After a disastrous summer tour marred by long simmering internal tensions, injuries, and poor ticket sales, it appears that Aerosmith and frontman Steven Tyler may be parting ways. “Steven quit as far as I can tell,” guitarist Joe Perry told the Las Vegas Sun late last week. “I saw online that Steven said that he was going to leave the band. I don’t know for how long, indefinitely or whatever.” Perry said he and his fellow Aerosmith bandmates usually have “no contact” with Tyler.
Following a November 1st gig in front of 50,000 in Abu Dhabi, the band had become so frustrated Tyler — who recently hired his own manager and began working on his first solo album — that guitarist Brad Whitford spoke openly about touring with a new singer. “Nobody could replace Steven or imitate him — he’s one of a kind,” Whitford said to a British reporter. “But if somebody was willing to do it and the chemistry was right, why not?” Perry, meanwhile, wouldn’t confirm whether they’d proceed with a different singer. “I really don’t know what path it’s going to take at this point,” he told the Sun, “but we’ll probably find somebody else that will sing in those spots where we need a singer and then we’ll be able to move the Aerosmith up a notch, move the vibe up a notch.”
For years, Perry and Tyler — who co-wrote most of Aerosmith’s hits — have been unable to agree on a direction for the band’s music. As a result, it’s been nearly a decade since the group released an album of new material, despite repeated stints in the studio. “[We] haven’t written a song together alone in the same room in over ten years, so there’s been some changes in paradigm of what Aerosmith is,” Perry said to the AP in September. Tyler wants more slick, pop-rock hits like 2000’s “Jaded,” while Perry is still fighting for the harder, bluesy sound of their Seventies records. (Perry is currently on the road in support of a new solo album.) Of 2001’s Just Push Play, Perry told Rolling Stone recently, “Sometimes I listen to that record, and I’m not sure that it’s my band. All I want to do is make a record that sounds like Aerosmith.” In June, Perry told Rolling Stone that he was excited about his solo set. “I could play you three things right now and you’d go ‘dude, what was that?!'” he said.
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This summer’s injury-plagued amphitheater tour — three different band members were hospitalized during the trek — only seemed to make tensions worse. Tyler suffered two major injuries: After the first, an unspecified onstage leg injury in July, Tyler said the band’s management asked him to perform in a wheelchair. “I just wouldn’t do it,” Tyler told Rolling Stone. Then, Tyler fell off of the stage during a show in South Dakota on August 6th, breaking his shoulder and requiring twenty stitches to his head. The tour was cancelled, and ten days later, Tyler — who has struggled with addiction for decades and was in rehab as recently as last year — was photographed buying alcohol in Massachusetts. Tyler told Rolling Stone that the liquor was for a close friend’s funeral. “I did not buy any for myself,” Tyler said. “It was for the wake, I would do it over and over a million times.”
Neither Perry nor Tyler responded to requests for comment.
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