In the current issue of Rolling Stone, we go inside the rift that threatens to tear Aerosmith apart — the dispute that began when Steven Tyler openly stated he wants to take two years off to work on “Brand Tyler,” leaving the remaining members of the band to ponder recruiting a new lead singer for their upcoming 40th anniversary. In Aerosmith in Turmoil: Behind the Story, Rolling Stone interviews Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford and the group’s longtime A&R rep John Kalodner to get their take on the state of Aerosmith, the hunt for a new singer and whether Tyler’s sobriety is to blame.
The roots of the band’s fallout stem back to when Tyler fell off the stage during a concert in Sturgis, South Dakota, this past summer, but Whitford tells Rolling Stone “there’s been a serious lack of commitment on [Tyler’s] part for a while. We’ve been trying to make an album for a few years and he’s been the guy that suddenly one day he just doesn’t show and the next thing we know he doesn’t want to work, he doesn’t like the producer, whatever.”
The band has also been divided regarding the sound of their next album. While Tyler prefers the more radio-friendly pop hits, Perry is in favor of a sound closer to ’70s Aerosmith. Perry admits that he’s “not a big fan” of the band’s last album of original music, Just Push Play, and Kramer tells RS that the tracks the band had been working on with producer Brendan O’Brien “were probably closer to old school Aerosmith stuff like Toys or Rocks.”
Perry, Kramer and Whitford all tell Rolling Stone that they haven’t had any direct communication with Tyler — the last time Perry called Tyler personally, the singer hung up on him — and instead rely on talking to Tyler’s management to relay messages to the frontman. Whitford and Kramer are both concerned that Tyler, who has a history of drug problems, might have relapsed. “His behavior suggests to me that he’s… he doesn’t act like a sober person,” Whitford says.
As for recruiting a new singer, “anything is possible at this point,” Perry says. “We are still trying to figure it out. Steven has made it pretty clear; he wants to go off and do what he wants to do. But the band isn’t going to wait around. Aerosmith is too good a band to sit around and twiddle their thumbs.” Adds Kramer: “We have a 40th anniversary coming up and we all would like to celebrate that with our fans out on the road and everybody deserves to take part in that, and that’s what we’ve been talking about. There’s really no way to replace Steven but like I said, Joe and Brad and Tom and I plan to, we want to continue to tour.”
For the rest of the interview with Perry, Kramer, Whitford and Aerosmith’s former A&R man John Kalodner, check out the full story below:
• Aerosmith in Turmoil: Behind the Story
• Aerosmith on Steven Tyler: “He Doesn’t Act Like a Sober Person”
• Aerosmith’s Kramer Speaks Out About Aerosmith Singer Search
• Exclusive: Joe Perry: Aerosmith’s Problems Far From Over