The lights go down and all three bands exit the stage. Kid Rock, Run DMC and Aerosmith have just finished performing the most widely embraced song in rock history, "Walk This Way." The cheers are deafening at the Mars Music Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. Fans are chanting Steven! Steven! Steven! Venue security pulls 2 fans off the stage front. The lights flash on and the concert is officially over. Disappointed fans, hoping for another encore stomp their way towards the exits. Who says endangered species go extinct? Steven Tyler would be a prime example that they don't. Three decades after Aerosmith's inception, they are still touring the world and continue to make women swoon.
A reason for their continued success? A strong argument could be made that, while the band draws on inspiration from the constantly evolving music scene, they don't lose sight of what is essential and timeless in great rock & roll.
"The blues are our fuckin' roots," Steven Tyler frankly remarked. "A lot of other bands dress up like I used to dress, but there's no fuckin' middle to what they play. No soul. There's no main vein running down the middle of it." Fronted by the 54 year old, spandex wearing, big lipped singing sensation Tyler, whose singing style is a powerful wailing voice, Aerosmith is currently in Florida where we caught up with them in the middle of their 2002 US Tour. They've had their ups and downs over the years from severe substance abuse problems, but what rock stars haven't? Tyler started his singing career at a Presbyterian church in the Bronx, where, for 6 years, he sang in the choir. After numerous unsuccessful bands, he stumbled upon Joe Perry at his summer home in New Hampshire. The two of them began recruiting band members. Shortly thereafter, they met Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer. Formed in 1970, the band moved to Boston. In 1972, they were signed to Colombia Records. In 1973, they released their self-titled debut. They were quickly flying high as one of America's greatest bands. But substance abuse began taking over. Their lifestyles began to take their toll and the band decided to take a break. A few years later, they decided to try again, but couldn't produce hits like they had in previous years. In 1986, Aerosmith teamed up with Run DMC to make an updated version of the band's "Walk This Way," and their career was instantly revived. In the 90's, post-rehab, Aerosmith staged one of the biggest comebacks in Rock N' Roll history.
"There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think to myself how lucky this band is to still be here, and to be able to rock 'n' roll as we're still doing." said the Aerosmith frontman.
Steven was born Steven Victor Tallarico on March 26, 1948 in Great Neck, New York. He has four children-Liv Tyler with former girlfriend and Aerosmith groupie Bebe Buell; Mia Tyler with ex-wife Cyrinda Foxe; and Chelsea and Taj Tyler with current wife Theresa Barrick. From this description, Tyler fits the bill of any rock star. After sitting in a room with him for five minutes, its clear that he is anything but ordinary.
The recent recipient of VH1's Rock Style Award, Tyler's clothing is absolutely exquisite. "You have no idea how much it costs to look this cheap," was his response when asked about his threads.
He owes it all to Theresa. His wife currently scours Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles for funky clothing that can be torn up or combined to make the outfits that he kicks, jumps, and plays in-and apparently its paying off. Tyler's fashion has been mimicked throughout the rock world but he remains the last one standing.
"Ratt and Motley Crue copied all my clothes and everything and it's like me saying 'Well I'm gonna go out in my dungarees, what I have on now, and play. ' F#?k that! I started something great, I'm proud of it, I love it and if they copy me that's all right, but I'm still gonna wear it, because I wear it better." Indeed he does and he has the Rock Style Award to prove it. While most artists donned duds for the formal awards ceremony, Tyler was dressed fabulous in a classy 3-button black suit with short lapels. Despite the unforgivable fashion faux pas in recent years - the bare-chested, Lycra pants and suspenders ensemble-he summed up his acceptance speech with "three" parting words: "androgynous," "chameleon" and "freak flag." As Tyler's personal shopper, Theresa says, "Steven is super easy to shop for-he loves to look different. If there are clothes that no one else will wear, Steven will. I buy them, rip them to shreds-in case someone actually has it-and go to the stylist with my idea for the piece. She then sews it back together again and those are the outfits you see on stage." "I think the most important thing about style is the smile you put on other people's faces - or the look of absolute terror," quipped Tyler as he picked up the Rockstyle award. After thirty years, Tyler remains not only a rock icon, but a fashion one as well.