"Do I sound fucked up or stoned?" Steven Tyler asks, calling from his home in New Hampshire on Monday. In his first comments to the press, Tyler wants to set the record straight about what happened when he fell off the stage in South Dakota on August 6th — followed by a cancellation of Aerosmith's summer tour and subsequent reports of band turmoil. "Truth be known, I jumped off the stage on purpose," he jokes at first. "Figured we hadn't gotten any new press in so long." But then Tyler got serious.
How's your health?
I've been better. I've got my arm in a sling [from a broken shoulder]. I'm on all the drugs I'm not supposed to be on. But I'm dealing with the pain pretty good.
What happened that night?
I don't really know. There was a torrential downpour and the guys [at the campground] said, "Look, it's still slippery." I watched myself on YouTube, and it could have been my knee buckling or any ankle. The last thing I remember before I hit the ground was people grabbing for me, but they couldn't reach me because of the barricade. At any other Aerosmith show I probably would've been caught and thrown back onto the stage — naked and without jewelry [laughs]. I stood up and couldn't raise my arm and knew I'd broken something.
Were you sober?
As sober as you can be.
Care to comment on that clip on TMZ of you in a liquor store?
Oh, Jesus Christ. A good friend of mine and Joe's — the brother of the guy who works on my house, my housekeeper — passed away. I was at the funeral. And after the funeral, they're Italian and had a feast at the house, a wake, and I stopped at the liquor store and paid for the booze. I did not buy any for myself. It was never proven that I did. Some kid whipped out a phone and took a picture. Anything to sell papers. It was for the wake. I would do it over and over a million times.
How do you look back at Aerosmith's cursed summer tour?
Every once in a while we gotta be human [laughs] and get Joe's knee or Brad's head or whatever done. I'm Italian and I don't believe in talking about my bandmates. I'm just so pissed it was such a great tour. I had to ruin it all by falling and I'm sorry. I've said that to the fans and my band and everybody else. I fucked up. I get in the zone when I'm onstage. I don't really have to explain anything. I love what I do. The world knows what I do. And I only hope they forgive me for having to cancel such a fucking awesome tour.
How do you respond to reports of dissent within the band?
Someone is leaking stuff, pretending to know, and you know, I don't even care. Has the band done things to me where I've wanted to quit? Positively. But I've stuck in there for the sake of a few sounds we got. I respect the power this band has in and of itself regardless of who says what.
When did you last speak with the other guys?
Two days ago. Shit's good. I'm not the leader. No one's the leader, we're just one for all, all for one. It's probably why we've never quit. No one's got enough money! We split it evenly.
But you have signed with a different management company than the band, and you're working on a solo album.
I would imagine ... I can't tell you for sure, but I think there's a little animosity that I went with another management agency. Which is for me to know and you to find out. I'm certainly not in outs with the guys. But look, I do what I do. The easiest thing in the world is to say he's drunk or stoned. But what are you gonna do?