Continued from page London a couple of years ago. It was cold, crisp winter evening and Ross Halfin and myself...
From page 54 of Classic Rock Magazine March 2010
Continued from page London a couple of years ago. It was cold, crisp winter evening and Ross Halfin and myself were sat in her room waiting for Tyler.
Erin was wearing a gossamer wisp of a designer skirt and when Ross pointed out that it was freezing outside, she just smiled, lifted up her dress, and stuck a couple of fingers between her legs. “It may be cold outside boys, but it’s hot in here!” she said as Tyler emerged from the bathroom to observe our paralysed expressions with a conspiratorial grin.
Today Tyler seems slightly edgy, especially about my appearance in Abu Dhabi. “Once the band hit the final note and the show is over, then I’ll tell you the whole story,” he promises. It never happens: all further attempts to interview the singer are rebuffed, with management telling us that, “regretfully, Steven has had to return to the East Coast quickly to immerse himself into some time sensitive endeavours that require his full attention.”
Outwardly Tyler looks OK. He has the beginnings of a beer gut that is at odds with his scrawny gait and with his hyperactive mannerisms and speed jive-talk that bounces off at surreal tangents, it’s difficult to tell if the man is out of it or his normal crazy self. The fact that a couple of months later he put himself back into rehab suggests the former.
At the time of the interview, Tyler was enthused about the break from the band and was still finishing his autobiography (entitled Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?). “It should be coming out in March/April,” he says. “It’s been a difficult run. The original transcripts were done while I was on tour with the band. It’s kind of hard writing a book between dates.”
Still recovering from his fall, the dressing room is kitted out with exercise equipment and Tyler admits it has taken a couple of months to get well enough to do this show, which gave him more time to work on the book. But even with the current rift, he says he’s elated at playing in the United Emirates and has noticed that Aerosmith seem to still be capable of pulling in a new young audience. “Holy shit! Because of Guitar Hero there are 12 and 13 year old kids coming up and telling me the lyrics they like,” he enthuses. “And they know I wrote the lyrics, whereas on some of the albums it says ‘Tyler/Perry’ and people thought that Joe wrote the lyrics. I am the lyricist of this band. Joe’s got a tech to change his strings. I don’t have one to change my strings [laughs].
Some of us have to work a little harder, write the songs – but that’s what I love to do the most. I’ve got eight songs written for the solo record, whereas Joe has his own solo record out with some German guy singing on it. I wish him the best of luck. I’m not sure how it’s going. I don’t think the radio’s playing it.
I haven’t heard it. ”
As a lady behind us makes gestures that it’s time to wind up, I ask a by-nowanimated and communicative Tyler about his future with the band. “No matter what I do I am looked upon as the vocalist of Aerosmith,” he says. “So I can use that to my advantage. We don’t speak much anymore. I know Tom [Hamilton] is working on health issues and I just say my prayers for him. I’ve nothing but love for Tom. The band is so fucking great. It’s still the original guys, we’re still kicking ass and taking names.”
of the reasons for the current hiatus is because there are internal problems in the band and to be perfectly honest one of them is prescription drugs,”
says Joey Kramer, when we speak in Abu Dhabi before the show. “It needs to be dealt with and I’m
sure it will be. For younger people it’s easier to come in and out of using. But when you get to the point where you’re 61 years old [Tyler was 61 at the time of this interview] and you are abusing prescription drugs it’s much more difficult to stop. It’s about people, places and things.
If you’re surrounding yourself with the wrong people, everybody is enabling you and you are weakminded, that’s where you’re going to go.”
There have been quite a few stories querying Tyler’s state of health in recent years, one of the most famous being his appearance at the MAP awards in May 2008 giving Slash an award for sobriety. As one onlooker observed: “He was so wasted that he didn’t know where he was and completely incoherent.”
Meanwhile, some of the singer’s friends in recovery have come up to the plate to confirm
that there was a time when the troubled singer ➻
was right, why not?”
Perry is also aware that the band’s career is time-limited, some members are totally dependent on money made from touring, and as he so eloquently puts it, “the end is closer than the beginning”.
“I grew up in an era when a band lasted two or three years and then died – literally. Janis, Jimi, and Jim…” Perry reflects. “Five years after Aerosmith got back together I realised how fragile we are as humans. There was a time I thought we were bullet proof but then things happened and I came to a realisation that I had to play every gig as if it was my last show.”
Perry admits that the door will always be open for Tyler: “It would be great to do a special concert to celebrate our 40th anniversary and if Steven wants to show up and sing a couple of songs, he will always be welcome.”
“My ideal scenario would be to put to put Aerosmith back on track,” agrees Whitford. “We’re in the twilight of our career so it would be nice to do it right.
No one person in this band is going to make anything as big as Aerosmith,” he adds, laughing. “It’s not going to happen.”
At the time of going to press there has been another strange twist to this ever-evolving story. According to certain sources, Aerosmith will be regrouping in the spring to rehearse for a series of large shows in 2010. This coincides with when Tyler completes his stint in rehab. To add fuel to the fire it seems that Perry has cancelled some mooted European and Japanese dates (just leaving the UK part of the tour intact). If this is true then the first date for the re-formed Aerosmith, with or without Tyler, will more than likely be in April at the forthcoming International Show Of Peace Concert in China at Beijing’s famous Bird’s Nest Stadium (the venue for the last Olympics). Perry has claimed that, in fact, he – not Aerosmith – will be playing, but the rumours persist.
Certainly, Aerosmith still appear on the event’s official website as one of the ‘invited’ artists .
(The thought occurs that perhaps all of this is just another form of intervention – a way of shocking Tyler into action and rehab – but Classic Rock doesn’t think so. Apart from anything else, that would happen behind closed doors, not with knives out in public.)
Of course, for Steven Tyler to front the band in China is dependent on him completing rehab, which is not a given (success rate for people completing treatment is between 30-50 percent) and wanting to rejoin the band. This does, at least, seem to be the case as Tyler confirmed in his most recent press statement: “I am eager to be back on the stage and in the recording studio with my bandmates.”
“I think that over the years we’ve learned that the magic is in having five guys that work together, make music and put personalities aside,” says Perry.
“We may not be the best musicians in the world but there’s a certain thing that meshes together and it gets stronger with time. We’re at our strongest when we’re playing together. We’re kinda like a family by choice and as with most families you’re not always on the best of terms. So you’ve got to figure out how to make it work because you’re bonded together. Families are bonded by blood – bands are bonded together by the magic of being able to make music.”
“It’s like a marriage,” concludes Tyler. “Some of us don’t get along but when we’re on stage we sure as fuck do and that’s all that really matters. Right?”
The Joe Perry Project are touring the UK in April as special guests of Bad Company. For tour dates and more information, visit www.joeperry.com or www.aerosmith.com.