The Story of How Joe Perry’s Guitar Ended Up with Slash, Who Gave It Back

The Aerosmith rocker shared the kind tale on Conan.

Regular viewers of Conan know that the late-night talk show host is very fond of the guitarist Slash, who has appeared on Conan O’Brien’s shows several times. Even when Slash is not present, his face is used in place of a typographic ” / ” in URLs on the show, as in:

conan haha i found an error slash url

But Monday on Conan, it was Joe Perry who sat in with the in house band, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band, playing a very shimmery gold guitar. Perry has been promoting his new book, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith.

When Conan and Andy Richter ask him if he tells all or tells some in the book, Perry says he tells “all…and even more.”

Perry shares quite a feel-good story on the show. He tells Conan about a time around 1980 when Aerosmith wasn’t together and he was forced to sell his beloved 1959 Les Paul guitar:

It was Christmastime and I needed some bread. … That was the best guitar to sell—I could get rid of it pretty quick because they are pretty rare. I sold it and didn’t think much of it.

Time went on, and over the years, the band got back together again, and we started to have some success again. And I thought maybe I could find some of those old guitars that had gone the way of the wind. 

That guitar, it turns out, found its way to another famous shredder, Slash. According to Perry, bandmate Brad Whitford was the one who brought Perry a copy of a guitar magazine that had a photo of Slash’s guitar collection as the centerfold—and there was the Les Paul.

After failing to buy back the guitar from Slash, who was a huge Aerosmith fan and didn’t want to give it up, Perry finally relented and stopped bugging him about it.

Then, on Perry’s 50th birthday, he was sitting in with Cheap Trick when his guitar tech walked up with his guitar.

Slash gave it to me. … His heart is so big I don’t know how it fits in his chest.

OK, all together now: Awwwww!

Watch the clip above. You can also check out the full episode with Alan Cumming, Casey Wilson, and Pentatonix at


Previously: Joe Perry Plays with The Roots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Related: Read an excerpt from Joe Perry’s memoir, Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith