Steven Tyler Biography
He completed drug rehabilitation in 1986 and has subsequently maintained sobriety for over 20 years, aside from a painkiller addiction in the late 2000s, for which he successfully received treatment in 2009. After Aerosmith launched a remarkable comeback in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the albums Permanent Vacation, Pump, and Get a Grip, Tyler became a household name and has remained a relevant rock icon. As a result, he has since embarked on several solo endeavors including guest appearances on other artists' music as well as film and TV roles (including as a judge on American Idol). However, he has continued to record music and perform with Aerosmith, after more than 41 years in the band. He recently was included among Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers. He was also ranked 3rd on Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time. In 2001 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Aerosmith, and he was the presenter when AC/DC was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Before Aerosmith was formed, Tyler wrote what would become Aerosmith's signature song, "Dream On". In 1969, Tyler attended a local rock show in Sunapee, New Hampshire where he first saw future bandmates Joe Perry (guitars) and Tom Hamilton (Bass), who at the time were playing in a band called the Jam Band. Tyler later stated he was struck by their raw power and attitude. Around 1970, Tyler, Perry, and Hamilton decided to form a band. However, Tyler, who had typically performed drums in many of his previous bands, insisted that he be the frontman and lead singer of this band. Joey Kramer, a friend of Tyler's from New York, was recruited to play drums. They also added Tyler's boyhood friend Ray Tabano as a second guitarist. The band moved to Boston and shared a small apartment on Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton. Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford in 1971.
After spending time on the Boston club circuit under the tutelage of their first manager, Frank Connelly, the band began working with New York managers Steve Leber and David Krebs. Leber describes the band as "the closest thing I've ever seen to the Rolling Stones." On October, 1971, the managers arranged the gig at the legendary nightclub Max's Kansas City to showcase the group to record company executives. They subsequently signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1971 and released their eponymous debut album in 1973. This was followed by Get Your Wings in 1974. Around this time, Aerosmith continued to tour wherever they could, and opened for bands like Mott the Hoople. The band had a minor hit in "Dream On", which peaked at #59 in 1973, but it wasn't until the back-to-back releases of Toys in the Attic (1975) and Rocks (1976) that Aerosmith broke into the mainstream. In 1975, they achieved their first Top 40 hit in "Sweet Emotion". Soon after, "Dream On" was re-released and hit #6 in 1976, followed by another Top 10 hit "Walk This Way". Additionally, Rocks produced the hit singles "Last Child", "Back in the Saddle", and "Home Tonight". By 1976, Aerosmith found themselves headlining huge stadiums and major rock music festivals. 1977's Draw the Line continued this success, and they were catapulted to international fame and recognition, launching tours in Europe and Japan. A series of Hot 100 hits continued throughout the remainder of the decade, including "Draw the Line", "Kings and Queens", and "Chip Away the Stone". Aerosmith's first five albums have also all since gone multi-platinum, and all five are considered to be among the greatest hard rock albums of all time. Aerosmith toured heavily throughout the mid to late 1970s, and their live shows during this time period were captured through 1978's live album Live Bootleg! and the 1989 VHS release Live Texxas Jam '78. 1978 also saw Tyler make his acting debut as the leader of The Future Villain Band in the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, alongside his fellow Aerosmith bandmates. The film also spawned Aerosmith's cover of the Beatles hit "Come Together", which would be Aerosmith's last Top 40 single for nine years.
As the decade wore on, the fast-paced life of touring, recording, living together, and using drugs began to take its toll on the band. Tyler and Perry often were called the Toxic Twins for their legendary intake of stimulants and heroin. Their relationship is well documented in many of Aerosmith's video releases as well as in the Aerosmith Behind the Music. In August 1979, after a huge fight at a concert in Cleveland, Perry left Aerosmith to begin his own band, The Joe Perry Project. Night in the Ruts was released that fall, and Aerosmith forged on with new guitarist Jimmy Crespo. In the fall of 1980, Tyler was injured in a serious motorcycle crash that left him hospitalized for two months and unable to tour or record for much of 1981. When the band re-convened to begin recording, Tyler formed a writing partnership with Crespo, co-writing and producing the album Rock in a Hard Place (1982). Brad Whitford had left in 1981, shortly after recording the guitar parts for the album's lead single, "Lightning Strikes". Whitford was replaced by Rick Dufay, and the band continued to tour into 1983. Tyler's drug abuse increasingly became problematic, and he collapsed on-stage.
On February 14, 1984, Perry and Whitford, who left the band in 1979 and 1981 respectively, showed up at an Aerosmith show. According to the band's Behind the Music special on VH1, Tyler alleges he made the first phone call to Perry encouraging them to meet up again. Backstage, they all met, and Perry and Whitford agreed to join the band once again. With the new reunion, the band also fired their managers Leber and Krebs, hired new manager Tim Collins (who was managing Joe Perry) and signed a new record contract with Geffen Records.
Aerosmith embarked on a reunion tour, the "Back in the Saddle Tour", and proceeded to record once again, releasing Done with Mirrors in 1985. The band was still using drugs, however, especially Tyler, who collapsed at a show in Springfield, Illinois, on the 1984 tour. In 1986, the band held a meeting in which the band members staged an intervention on Tyler and convinced him to enter a drug rehabilitation program.
After Tyler had successfully completed rehab, every other member of Aerosmith eventually followed suit; all had successfully exited their respective programs at various times in the mid-late 1980s.
Aerosmith rose to prominence again when Tyler and Perry appeared on Run–D.M.C.'s cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" in 1986, a track that combined elements of hip-hop and rock, that broke down the barriers between the two genres, broke rap into the mainstream, and introduced Aerosmith to a new generation. The track hit #4 on the charts and launched a famous music video that saw heavy rotation. This paved the way for Aerosmith to mount a significant comeback. Tyler and Perry renewed their songwriting partnership but were now also working with outside songwriting collaborators brought in by the record company, like Desmond Child and Jim Vallance. In addition, to help give Aerosmith a slick sound that would be accessible to mainstream audiences, they were receiving help from producer Bruce Fairbairn and A&R man John Kalodner. Aerosmith released Permanent Vacation in 1987, which became a huge multi-platinum success and launched three Top 20 hits ("Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "Angel", and "Rag Doll"). The band launched a tour with the emerging Guns N' Roses opening many shows. Permanent Vacation was followed by 1989's Pump, which was even more successful, selling 7 million copies and producing three Top 10 hits ("Love in an Elevator", "Janie's Got a Gun", and "What it Takes") and one Top 40 hit ("The Other Side"). Pump in particular saw Tyler expand his musical horizons, co-writing the innovative hit "Janie's Got a Gun", which won the band their first Grammy award. The band toured with many up-and-coming acts and performed in locations like Australia for the first time. In the late 1980s, Tyler also guested on albums by comedian Sam Kinison, Alice Cooper (a fellow 70s rocker also launching a successful comeback) and popular contemporaries Mötley Crüe. Around that time, Tyler and Perry also appeared at a Bon Jovi concert in Milton Keynes and performed "Walk This Way".
With the twin successes of Permanent Vacation and Pump, the band became an MTV sensation and Tyler became a household name. The band were featured on a "Wayne's World" sketch on Saturday Night Live in 1990, which is ranked as the #1 moment of all time on the show. That same year, Aerosmith recorded one of the first episodes of MTV Unplugged. In 1991, Aerosmith was one of the first bands to be featured on The Simpsons. That year, the band also signed a $30 million record deal with their old label Columbia, which they would begin recording for later that decade. The box set Pandora's Box was released by Columbia in late 1991, and the band filmed a music video for "Sweet Emotion" to promote the release. Earlier in the year, the band also performed "Dream On" with an orchestra at MTV's 10th Anniversary celebration; their filmed performance was used as the official video for the song. After a brief break, the band returned to the studio in 1992 to record their next album. The band's A&R man John Kalodner criticized some of the early material being considered for this album, targeting Tyler's sexually profane lyrics in particular. As Tyler was no longer using drugs, some members of the band and their management had believed Tyler had now become a sex addict.
However, the band eventually began recording again and released Get a Grip in 1993, which became their most successful album worldwide, selling over 15 million copies and producing a series of hit singles ("Livin' on the Edge", "Cryin'", "Amazing", "Crazy"). While the album saw mixed reviews and received some criticism for over-using outside collaborators, Aerosmith won more awards during this time than any other, winning two Grammy Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, two American Music Awards, a People's Choice award, and a Billboard Award. The band became well-known for their videos at this time, which featured film-like storylines and up-and-coming actors and actresses like Edward Furlong, Stephen Dorff, Jason London, Josh Holloway, and most notably Alicia Silverstone. Tyler's daughter Liv made her acting debut in the band's video for "Crazy" in 1994. The band also launched their biggest and most extensive tour yet, performing over 240 shows in nearly 30 countries, including touring Latin America for the first time and performing in many European countries for the first time.
After the 18-month long Get a Grip Tour ended in December 1994, the band took a break in 1995 to spend time with their families. This break was needed due to the grueling lifestyle of the previous 10 years under the helm of manager Tim Collins, who helped orchestrate much of the band's comeback and sustained success. Tyler and Perry also began writing for a new album, and the band performed a couple one-off shows in Boston to try out the new material, and vacationed together with their families in Florida. Aerosmith, however, almost broke up after the band's manager spread rumors that band members were saying bad things about each other and that Tyler was being unfaithful to his wife and using drugs again during recording sessions in Miami. The band subsequently fired Collins in 1996 in the middle of recording for their next album. In 1997, they released Nine Lives, which went double platinum, launched three hits ("Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)", "Hole in My Soul", and "Pink"), and won the band their fourth Grammy for "Pink". They toured for over two years in support of the album. In 1997, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were featured in a commercial for the Gap. That fall, the band's tell-all autobiography was released.
In 1998, while on tour in support of Nine Lives, Tyler suffered a ligament injury when his mic stand came crashing into his knee. Tyler and the band finished the show, but they had to cancel several dates, and Tyler had to wear a leg cast while filming the video for "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". The song was the band's first #1 hit and the only song to date by a rock band to debut at #1 on the Hot 100. It has since become a slow-dance staple, and at the time introduced Aerosmith and Steven Tyler to yet another new generation. The song was written for the film Armageddon, which featured Tyler's daughter Liv.
In 1999, Tyler and Perry joined Kid Rock and Run–D.M.C. to perform "Walk This Way" at the MTV Video Music Awards. Earlier that year, the band saw the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith open at Walt Disney World.
In 2001, Aerosmith played at the Super Bowl XXXV Halftime Show and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band also released the album Just Push Play, which featured the Top 10 hit "Jaded". The band went on tour again in the summer of 2001, and since then Aerosmith has toured every year, except 2008. After the September 11 attacks, the band performed at the benefit concert "United We Stand" in Washington, D.C. Tyler donned a full-length jacket featuring the American flag, and the band performed a brief set including the numbers "Livin' on the Edge" and "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing". The band flew back to Indianapolis to perform a show that same night.
In 2002, Aerosmith's two-hour long Behind the Music was released, chronicling the band's tumultuous history and current activities and touring. They were also honored as MTV Icons. In the summer, they released the compilation O, Yeah! The Ultimate Aerosmith Hits, which went double platinum and included the new track "Girls of Summer", which spawned a namesake tour with Kid Rock and Run–D.M.C. opening.
In 2003, Tyler received an honorary degree from Berklee College of Music, and, in 2005, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2003, Tyler also inducted AC/DC into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tyler sang with AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson for a performance of "You Shook Me All Night Long". Later in the year, Tyler went on tour with Aerosmith for the Rocksimus Maximus Tour with KISS.
In 2004, Aerosmith released the blues cover album Honkin' on Bobo and launched a brief tour with Cheap Trick, focused on smaller markets. That summer, Tyler starred in a commercial for Sony's Cyber-shot camera, which also included the Aerosmith song "The Grind", a new song featured on Honkin' on Bobo. Later that year, Tyler sang the National Anthem to kick off the 2004 World Series at Fenway Park. The 2004 film The Polar Express featured Tyler singing "Rockin' on Top of the World" alongside a group of computer-animated elves resembling Aerosmith.
In 2005, Tyler sang lead vocals on Santana's hit single "Just Feel Better" and made a cameo appearance in the film Be Cool.
In 2006, after recovering from throat surgery and the grueling Rockin' the Joint Tour, Steven Tyler performed with Joe Perry and the Boston Pops Orchestra for the orchestra's annual Fourth of July concert, his first major public appearance since the surgery. During the concert, which was broadcast nationally on CBS, Tyler, Perry, and the orchestra performed a medley of "Walk This Way", "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "Dream On". That year, Tyler also recorded a duet with country music artist Keith Anderson, titled "Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll". The song, a remixed version of a song found on Anderson's debut album, was released as a single on the U.S. Hot Country Songs charts.
Later that year, the Aerosmith compilation Devil's Got a New Disguise was released, which included two new tracks. Tyler hit the road with Aerosmith again for the Route of All Evil Tour with Mötley Crüe and also made several more public appearances. He made a cameo appearance on the sitcom Two and a Half Men, playing himself. On October 14, 2006, Tyler sang "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at Game #3 of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. On November 24, he volunteered by serving Thanksgiving dinner to the needy at a restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida, before an Aerosmith show there.
In 2007, Tyler kept active in Aerosmith with the band's world tour which saw them perform in 19 countries. Also that year, Tyler and daughter Liv were profiled on E! True Hollywood Story.
On May 21, 2008, Tyler checked into Las Encinas Hospital rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena, California, to recover from multiple leg surgeries. He made a public statement saying that "The 'foot repair' pain was intense, greater than I'd anticipated. The months of rehabilitative care and the painful strain of physical therapy were traumatic. I really needed a safe environment to recuperate where I could shut off my phone and get back on my feet." In June 2008, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was released, the franchise's first video game based solely around one band and the most successful game based around a band. On July 14, 2008, Tyler's mother, Susan Ray Tallarico, died at the age of 84. On July 18, 2008, Steven Tyler appeared with Billy Joel at the last concert to be played at Shea Stadium. Backed by Joel's band, he sang lead vocals on "Walk This Way". In August 2008 HarperCollins won an auction to publish Tyler's autobiography. That same month, Tyler performed with trumpeter Chris Botti in Boston. In December 2008, Tyler made a surprise appearance at the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts at Nassau Coliseum (December 12, 2008) and the Izod Center (December 13, 2008). At the Izod Center, he collaborated with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on "Dream On" and "Sweet Emotion".
On August 5, 2009, while on the Guitar Hero Aerosmith Tour, Tyler fell off a stage near Sturgis, South Dakota, injuring his head and neck and breaking his shoulder. He was airlifted to Rapid City Regional Hospital. Aerosmith was forced to cancel the rest of their 2009 tour, except for two shows in Hawaii in October. Back in 2007, Aerosmith had to cancel their first concert in Maui, which resulted in a class action lawsuit involving 8,000 plaintiffs. Attendees received tickets and, in some cases, reimbursements for out of pocket expenses. The band also performed in early November at an auto race in Abu Dhabi.
On November 9, 2009, it was reported that Steven Tyler had no contact with the other members of Aerosmith and that they were unsure if he was still in the band. On November 10, 2009, Joe Perry confirmed that Steven Tyler had quit Aerosmith to pursue a solo career and was unsure whether the move was indefinite. No replacement was announced. Despite rumors of leaving the band, and notwithstanding Perry's comment as reported earlier the same day, Tyler joined The Joe Perry Project onstage November 10, 2009, at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza and performed "Walk This Way." According to sources at the event, Tyler assured the crowd that despite rumors to the contrary, he is "not quitting Aerosmith." On December 22, 2009, Rolling Stone reported that Tyler had checked into rehab for pain management.
In 2010, Steven Tyler embarked on the Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock Tour with Aerosmith, which saw them perform over 40 concerts in 18 countries. On September 16, 2010, it was reported that Tyler would have his first solo project. He wrote "Love Lives", which serves as a theme song for the Japanese sci-fi movie Space Battleship Yamato. The song was based on the English translated script, as well as on some clips of the film itself. The single was released on November 24, a week before the movie was released. A preview of the single can be heard in the movie's trailers. On September 22, 2010, Fox confirmed that Tyler would join American Idol as a member of the judging panel for the program's tenth season, alongside Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez. In December 2010, Tyler performed at the Kennedy Center Honors, honoring Paul McCartney by performing several tracks from Abbey Road.
On January 19, 2011, Tyler made his debut appearance as a judge on American Idol, during the premiere of the show's tenth season, which will air through the end of May. On April 2, 2011, Tyler presented an award at the 2011 Kids' Choice Awards. The following day, Steven Tyler performed with Carrie Underwood at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Underwood and Tyler performed Underwood's song "Undo It" and completed their segment with an energetic version of the Aerosmith classic "Walk This Way". On May 3, 2011, Tyler will release his autobiography Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? The book will be accompanied by the new single "Feels So Good". In addition, during breaks in between Idol, Tyler has been working on new material for Aerosmith's next studio album.