I had the distinct honor of talking with the only and only Steven Tyler this week. Yes, that Steven Tyler. He of the multi-octave rocker voice, the painted fingernails and multi-colored feathers, former “American Idol” judge, now country singer fame. The 67-year-old has released a new single, “Love is Your Name,” from his upcoming country album on Big Machine Records.
As you can imagine, talking to Steven is a like riding a roller coaster — you’re apprehensive about taking the ride, but at the end, you say, “Let’s do that again!!!”
I’ve always been fascinated with Steven Tyler because he is a man who knows exactly who he is and remains true to himself. So, strap yourself in, as we take a bumpy ride with the legendary Steven Tyler and find out five things you may not know.
Why country? When he was nine or so, he stole his sister’s Everly Brothers records. His parents had a little cabin in Massachusetts with “nothing to do” so he would listen to the radio. Since the signal wasn’t the greatest, Steven rigged antennae in an apple tree and was able to pick up a remote country station in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Despite his huge success as a rocker, Tyler says he’s always been a “lifelong country fan.” He cited Aerosmith’s “Cryin’” and “What It Takes” as two examples of songs he’s written with a country flair.
His country motto: “The truth, vermouth and one lost tooth” — coined by a friend of his after Steven was asked he would leave rock for country. “A silly question, because the truth is I’ve been singing (country) all along, it’s always been in my heart. So going from an ‘exotic, neurotic, you got it!’ rocker mentality to ‘the truth, vermouth and one lost tooth’ was like ‘boo-yah!’ perfect. As a songwriter, I love those little zingers. I figure how much fun can I have before I go to hell, right?” At this point, he is laughing wickedly.
Which song does he wish he had written? “My new single! When I put my vocal on it and listened to playback, I said, ‘Oh my God, this is it!’ I jumped in my car and drove over to Scott Borchetta’s house (he’s the head of Big Machine records) at 10 that night. On the way, I called the song’s writer, (country artist) Eric Paslay and said, ‘Son of a gun! Couldn’t you have left me a piece of this, the last chorus at least, to write on my own?’ I co-wrote every other song on my upcoming album except the single. ‘Love is Your Name’ is the song I wish I had written.”
What’s next? He jokingly (?) says he would love to sing opera. Also on his bucket list, some major country collaborations, maybe with Zac Brown, Garth Brooks, Alison Krauss or “you know, some country hottie like Karen from Little Big Town! Anybody who sings about a ‘Girl Crush’ is my kinda girl!” He emphasizes this with a signature Steven Tyler yowl.
What is his karaoke song? “Nothing by Aerosmith! It’s ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme.”
Steven is putting the finishing touches on his upcoming album in Nashville, his new hometown. He wouldn’t say when it would be out, only laughed and said, “Patience!” So, are you ready to get back on that roller coaster yet?
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