Excerpts from NINE LIVES . . . LIVE FOR TEN
By Michael Baxter
According to Steven Tyler, it started from a single promise: "Rock 'til I drop." But after more than 20 years as American's
Hometown Band, Aerosmith has found that real success comes from a well-tuned mix of hard work, family and sobriety.
IS STILL A RUSH
After all the shows and all the years, Aerosmith continues to rock to an inner beat that grabbed on when
they were kids and still won't let go. "Where did it start?" asked Tyler in the familiar, raspy voice. "Sitting in class
and thinking that this afternoon I'm going to set up my drums and play with some band in the lunchroom. Or maybe, tonight
we're going to play the Jewish Center in Mount Vernon. It was a chance to do the Saturday night shows and little skits as
a kid every summer in my aunt and uncle's barn at Lake Sunapee (New Hampshire)."
"I must have been 13 when I realized
that being a man meant that I'd have to go out and get a job and work someday. I've had experience bagging groceries at the
A&P, and putting on a tuxedo and playing with my father's band. So, given the choice, I think I'll take the latter," he said
with a laugh.
Decades later the "rush" continues to come, thought now from more sizable shows and venues as proven
by the incredibly successful Nine Lives tour, currently winding down its American leg. "After all these years I'm still enthralled
by it all," Tyler said. "It's having a $300,000 stage show with 70 guys, five semi-trucks and six buses that pull into a
different town every night."
And, just how tough is it to cram 20-years of music into a two-hour concert? "Well,
it's like trying to stuff 30lbs. of crap into a 5lb. bag," he said.
WALK THIS WAY . . . THE BOOK
Debuting at No.
12 on The New York Times best-seller list in October (1997), Walk This Way, the autobiography of Aerosmith, is a tremendously
personal and candid account of the band that "made living on the edge an art form."
Given all the antics and episodes
with drug use and rehab, Tyler and the rest of the band found it difficult at times being so open in print. "You can tell
who did and who didn't put the most in," he said. "I mean, some of the guys thought it was detrimental, so they left things
out. As for me, I said let it fly!"
THE FAMILY GUY
Tyler readily admits to having a split personality. "Oh,
yeah. There's this one who's the rock 'n' roller, and then there's the guy who loves his family and the country life," he
said. "I've got a house and a lawn that I mow, I have garbage pales that I love to empty, gutters to rake and cats that need
combing. I have a life that I love.
IT'S ALL GOOD
"When I decided to turn my life around I realized that I had
been around the world and still hadn't been anywhere," Tyler said. "I want to be able to relive all this great stuff someday,
so we're staying sober, and taking time for ourselves and our families."
Steven Tyler and Aerosmith have lived nine
lives and now they're seriously living for number 10.