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Aerosmith in Turmoil: Rolling Stone's 2009 Interviews

Page 5 of 5

Former Aerosmith A&R Rep John Kalodner

Are you surprised things have broken down to this degree?
I'm never surprised. Bands are the ultimate dysfunctional families, some bands are just better at managing it — like Bon Jovi and U2. Aerosmith should be in their league, but they're not now. I haven't worked with them for years but I spent pretty much every day with them for 20 years.

Do you think Steven has a possibility to be successful solo at this stage in his career?
Steven Tyler is one of the most talented artists that I ever worked with, it's possible that he'd be successful doing something else but I think the big success would always be with Aerosmith. Twenty years ago Mick Jagger tried this and it was a disaster, and he's one of the biggest stars of all time. It just doesn't work that way. Lou Gram, Steve Perry, all of these incredibly talented singers... a band is a certain unique entity that people want to go see pay their money for and love their music.

They're talking about hiring a famous singer. Do you see that working at all?
No. How can it be our Aerosmith without Steven Tyler.

Well, it's four-fifths of the band.
Doesn't matter.

I was talking to Marty Frederickson the other night about this just artistically because he co-wrote "Jaded" and worked with them for the last 10 years or so. We were talking about how no one can replace Steven Tyler, but the only person he said and I agreed with that could even make Aerosmith anything would be Lenny Kravitz — which was a unique idea Marty had.

Steven is one of the greatest singers and performers that I've ever worked with. This whole thing is sad. I don't know their particular politics but if you're asking me is there Aerosmith without Steven Tyler my answer is no. And if Steven Tyler goes solo my answer would be no. It's their lives, they play music so if that's the conclusion they've come to that's what they have to do.

What do you know about the album they tried to cut with Brendan O'Brien last year?
In the brief conversation I had with Brendan, he said it was a nightmare and he couldn't believe I worked with them for all those years.

The guys are telling me that they wanted to cut a back to basic albums — like Toys in the Attic.
Well, they can't do an album like Toys in the Attic because they're not 23 years old. I don't see Jon Bon Jovi or Bono saying they're going to do an album like the first or second albums. It's ludicrous. Bands always think they can do that, and they never can. I told Jon Bon Jovi years ago that he should work with people in Nashville and he did and you see the success they had. I was relieved of being able to tell Aerosmith that a long time ago and you see the result they have never made a studio record properly since I worked with them.

Is it fair to say that Joe Perry was more focused on a simpler, old-school sound and Steven was more into a more modern pop sound?
That would be sort of accurate. Joe Perry was very smart that he wanted to make simpler bluesier music but he also knew that to be big that to be big Aerosmith had to make pop rock hits, which Steven Tyler had the ability to do. The whole band did very well with those. They never liked it I should add.

Didn't like what?
They didn't like doing those pop rock hits that all the people buy and go to see them in concert for. They really hated me because I had them do "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing." They never spoke to me again after that.

So even when they had "Ragdoll" and these big hits they didn't like those songs?
No, not to my knowledge.

But they were willing to keep making them.
They were willing to. I would say that I requested four commercial songs on the record and the rest could be about their concept of what they wanted to do at that point in their career. It worked for many years. Think of Pump, Permanent Vacation and Get a Grip, which sold 16 or 17 million copies.

More Q&As:

Joe Perry

Joey Kramer

Brad Whitford

More Aerosmith:

Choice Excerpts From Steven Tyler's Cover Story: The Aerosmith Frontman on Addiction, Sex and 'American Idol'

Photos: Four Decades of Aerosmith Live and Unleashed

Rob Sheffield Picks Aerosmith's Best Deep Cuts

The 10 Best Aerosmith Music Videos

Musical Musical Gender-Benders: Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and Other Dudes Who Have Sometimes Looked Like Ladies

Talk This Way: Rolling Stone's 1994 Interview With Aerosmith's Steven Tyler

Aerosmith, Rock's Longest-Running Dysfunctional Family Sitcom: Rolling Stone's 2001 Cover Story

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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