U.K.'s Uncut magazine (web site) conducted an interview with AEROSMITH frontman Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry for its February 2007 issue. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Uncut: Does AEROSMITH mean as much to you now as it did 30 years ago?
Tyler: It's different and yet, it's not so very different. We started out wanting to be like Janis Joplin, drinking Jack Daniels onstage and singing your ass off. Then you become successful and it's a fucking miracle, but your ego freaks out and everything becomes secondary to the band for the simple reason that you wouldn't have anything if it wasn't for the band. Now we have families and, of course, the families come first. But, if a family member passes away and we have a show to do, then the show must go on and we deal with the rest later.
Uncut: You were big fans of the NEW YORK DOLLS in your early days. In a just world, would the DOLLS have been as mega-successful as AEROSMITH became?
Perry: I don't think it has anything to do with a just world. It has to do with what it takes to keep a band together in the face of all the adversity. If anything, the DOLLS had more advantages than AEROSMITH in that they were darlings of the New York press and all that. Most bands struggled to get one-tenth of the recognition they got, and they just pissed it all away. They were the first band that I loved that I watched self-destruct. What I learnt from that is that it's not enough to get your foot in the door. You need to keep your foot there, get the rest of you in there and keep it all there.
Uncut: Should we ever become as filthy-rich as AEROSMITH, what's the best investment? A plane, a house, or a club?
Tyler: The most ridiculous purchase I ever made was my own plane. Cost me nearly a million dollars. The guy that flew me around also sold my coke. Then there was this one time when we flew into a thunderstorm and this plane looked for awhile like it wasn't going to make it. I sold it shortly after for a good profit. Forget clubs, man. Planes and property, you'll always make a profit.
Uncut: What's the best AEROSMITH album and the worst?
Tyler: The best would have to be "Toys in the Attic" (1975) or "Rocks" (1976). Then again "Pump" (1989) is pretty amazing. There's a few AEROSMITH albums I choose not to remember anymore. But the worst would have to be one of those many "Greatest Hits" that the record company put out in the '90s without our permission when we should have had our eyes on the ball but were, ahem, otherwise occupied.
Perry: For me, the worst ever was "Done with Mirrors" (1985). At that time, we were trying to make an album that was a bit like the old AEROSMITH and a bit like where we wanted to be heading. Those songs weren't completely lacking in inspiration, but little of it added up. That has to be our weakest record. Our strongest has to be "Get a Grip" (1993). It feels like a point of culmination that record, where we realized our potential and brought it right up front. I'm not surprised that songs like "Eat the Rich" and "Livin' on the Edge" have survived the test of time.
Uncut: Have you ever been embarassed or dissappointed at meeting your idols?
Tyler: I don't know about dissappointed or embarassed, but my first meeting with Paul McCartney was certainly memorable. I was in a backstage urinal at the Hammersmith Odeon. McCartney walked in, started doing what people do in urinals. For the record, I did not check his size out. But I'm taking this piss that seems to be taking forever, and Paul says, "Hey! Steven Tyler. I fucking love your music." And he gives me the famous thumbs up with his one free hand. Well, that snapped my stream, right there. It turned out to be quite a night, that one. I recall fat ones being smoked and a lot of wrestling around on the floor.
Uncut: There's a famous story about AEROSMITH playing a gig in the '70s when you came on stage having decided to reverse your set list. You played your encore song first and, then, assuming you'd done the entire show, walked off stage. Any truth to it?
Perry: It's a great story and it never goes away. Unfortunately it's not true. We've done some dumb things onstage but nothing as dumb as that. Having said that, there was one occasion where we played the same song twice because we'd forgotten we'd already played it. That might seem funny to some people, but we're not proud of it. It was that kind of sh*t that stopped people coming to our shows.