Q&A: Steven Tyler - Rolling Stone
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Q&A: Steven Tyler

On Aerosmith’s unlikely return, his future on ‘American Idol’ and four crazy decades on the road

Steven TylerSteven Tyler

Steven Tyler (L) and musician Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno at NBC Studios, Burbank, CA on January 20th, 2012

Kevin Winter/NBC Universal/Getty

For 40 years, Aerosmith endured as one of rock’s biggest, most dysfunctional acts. “With the amount of tumult that being in a rock & roll band brings— the marriages, the kids, the money — we can still fucking pop out a couple more songs that people actually want to hear,” says frontman Steven Tyler. Now that he’s wrapped his second season as an American Idol judge, Tyler is all about Aerosmith: They’re back on the road this summer for a huge U.S. arena tour, and their first all-new album in 11 years, Music From Another Dimension, is due out in November. “We still have something to prove,” Tyler says. “Not to the world, but to each other.”

You postponed your July 3rd show in Virginia. What happened?
I wish they could change my vocal cords like guitar strings. One of the things I’ve realized is you don’t want to blow out your voice and cancel a tour. So I made a pit stop to see my throat doctor. When I can’t hit the high notes, I feel like I’ve blown a tire. And you can’t run a race with a flat tire.

Are you in pain during shows?
Well, they took the nerves out of my foot, so I don t really feel my toes and shit. And my knee hurts from the ACL reconstruction. But the music is so much fuck­ing stronger than that. As long as I get a day or two off between shows, I’m fucking golden.

You’ve been opening shows lately with 1977’s “Draw the Line,” in which you sing, “Car­rie . . . was a wet-nap winner.” Can you explain that lyric?
Well, a wet-nap is something that you wipe babies’ asses with. Back in the day, if you were lucky enough to grab a stewardess on a plane and you came out of the bathroom, all you had to clean up with was a wet-nap. The best lyrics are like the scrambled eggs you have in your head about a situation. And I’ve got this uncanny way of weaving shit together. To be honest, in everyday dealings, I’ll talk to people, and they go, “What the fuck are you talking about?”

I bet they do!
So now I just tell em, “You know what? Fuck you. At least I can sing good and write a good song now and again, so go fuck yourself.”

Does it kill you that the album’s release date has been pushed from August to November?
Fuck, yeah. But good things are worth wait­ing for, my friend. There were people, even in Aerosmith’s management, that never thought we’d make another record. We proved them wrong, again.

Have you had a chance to listen to the whole record?
Yeah — I woke up in New York City and took a helicopter out to East Hampton in my pajamas. I peeled off all my clothes on the beach and walked off into the sand dunes in my leopard-print under­wear to listen to the record. It was beautiful. I put the head­phones on [daughter] Liv for a song called “Another Last Goodbye,” and, shit, we both started crying.

Will you do another season of Idol?
I don t know. Its TV, man. Even in a band, you can get replaced.

Your bandmates reportedly audi­tioned new sing­ers after you joined Idol in 2010.
I kind of like to think l’m the best singer for Aerosmith. The band was really pissed off — they were jealous. But I was pissed at them for not coming to my aid.

You mean after you fell off the stage in 2009?
Yeah. It was a mudfest, the stage was soaking wet. There were tor­nado warnings! It wasn’t just, “Tyler was doing drugs.”

How do you get past those grievances within the band?
When we get on tour, we realize the one adage that’s always been true about Aerosmith: We love being onstage, because that’s the only thing we fucking do good, man. We can fight and hate and be angry, but for the few moments we’re onstage, life stands still and the sun comes down

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