It began with the unexpected guest appearance of Steven Tyler at a Joe Perry gig in New York City last fall. After months of uncertainty about whether the group would ever be able to reconcile their differences with their troubled frontman, he announced to the audience that he was not leaving Aerosmith.
Things had turned a bit nasty following the disastrous and abrupt end to Aerosmith’s 2009 summer tour after Tyler slipped and fell from the stage during a performance at the Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota. His fellow band members suspected he had fallen back under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and after a period of public denial, Tyler finally entered rehab to beat an addiction to pain killers.
Disappointed over the sudden end to their tour, and baffled by Tyler’s unusual behavior leading up to the Sturgis event, the group began to make noises about replacing Tyler with another singer. Tyler responded by informing them that he would sue them if they tried. It may have been the low point of the whole saga. It seemed as if Aerosmith’s wings might have been clipped for good. Maybe they would have continued without Tyler, but would it really be Aerosmith without him?
During February, everyone seemed to realize what was at stake, and common sense seemed to take the place of threats, posturing and rock star egos. Perhaps the remaining members realized they needed Tyler and he realized he needed them. A meeting was scheduled.
As bass player Tom Hamilton tells the Boston Herald, everyone showed up at their rehearsal studio in a state that he described as “all lawyered up.” In time, it’s apparent that things loosened up enough for the serious discussions to begin, and for the assembled musicians and management personnel to realize that the best thing to do was put the pieces back together and become a band once again.
During the turbulent period of uncertainty that engulfed the band, they were reminded that their fans had not given up on them. “The phone was ringing. People wanted to see the band,” Hamilton said. That seems to have provided the much-needed incentive for the group to reconcile their differences and get back to work.
Dates have been set for a summer tour that will take the group to South America, Europe, and then home again to perform for two nights at Boston’s Fenway Park with fellow hometown rockers the J. Giels Band.
Things are looking up for Aerosmith, and there’s little doubt that loyal fans will fill venues to see the Bad Boys back together again. At the same time, many fans are probably hoping that good judgment and discipline will keep the group intact and rocking as far into the future as they care to.