Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has won many awards in his career, but few meant as much to him as the honor bestowed on him at the fourth annual MAP (Musician's Assistance Program) Awards dinner/performance, hosted by Sharon Osbourne, in Los Angeles last night.
Before an audience that included Jerry Cantrell, Slash, Anthony Kiedis and Gene Simmons, Tyler, who's been sober for seventeen years, was presented the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his contributions to advocating sobriety through MAP. "To receive an honor named after Stevie for his commitment to sobriety is a great honor," Tyler said upon picking up his award. "Stevie continues to be an inspiration in so many ways."
Tyler also took a moment to recognize MAP's founder, jazz musician Buddy Arnold, who was unable to attend the event; Arnold remains hospitalized after undergoing heart surgery last week. "It's all about Buddy Arnold tonight," Tyler said.
Following Tyler's moving speech, during which he spoke about his sobriety, he led the house band through a three-song set that included recent Aerosmith hits "Amazing" and "Pink."
Making the night even more poignant was that Vaughan's brother Jimmie Vaughan, a longtime contributor to MAP, was on hand to receive the organization's Buddy Award, named for Arnold.
Vaughan and jazz legend Diane Schurr also performed during the ceremony, which capped a tumultuous year for MAP, which, like most of the music industry, has been hit by hard times financially. Arnold's wife and co-founder, Carole Fields, spoke openly about the tough times during her introductory remarks. "There were moments of doubt and concern. Would we actually make it to our awards this year?"
Prior to the evening's festivities, Tyler spoke about the need to support MAP, its services and its message. "I think it's real important," he said. The strongest part of AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] or any twelve-step program, is the message and being a powerful example."