In its heyday, hard rock band Aerosmith was known just as well for its music as it was for its hard partying, and Steven Tyler was the baddest rock star around, doing drugs, destroying hotel rooms, chasing Playboy bunnies, you name it. “I’ve had the clap twice now so . . . you really have to be careful,” Tyler told a reporter at the time. “This pace is ruining me . . . I put on three coats of moisturizer in the morning so my face doesn’t dry out . . . I’m on a plane every day for three years. Flying first-class — big deal. All it means is you’ll hit first.” Yikes. But now, the 62-year-old rock legend is reinventing himself as a somewhat sassy, friendly American Idol judge, replacing the crotchety Simon Cowell. “The sparkle in your eye is, like, forget about it,” he told one contestant. “I will finish that off with a double helping of ooh-yeah.” Really awkward, especially considering his age, but nicer than Simon Cowell, to be sure, and not the least bit reminiscent of his old hard-edged ways. In the wake of his new persona, fans and friends are calling midlife-crisis, complaining that he’s totally selling out in his efforts to rebrand himself and blaming everyone from his ex-wife to his new 30-something girlfriend.
“It’s the stupidest thing he’s ever done in his life,” Kid Rock told EW last year. “He’s a sacred American institution of rock ‘n’ roll, and he just threw it all out the window. Just stomped on it and set it on fire.” Um, burn. Kid Rock may think Tyler has tarnished his reputation, but some think the decision is an indicator of something worse. “The whole thing spells midlife crisis, but he’s past midlife now,” said writer Stephen Davis, who penned the band’s autobiography. “I don’t know if his girlfriend is the brains behind this decision. Steven broke off with Aerosmith’s management. We don’t know if he’s sober.”
Well, some might say you’d have to be on something to agree to be a judge on American Idol, but then again, with a reported $18 million contract, maybe not. Tyler apparently didn’t even inform Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry, who had to read about it in the paper. Tyler’s bandmates are understandably upset — it’s likely that Idol will seriously limit the amount of time Tyler has to record or tour with Aerosmith, and so his involvement may affect the finances and personal lives of the other members of the group significantly. That’s not very rock-and-roll, and it’s not very nice either.
What do you think? Is Tyler totally selling out and giving up his rock-hero history for a nice paycheck and new teenaged fans? Or is he simply evolving and aging gracefully? Let us know in the comments!