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Aerosmith on the Road: Backstage With Steven Tyler and Co.

July 1, 2009 3:47 PM ET

While Joe Perry lounges in a giant tour bus with a portrait of himself emblazoned the side, Steven Tyler is in his dressing room, dubbed "the Cave," mimicking his stage moves in a device that looks like vertical trampoline. Rolling Stone got a rare look behind Aerosmith's monster summer tour at their hometown gig — a show at Mansfield, Massachusetts' Comcast Center — and in the new issue Brian Hiatt has the full story from their June 16th homecoming gig, a show in front of 20,000 including their family, friends and their longtime fans.

(Go behind Aerosmith's homecoming show in exclusive backstage photos.)

Aerosmith have fought several battle in recent years: Tyler fought off pneumonia, guitarist Perry's artificial knee became infected and guitarist Brad Whitford was forced to miss the opening shows of the band's current tour because of an injury he sustained after bumping his head while exiting his Ferrari. Still, to quote the opening song from the Mansfield show, the "Train Kept a Rollin'," and the band soldiered on to give the Boston fans an energetic set that featured their entire Toys in the Attic and a messy cover of the Standell's "Dirty Water" featuring members of the night's opening act, native sons the Dropkick Murphys.

Things have changed, however, since the days when Toys in the Attic was released. Not only is the band drug-free, they travel separately and settle into different dressing rooms. "We were such a tight unit, working every night, and all of the personality differences came out," Tyler tells Rolling Stone. "Now a lot of that childish stuff is behind us." For much more from backstage on the Aerosmith tour, including bassist Tom Hamilton working on a new song, check out the new issue of Rolling Stone. And don't miss our report from the band's New York show here.

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

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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