Steven Tyler and Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton wrote “Janie’s Got a Gun” 26 years ago. The song, about a girl’s revenge on her sexually abusive father, earned the band its first Grammy in 1991 and remains Aerosmith’s most politicized statement to date. The track was an awakening for Tyler, he said onstage at the David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center Monday night, to the abuse thousands of children face in the United States.
“I’m in awe of young women out there standing up against abuse,” the singer said. “68,000 children are sexually abused in the U.S. every year. … One in five girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. … Experts say that’s an underreported statistic.”
Tyler is throwing his celebrity and voice behind the cause with a charity called Janie’s Fund. “Janie’s got a gun, and now Janie has a fund,” Tyler said. He began the philanthropic initiative in November 2015 in partnership with Youth Villages, a U.S. nonprofit that serves abused and neglected girls by providing extended care for them as they age out of the foster-care system and transition to adulthood. Prior to the concert, concertgoers could bid for items for auction ranging from art by Tyler’s daughter Mia to a meet-and-greet with Britney Spears selling for $3,000.
Actor Melissa John Hart, who supports Youth Villages through her clothing line King of Harts, showed up at the concert/auction – dubbed “Out on a Limb” – in support of Janie’s Fund, as did Bruce Willis and Tyler’s children Liv, Mia, Chelsea Tallarico and Taj Tallarico.
The Aerosmith singer is expected to drop his first solo LP this summer. Here is what we learned at “Out On a Limb.”
1. Tyler’s solo LP will include new song “Only Heaven.”
In addition to playing the first two singles from his forthcoming solo record – the windblown “If Love Is Your Name” and the Florida Georgia Line-esque “Red, White and You” – Tyler played a new ballad, “Only Heaven,” which recalled the grandiose posturing of “Beyond Beautiful” from Aerosmith’s 2001 album, Just Push Play. One of the writers from Play, Grammy-winning songwriter Mark Hudson told Rolling Stone of the new LP: “I was originally nervous that it would sound too clean, but this record is really him – it’s 100 percent Tyler – with a twang.”
2. The death of Phil Everly inspired Tyler to make a country record.
Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta remembered the exact moment Tyler told him he wanted to work on a country album. “I went over to his table at a MusiCares event where he was sitting next to Leann Rimes,” Borchetta told RS. “I said, ‘Were you serious about a country album?’ and Tyler said, ‘Like a heart attack.'” Borchetta said Tyler’s record is inspired by Delta blues and Southern roots than Top 40 country. “I know [Steven] really wanted to get going after Phil Everly died in 2014,” he said. “It was something he always wanted to do.” Tyler credited the Everly Brothers as one of his early influences in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview.