Aerosmith has had a rough couple of years. Lead singer Steven Tyler suffered from severe foot problems, got addicted to painkillers and ended up in rehab again. Guitarist Joe Perry even pushed Tyler off the stage during a performance. The frustrated band, consisting of guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer, tried to move on without him by auditioning other singers.
Tyler then went on to be the most popular judge on "American Idol," write a biography and release a solo single. Meanwhile, the band -- which plays Nassau Coliseum Sunday -- realized he was irreplaceable.
Newsday recently spoke to Tyler and Perry about how they buried the hatchet, put together their forthcoming album, "Music From Another Dimension" (due later this summer) and gained a new generation of fans through "Idol."
Because you have a huge catalog of hits, is there a lot of pressure to top yourself every time you go into the studio?
Tyler: We are major competitive, and when we are put on the spot, we like to squeak. When you write an album as monumental as "Toys in the Attic," are you going to do less than that the next time? Of course, it comes with its worries, charms and passions, but I think we hit on it with this new album. This band is on fire again.
Perry: You learn early on that if you carry that weight on your shoulders, it's instant death. I've always felt you are only as good as your next album or next show. What you've done is done. When you get a gold record, you hang it on the wall, and then it's like, "Yeah, next?"
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There have been a lot of reports of inner-band fighting. How did you clean the slate so you can work together again?
Tyler: Sometimes, it's a little embarrassing, but I think we are the two alpha males of the band, there's no denying that. There are times I want it my way, and most of the time Joe wants it his way. There's work that has to be done between Joe and I without a doubt. We talk about it a lot. I don't like that we have to fight and the outcome is an album. We need to keep it closer to the chest. But this band makes both of us. The new record is a testament to being able to say "sorry" to each other.
Is the friction part of your chemistry?
Tyler: It is and it isn't. I don't look forward to fighting with Joe. Sometimes, it's foolish, and sometimes, it's very necessary. He has a lot of great ideas, and so do I, but the end product is this album. When it's good, nothing can get in its way.
Perry: The work keeps it from being personal. It's not something you fix, and it's all good forever. It requires constant maintenance. It's just the way humans are built. It's one of the biggest things we've learned through the years, and because we did, we still have a band.
Was going on "American Idol" a platform to propel the band toward a younger audience?
Tyler: It just happened like that. I didn't think much about it. I took the job, and along with it came fans who saw the side of me only my kids see. I thought because I'm addicted to adrenaline, it would be something fun, but I didn't know what I was getting into. The first or second week, I wanted to quit. I had fear that America would think I'm selling pork pies, and I'm supposed to be this dark rock guy. But it ain't about that. The world has come around big, and it has turned out to be a good thing.
WHO Aerosmith with special guest Cheap Trick
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nassau Coliseum
INFO $44.50-$144.50, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
From Aerosmith's June 22 show at the United Center in Chicago
"Draw the Line"
"Love in an Elevator"
"Livin' on the Edge"
"S.O.S. (Too Bad)"
"What it Takes"
"No More No More"
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"
"Walk This Way"
"Train Kept a Rollin' "