By Sal Verini –
Ok, so I have been sitting on this article for a bit now and decided it needs to be written. Be forewarned… you may not like what I have to say (or maybe you totally agree). Either way someone has to say it since mainstream media doesn’t seem to have the stones. And if you’re reading this, Steven… don’t hate. Though I’m sure the next time I see you the chat will be interesting.
As an actor, writer and occasional musician myself, I realized long ago the more exposure you have to other music, cultures, places and anything really outside your “norm”, directly affects one’s creative process. It makes you want to learn a different instrument, write a song or screenplay and adds a vast amount of input into your creativity. So I get it when I heard some time ago that Steven Tyler wanted to try country on for size.
Fast-forward a tad and Nashville welcomed him with open arms, signed him at light speed and he started to mingle with country royalty and songwriters. Not faulting Nashville as hey… why not right? It’s Steven Tyler! If I had a label I woulda signed him too, but I would of had some caveats in place because even though it’s Steven Tyler… it IS Steven Tyler!
First thing, Steven… can you actually give an interview without dropping the F-Bomb a few times? Now hey I curse… we all do. But you’re a public figure giving an interview to a Country audience. Yes, we all know that Brad Paisley plays guitar like a “motherf–er” as you so eloquently put it. And that you “love to take the f–ing power to wow to the 100th degree” , but let’s clean up your act a tad Steven. This isn’t a drug fueled rock and roll audience you’re used to from your “Dream On” days.
Let’s look at the ACM Awards and Steven’s wardrobe. What the hell is going on with those pants? Did someone let Steven know this is a country awards show, not a pop art exhibit. Those pants… oh those pants! Steven… we’re country brother. What’s with the pants that look like they belong on the cover of a Duran Duran album? And what were you wearing when you debuted your single “Love Is Your Name”? Jack Sparrow called… he wants his wardrobe back. Bag it up and lets try to reel it in a little. Placate us cowboy hat, jeans wearing folks just a tad. After all, you are going after the country audience. Dress the part just a little. But don’t go overboard… let’s find a happy middle ground.
Speaking of “Love Is Your Name”. When I initially heard it I’m not going to lie… wasn’t impressed. I wanted to like it. I burned out your cassettes in high school, my old band used to cover Aerosmith songs all the time; you’re rock and roll royalty. I better like it, right? So I sat back and listened… it started off sort of like “After Glow” from INXS, which is a beautiful song and one I absolutely love, so I figured we’re on the right track. But it just never got there… just kinda spun it’s wheels. BUT… I watched you do it live and live performances are tricky. I’ve recorded songs and played them live and I recognize very few artists (none in my honest opinion) sound as good live as they do in a studio. Equipment, venue acoustic design, and a host of things play into it. But then I heard the recorded version and was able to hear the nuances of the tune… and it’s growing on me.
So, I’m not counting you out, Steven. I’m waiting for more and pulling for you in this new genre. But, what I’d love to hear is a Steven Tyler-written song. Yes, we know that Eric Paslay, who wrote “Love Is Your Name”, can write like a “motherf–er” as you say and has for the likes of Love and Theft and others. But, lets see what kind of Country is inside you Steven Tyler. That’s the stuff I wanna hear!