Dear Steve Tyler:
What? I mean… what? Country?
You don’t know what this is doing to me.
You need to understand that you were the guys who really introduced me to rock and roll. Yes, you were. Ever since I listened to Aerosmith’s Rocks when I was thirteen I’ve wanted to grow my hair long and play guitar.
Yes, there have always been slight credibility problems at times. There’s no question Aerosmith was always intended to be America’s Rolling Stones. Too obvious a match, from the five-man lineup to the big-lipped brunette singer and bad boy persona. But your first three albums were great 70s blues-based rock and roll, and then you released Rocks, which is one of the great rock albums of the 70s, track for track. And as big a joke as the Sgt. Pepper’s film was, your cover of “Come Together” was a high point, alongside Earth, Wind and Fire and Billy Preston, so long as, in the latter case, you shut your eyes and just listened to the music. It went downhill from there — Draw the Line was a sloppier production, but it was still great rock and roll — until it hit a low point when Joe Perry left, but as a band Aerosmith still produced consistently good rock and roll albums from your first album through Night in the Ruts.
We can excuse the 80s, as Joe left for a few years. And I have to admit, Permanent Vacation was a real comeback in the late 80s. Forget the hits. It’s just a good rock album. But then another credibility problem surfaced: tin pan alley writers like Jim Vallance started helping you out, and your band took a distinct commercial turn in the 80s and 90s. I don’t mean to begrudge you your success, but again, you’re getting harder to defend here.
But I’ve always been able to say one thing, especially to my friends who are fans of the Rolling Stones, or who are younger and know you only from the 90s and diss you mercilessly: at least Aerosmith never recorded any disco songs or any country songs. At least.
You’re really making things hard, Tyler.
Couldn’t you have gone unplugged and called it “Americana” or something? I’d buy that. Plus, you know, you’d be at least trying to maintain a shred of dignity. At least a teeny little shred?
I want you guys to drop Steve Tyler for one album. I want you to bring in Mick Jagger as a guest vocalist and songwriter. And I want you to name the album The Real Thing. You can do that because everyone still respects Joe. They never actually quit respecting Joe no matter what Aerosmith did.
A voice crying from the 70s.
PS I mean, seriously, guys, what’s next? A Jimmy Page disco album? Robert Plant already had his arse handed to him by a four foot tall fiddle player. The 70s would be dying a horrifying, ignoble death if Neil Young weren’t at least still recording protest music. And, oh yeah, what ever happened to protest music? I mean serious protest music. We need it now more than ever. Thank you, Neil Young.