Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Steve Tyler's new drama has reminded me how much I love Aerosmith

Did you ever have a favorite desk lamp that sat unused in a corner of the closet, and then one day, you jostled it and knocked it over, and it broke, and you were struck with a rush of sadness, even though you hadn't even plugged it in for, like, six years?

Or a favorite ice cream store that you hadn't been to since you were a small child, but one day you drove past it and happened to notice that it was closed because of the recession, and some small part of you was crushed by its disappearance, even though you're a vegan now and it was under new ownership anyway?

Or maybe you had a porno mag that you hid under a floorboard, and one day, many years later, you realized that you forgot about it when you moved, and you know it wasn't even that great, but you were like, "Oooh... but that was my very first Juggs."

Or maybe somebody assassinates Dan Quayle, and it's like, who cares? He's not even a public personality any more. But secretly, you mourn him, because you actually really liked him back when he was in office.

No?

Well, I had an experience kind of like all four of those when I found out Steven Tyler left Aerosmith. Apparently, he fell off stage during a concert at Abu Dhabi, and declared himself pretty much dissociated from the band. They tried to pull it back together and start looking for a new singer, but there's something a little grotesque about the idea of Aerosmith getting a new vocalist at this point in the band's career. Steven Tyler was a true front-man, the face and body of the band, and even with him in place, they were already well on their way into obscurity. Even in the best of circumstances, a revival would have been difficult, and without Steve, it's pretty dead in the water, I think.

Although I'd love to be proven wrong. For serious. And now I'm hearing that he's not out of the band... it's just a little personal drama, he's mad, people aren't talking, he might take a few years off, but maybe he's sad that Aerosmith didn't call him after he left, and he's wondering, is Joe sad that he left? Do they even care? But he can't hang out with them again right away, cause things are still weird. But if he happens to be at one of their New York concerts, he'll stop by their dressing room and say hi, at least.

Anyway, I'd hardly have noticed that stuff... like, I wouldn't have noticed if Mick Jagger left the Stones... except that Aerosmith was probably my first musical loyalty. I fell in love with Get a Grip when I was young enough that my parents thought the lyrics were inappropriate for me. I then grew with the band, and I listened a little to Nine Lives and Big Ones, but I still remember the band by their 90's epics: Pump, Get a Grip, and Permanent Vacation. I have to say, Pump is my favorite album, and The Other Side is my favorite song. Janie's Got a Gun is by far my favorite video.

I eventually fell in love with the younger spirit of punk rock, but I always held onto Aerosmith as my vision of real rock and roll, with its lewd combination of cheap glamour and grizzly cynicism. Tyler was a fresh face in entertainment for a little while, but he was never a spritely youth... he's always had this weathered, self-destructive, crinkled old man inside his body, so much so that he seems like he's always been dying, but will never fully expire. Maybe you could say the same about the band, too, although it's easier to see it when you've got the howling banshee face and the skeleton body for reference.

I know this post has been a bit self-serving, but sometimes I just want to write a tribute, instead of an analysis. So here's to you, Aerosmith-as-Tyler-and-Perry, whether you're dying or just acting out some old-man drama. Thanks for making some news again.

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