For Samantha Garner of Indiana, when it comes to being an Aerosmith fan, you could say it runs in the family.
“When my dad first saw them, they were opening for a band called Black Oak Arkansas. One of the guys he was standing next to said ‘you should keep an eye on this band, they’re going to go far.’ He’s loved them ever since.”
Samantha, who grew up living with her parents in the country near Decatur, Indiana, was basically born listening to Aerosmith.
“I remember being little and my parents would be cleaning the house on weekends and we’d be listening to Aerosmith all weekend long,” she said.
Though Samantha no longer lives at home with her parents, she’s pursuing a degree in music at a university about an hour from her family home, Samantha, her mother Connie, and her father Lynn, got to spend some quality time together doing something they love. They flew from Indiana to Grand Falls-Windsor earlier this month to see Aerosmith play at the Freshwater Suzuki Salmon Festival.
This is the third time Samantha has gotten the opportunity to see her favourtie band live with her family, something that is no small feat when your favourtie band happens to be one of the biggest bands in rock and roll history.
“I think I was in eighth grade when we first saw them, we went to Indianapolis,” she said. “Then in my sophomore year of high school we saw them in Sarnia, Ontario.”
Aside from seeing the band larger than life multiple times, Samantha said her family has picked up an interesting collection of Aerosmith memorabilia over the years.
“My father already had all the albums and T-shirts and posters from when he was younger, but once eBay started getting really big we started getting all kinds of stuff,” she said.
Her favourite is an autographed photo of guitarist Joe Perry. And the most wacky?
“My dad actually bought a billboard, it’s really ridiculous,” she said laughing. “It’s like 20 by 30 feet or something like that, we have nowhere to put it. It’s just boxed up…that’s probably the weirdest thing we have.”
Though the Garner family traveled to Newfoundland just to see Aerosmith, the trip turned into an unforgettable experience for the trio.
On their first night in Grand Falls-Windsor, the family went to the Town hosted Salmon Dinner, something Samantha said they thoroughly all enjoyed.
“We actually ended up going to (Councillor Bruce Moore’s) house and hung out there all night, it was really fun, and he was so nice,” she said.
The next evening, the Garners couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Joe Perry’s sons play with their group, TAB the Band, at the stadium dance.
“TAB the Band were super good,” she said. “We did not expect the to be that good in concert, and Tony, you can tell he’s Joe Perry’s son, he plays just like him.”
The Garners also got the chance to be Screeched-in by Coun. Moores and become honourary Newfoundlanders alongside the boys in TAB the Band.
“It wasn’t that bad at first, the baloney was okay, the (Jam-Jam) was definitely okay, and then we got to that herring and I was ready to puke,” she said with a laugh. “The rum was easy after the fish, I was kind of ready for that.”
The family got the opportunity to meet and chat with TAB the Band after the Screech-in.
“They were like the nicest guys ever,” Samantha said.
While the Garners enjoyed the activities leading up to the big day, the concert was what they came for, and they didn’t leave disappointed.
“We literally camped out by the stage all day, we didn’t want to lose our spots” she said.
Perched in the front row, the Garners got to take in all the acts.
“The whole concert was just amazing,” she said, adding that she loved all the acts, and it was one of the best times she’d seen Aerosmith live.
“My parents and I were talking one night and we were saying your town is not that much bigger than ours, and we could never pull of something this big.”
Samantha said one thing she’ll never forget about the trip is how well her family was treated by everyone they met.
“Everyone was just so nice and friendly and helpful. Everywhere we went people were asking us if we needed anything. There was probably three people who offered us a place to stay at their house if we needed.”
Samantha said she and her parents didn’t come to Grand Falls-Windsor with the intention of returning, but now, the family is hoping to make another trip back to the rock sometime soon.
“I’m really hoping to bring my grandparents along next time… I think (they’d) love it.”
As for the Garner family’s Aerosmith adventures? They hope to someday get to meet the members of the band, something they’ve yet to experience, and plan to continue enjoying to music as a family as often as they can.
“I’m sure we’ll go see them again soon, with their new CD coming out I’m sure they’ll go on a tour next year,” said Samantha. “And who knows? Maybe we’ll see them again this tour too.”