Aerosmith are still going strong after 40 years of rock & roll drama – and now that frontman Steven Tyler has bid farewell to American Idol, he's putting all his energy toward their new album, Music From Another Dimension (due out in November). "It's the music that's keeping us alive," Tyler says. "I've seen a thousand bands go down the drain because they can't stop giving each other the finger and holding resentments," Tyler says. "Now I just look at [guitarist] Joe Perry and say, 'Fuck you about your 'fuck you!'"
Tyler called Rolling Stone's Austin Scaggs in between stops on Aerosmith's Global Warming Tour, which runs through August 12th in Bristow, Virginia. For even more Tyler, check out the latest issue of Rolling Stone, on stands later this week.
You've been playing a new song called "Oh Yeah" on this tour. Tell me about it.
It's a song Joe brought to the table, and it's a fucking classic. He brought it in at the last minute – a couple months ago – so Joe's definitely the employee of the month on the new album. It's got a great rock feel to it, and it works great at the beginning of the show. It's like, "Check this shit out. Here we are. We're back!"
I read that the license plate on your Mercedes says "OH YEAH".
Yeah! So I was surprised when Joe came in with that. But it really sums up what we do for a living. We play songs that make people feel good, that make people think, "Oh, yeah!"
Did everybody bring new songs to the table?
Yeah! The band has really come to the table, and I'm so fucking proud of that. Joe Perry brought astounding stuff. [Drummer] Joey Kramer wrote one. [Guitarist] Brad Whitford plays some fantastic leads. [Bassist] Tom Hamilton wrote a couple of great songs that we put on the album, where in the past his songs have been shunned.
Which is crazy, because he wrote the bass riff to "Sweet Emotion."
That was a magic moment. We were in an apartment in Boston and he just started playing that line and I said "Hold on!" and I just started singing "sweet emotion." The lyric just popped out and it was so cool. The same thing happened with "Janie's Got A Gun." I didn't know who Janie was or why she had a gun, but it was magic.
Whose idea was it to start "Sweet Emotion" with the chorus?
I used to arrange the band's licks and riffs. Starting with the chorus was way different than any other band's ever done, but we did it because it was so much fun singing that "sweet emotion" part.
So is the new album full of rockers?
No. I wrote a song called "Beautiful," and it was looked upon by the other guys as not Aerosmith. It's off the beaten path. But anything that I question these days, I just go, "Fuck it, let's do it." And there's another full-bodied melody song called "It Could Have Been Love." I can't get away from it. My dad went to Juilliard and played a Steinway, and when you've been given the gift of music, you've got to play to your muse. Otherwise it's gonna bite you in the ass. [Laughs]