Jimmy Crespo

Jimmy Crespo
Birth nameJames Crespo Jr.
Born (1954-07-05) July 5, 1954 (age 65)
Brooklyn, New York, US
GenresHard rock, blues rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1968–present
Associated actsThe Jimmy Crespo Project, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, Meat Loaf, Billy Squier, Stevie Nicks, Stress

James Crespo Jr. (born July 5, 1954) is an American guitarist. He was the lead guitarist for Aerosmith from 1979 until 1984.[1][2] He co-wrote "Rock in a Hard Place" with Steven Tyler, and has performed or recorded with Rod Stewart, Billy Squier, Meat Loaf, Stevie Nicks, Robert Fleischman, Rough Cutt, Renegade, Flame and others.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

James Crespo Jr. was born in Brooklyn and raised by Puerto Rican-American parents (Jaime and Carmen) within a musical family. He has one brother, John Crespo. Crespo first took up the guitar at age 14. He joined his first band, The Knomes, shortly afterward. During his teenage years he became an accomplished guitarist, influenced by the stylings of such artists as The Yardbirds, Cream, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix.[1] Forming the New York club band Anaconda, Crespo drew the attention of 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 and songwriter by producer Jimmy Iovine for the RCA-signed band Flame, which was fronted by powerful lead vocalist Marge Raymond. Flame released two albums: "Queen of the Neighborhood" in 1977 and "Flame" in 1978.

Aerosmith years[edit]

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. Drummer Joey Kramer formed a band called Renegade during this time, and he recruited Marge Raymond to sing lead and front the band. Jimmy Crespo, Tom Hamilton and the late Bob Mayo completed the line-up. An album was recorded at the Power Station in NYC and was produced by Tony Bongiovi, but it has never been released. Renegade is somewhat of a legend in the music industry and the tapes are much sought after by fans. Tyler, after realizing that Renegade was buzzing the industry and about to take off, came back to fulfill his contractual obligation to CBS. Renegade is referenced in several Aerosmith autobiographies.[1]

Despite the singer's troubles, including an incapacitating motorcycle accident in January 1981, Crespo and Tyler forged a songwriting and touring partnership. Crespo co-wrote six of the songs on Aerosmith's 1982 album Rock in a Hard Place with Tyler. Crespo performed most guitar duties on the album.[1]

Charting at number 37 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".[1]

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. Crespo went on to play guitar in the band Adam Bomb through the remainder of 1984 and into 1985.


Following his time in Aerosmith, Crespo ended up working at Home Depot as a cashier. Musically he also played on the final sessions of Stress and spent several years with Adam Bomb, a Geffen Records-signed band: his work with Stress was finally in the bonus tracks added to the CD reissue of Killing Me Night & Day on Deep Shag Records. Crespo contributed guitar to the Adam Bomb album Fatal Attraction (Geffen 1985) before settling in Los Angeles with new wife, Cynthia.

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 to 1996, Crespo was part of Rod Stewart's live band as lead guitarist.

Crespo was part of Paul Shortino's The Cutt (a revamped new formation of Shortino's Rough Cutt) who released the LP Sacred Place in 2002 before disbanding.

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.[3] He is working on a new album The Jimmy Crespo Project.[4] Crespo performed with the HitMen All Stars featuring also former members of Boston, Dire Straits, Journey, Fleetwood Mac & Night Ranger.[5] He also is part of The Rod Experience, a project with the drum legend Carmine Appice[6]. There were also reported news of a solo project[7]. 2015 saw the release of the unreleased collaboration with Jamie Borden and Tommy Paris titled JJT.[8]

Selected discography[edit]

with Flame[edit]

  • Queen of the Neighborhood LP RCA (1977)
  • Flame LP RCA (1978)

with Aerosmith[edit]

with Adam Bomb[edit]

  • Fatal Attraction (1985)

with Paul Shortino's The Cutt[edit]

  • Sacred Place (MusicWorks, 2002, evolved from the EP Sneak Peek of 2000)

with JJT[edit]

  • JJT (recorded around 2005, released 2015)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Anderson, Jamie. "Riff & Roll - The Jimmy Crespo Website". Jimmycrespo.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Aerosmith". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-09-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-05-26. Retrieved 2018-04-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2012-04-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Studios, Dreamer. "The Rod Experience : Home Page". Therodexperience.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  7. ^ "The Jimmy Crespo Project". M.facebook.com. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-24. Retrieved 2018-04-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)