The rockiest marriage in rock & roll is apparentlygetting patched up. Whether love is in the air again for Aerosmith or the bandsimply succumbed to an offer they couldn't refuse, perhaps only Steven Tyler'sscarf maker knows for sure. But Britain'sDownload Festival announced they've booked the oft-bickering band for June. Canyou say "back in the saddle," headline writers of the world?
Tyler was quoted as being excited about returning to England, withno reference to the elephant in the room, i.e., the band's extremelywell-publicized fallout and, now, apparent reunion. "In the early days ofAerosmith we were infected with the vibe coming out of the UK with the Yardbirds,Blues Breakers, Pretty Things and the Stones, and we wanted what they had bad,"the press release had the singer saying. "So baby, we're coming home." (Dudelooks like a Londoner?)
Anyway, if Tyler and Joe Perry can be made to kiss andmake up, maybe the Brits can work the same reconciliatory magic on their nativeGallagher brothers?Relations among the members of Aerosmith were longpresumed to be tenuous, although they seemed to have bonded in the '90s withmutual stints in rehab and a shared antipathy toward their ex-manager. Butthings came to a head again last August after Tyler was injured in a fall fromthe stage and, according to other members, became unreachable when they wantedto resume touring and complete the album they'd been working on with producerBrendan O'Brien. The band made it clear they intended to continue with orwithout him. Perry went out on the road with his side project, the Joe PerryProject-only to be joined onstage one night by Tyler, who popped in just longenough to say he was still in Aerosmith, then disappeared again before the showwas over.
In December, the singer checked himself into rehab fora painkiller addiction. Earlier this month, Tyler's attorneys sent a cease and desistletter to Aerosmith's management, warning them that pursuing a replacementsinger could result in legal action.
Now, it looks like they will face off only in thecourt of rawk. Further reports have emerged today of an entire European tourbeing in the offing, with a Swedish festival gig confirmed for June 10, priorto the June 13 British concert.Thank God cooler hedge funds-er, heads-prevailed inthe end. The list of rumored ringers who might step in for Tyler was dispiriting, to say the least.Billy Idol? Lenny Kravitz? Really? INXS already went the contest route, and weall know how rewarding that proved. Van Halen is the only major band to eversuccessfully pull off a change of frontmen, and they had to prove they were theexception to the rule by trying to pull that switcheroo feat off for a secondtime and whiffing. More recently, Journey has sort of done it... if "huge in the Philippines"counts.
But it's hard not to wonder if there was somethingmore besides the promise of a lot of Euros at play in this rapprochement. Asin: Watching the Who play the Super Bowl halftime show this year, and thinkingback on several years in a row of classic-rock bands commandeering that stage,Tyler and Perry must have been thinking back on the 2001 Super Bowl, when theywere talked into sharing the stage with Britney Spears and 'N Sync, andthinking they got cheated. Here's betting Aerosmith want to come back and claimthe musical Vince Lombardi Trophy all for themselves.
- Steven Tyler