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Steven Tyler Opens Up About Rehab and the Band's Future

"We've made amends and the band's playing better," says Steven Tyler

July 23, 2010 12:15 PM ET

The last time Aerosmith played an American show, things didn't go so well. At a gig in South Dakota in 2009, frontman Steven Tyler fell off the stage while singing "Love In An Elevator," causing him to break his shoulder and get a gash in his head — and forcing Aerosmith to cancel the rest of their tour. As Tyler recovered, the band threatened to hire a new singer and told the press they suspected Tyler was back on drugs. "It was a real trying time for me," Tyler says. "We didn't speak to each other for a while after that and Joe [Perry] just decided to look for another singer. I don't know what he was thinking, but we've since made amends to each other and more importantly the band's playing better." (Check out wild live footage of Joe Perry beating his guitar with a belt above.)

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After wrapping up a European tour, Aerosmith kicks off its American leg tonight in Oakland, California, with a set that will lean heavy on the hits — and some rarities. "When you got 'Dream On' and 'Sweet Emotion' and 'Walk This Way' and 'Love In An Elevator,' you can't leave them out of the set," says Tyler. "And there's a lot of esoteric stuff we can add. We may do [1978's] 'Kings and Queens,' or we might do [1979's] 'No Surprize.'" Perry, who recently spoke out about his motorcycle crash, says the band has yet to hammer out a precise setlist, but it will likely change from night to night. "I think that is going to be the biggest issue of contention at this point," he says. "We have toured a lot in the states and we're going to be putting down the setlist side by side for each city for the last two or three years and try to come up with something different — which is what I think the fans want to hear. I do think people want to hear stuff from the first five records."

The band is particularly looking forward to their August 14th hometown show at Boston's Fenway Park with The J. Geils Band. "From what I hear, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones will be on the bill too," says Perry. "It's going to be Boston from front to back and it's going to be one of those gigs that will come around once in a lifetime."

Once the tour wraps, the group will contemplate cutting their first album since 2001's Just Push Play. "I feel like we haven't made the best record we can make yet," says Perry. "We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our fans. We owe it to the label. We wanna have fun in the studio, basically. And it's time."

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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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