this stage heavily beset by drug addiction and suffering several on-stage collapses.
Despite the singer's troubles, including an incapacitating motorbike accident in January 1981, Crespo and Tyler forged a credible songwriting and touring partnership before the departure of Brad Whitford struck the band in 1981. Crespo co-wrote the majority of songs on Aerosmith's 1982 album Rock in a Hard Place, performing almost all the guitar duties on the album. Crespo served as the stolid musical capstan of the band during this period. The level of his work remained high even as the work ethic of his bandmates continued to deteriorate.
Charting at number 32 on the US Billboard chart, Rock in a Hard Place reportedly cost over $1 million in production costs, featuring a plethora of production and engineering staff amongst its credits. Xavier Russell said of it in Sounds: "As soon as the needle hit the wax, it melted and the speaker covers blew across the living room floor - Five Stars".The album suffered both from the rejection of those loyal to former guitarist Perry, and from the lack of penetration into the newly emerging MTV video-clip market.
Subsequent tours from 1982 through to early 1984 saw Crespo team up with Rick Dufay, who filled in for the absent Brad Whitford. Commercial difficulties during pre-production of the band's next album coupled with singer Tyler's desire to reconvene with guitarist Perry saw Crespo exit the band in mid 1984, as the "classic" 1971-1979 Aerosmith lineup re-formed.
Immediately following his tenure in Aerosmith, Crespo played on releases by Stress and Adam Bomb, the guitarist spending several years with the latter-named Geffen Records signed band. Crespo contributed guitar to the Adam Bomb album "Fatal Attraction" (Geffen 1985) before settling in LA with new wife Cynthia to raise two children. His work with Stress is documented in the bonus tracks added to the CD reissue of Killing Me Night & Day on Deep Shag Records.
Crespo joined bassist Danny Sheridan and Bonnie Bramlett in their new band Bandaloo Doctors from 1987 to 1992 and returned to session work as well as touring and recording with Billy Squier for several years.
From 1994-1996, Crespo was part of Rod Stewart's live band as lead guitarist.
Continuing to play as a studio musician, Crespo has also performed at some of Las Vegas' biggest casinos, whilst also engineering a rock amplifier simulator ("Rock Amp Legends by Jimmy Crespo") for Nomad Factory. Crespo plays with the band Phoenix on the Las Vegas entertainment circuit.
Discography with Aerosmith
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