Almost half a century on from their formation, iconic rock group Aerosmith are still going relatively strong. However, now approaching their ’70s, the rockers – and singer Steven Tyler in particular – are showing inevitable signs of wear and tear. We take a look at the rubber-lipped frontman’s most recent health scare.
Aerosmith officially got together in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts. And the classic line-up of vocalist Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer subsequently settled a year later. In 1972 the band then landed a deal with Columbia Records, and they released their self-titled debut 12 months later.
Bigger things were to follow. In 1975 Aerosmith’s third album, Toys in the Attic, propelled them into the mainstream, while 1976 follow-up Rocks ensured that they stayed there. Indeed, the group had amassed a dozen Hot-100 hits by the end of the 1970s, developing a dedicated fan base known as the Blue Army along the way. Yet Aerosmith became just as renowned for hard partying as great music.
In due course, then, the group’s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles eventually caught up with them. Dubbed the Toxic Twins owing to their excessive drug use, Tyler and Perry repeatedly fought, with the latter eventually leaving to form a new, eponymous project. Whitford also decided to quit soon afterwards, and by 1984 Aerosmith were largely considered to be over.
However, just two years later an unlikely but groundbreaking collaboration with hip-hop pioneers Run DMC on “Walk This Way” spectacularly resurrected the Aerosmith brand. Building on that success, 1987’s multi-platinum album Permanent Vacation consolidated the group’s remarkable comeback. And 1989’s Pump spawned three Top 10 hits, sold seven million copies and saw the band pick up their first ever Grammy.
Aerosmith then became a staple of MTV in the 1990s, with videos featuring Alicia Silverstone and Tyler’s daughter Liv. Plus, they achieved their sole number-one hit, almost 30 years into their career, with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in 1998. Recorded for disaster movie Armageddon, the song also picked up an Oscar nomination.
In the early ’00s Aerosmith then performed at the Super Bowl, received a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and scored their final Top-10 hit, “Jaded.” Only two further albums, 2004’s Honkin’ on Bobo and 2012’s Music from Another Dimension, were subsequently released. But, 2008 aside, Aerosmith have hit the road during every year this century.
Tyler has also pursued a number of solo endeavors. In 2011 he became a judge on TV’s American Idol and published a best-selling autobiography. In 2016 he put out his first ever solo album, We’re All Somebody from Somewhere. Oh, and he has also played himself on screen in Be Cool, Two and a Half Men and Nashville.
Of course, though, the band’s relentless touring schedule inevitably began to take its toll. While appearing on stage with band the Hollywood Vampires in 2016, Joe Perry reportedly had a cardiac arrest. Meanwhile, Brad Whitford was forced to skip the start of Aerosmith’s 2009 tour owing to a serious head injury.
But it’s Steven Tyler who has remained Aerosmith’s most regular hospital patient. In 2006 the group had to cut short their Rockin’ the Joint tour when their frontman burst a blood vessel in his throat. That same year Tyler also revealed that he’d been diagnosed with hepatitis C and undergone 11 months of agonizing treatment for the condition.
And there was to be more misery for the bedeviled frontman. In 2008 Tyler checked into an L.A. rehab facility to recover from various leg surgeries. In 2009 he busted his shoulder after falling off stage at a show in South Dakota. And in 2011 the singer injured his face and lost several teeth after slipping in his hotel shower.
Perhaps realizing that they were all getting on a bit, then, Aerosmith subsequently confirmed an amicable split in 2016. Tyler told interviewer Howard Stern, “I love this band, I really do, and I want to squash every thought that anybody might have about this.” The group then announced that in 2017 they would be heading out on one last tour.
However, once again Tyler’s health forced the band off the road. Halfway through Aerosmith’s farewell tour in September 2017, the star experienced “unexpected medical issues,” resulting in the pulling of four South American shows. People also began to speculate darkly about the exact nature of these unforeseen problems.
Tyler, though, issued a statement which claimed that his condition was not life-threatening. But he did acknowledge that he had “to deal with this right away and get some rest and medical care immediately in order to sustain and maintain [his] future performances.” Reports surfaced that the singer had endured either a heart attack or a seizure following Aerosmith’s September 27 gig in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
A week later, however, Tyler angrily denied these rumors with a message on Aerosmith’s official website, posted entirely in capital letters. It read, “I give you all an A+ for creative speculations, but I certainly did not have a heart attack or a seizure… I had to have a procedure that only my doc in the States could perform.”
The singer added that it broke his heart to quit Aerosmith’s valedictory tour, claiming the band had “never played better.” He summarized the situation in typical Tyler fashion, saying, “We’ve been to Tel Aviv, to Russia, to Rio, and all the in between. I guess it’s true what they say, ‘that life’s a pisser when you’re a peein’.’”
That said, Tyler still refused to reveal exactly what medical episode had caused him to cancel the shows. And daughter Liv was similarly evasive when she appeared on a British TV chat show. She said, “He is okay. It was just one of those things when he had a little thing that needed to be taken care of and he was in pain.”
Still, just a month later, Steven Tyler was preparing to get back on stage again. The 69-year-old was confirmed to be appearing at the David Foster Foundation 30th Anniversary Miracle Gala and Concert at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on October 21. Tyler joined an expected line-up that included Robin Thicke, Jay Leno and The Tenors for a charity gig celebrating three decades of record producer David Foster’s eponymous foundation.
Just two weeks after his mystery procedure, Tyler was also pictured out and about with his girlfriend. Yes, the star was spotted walking hand in hand with Aimee Preston, a personal assistant 41 years his junior, on the streets of Los Angeles. The couple first began dating in 2014.
Meanwhile, no official news has yet emerged about Aerosmith’s future touring plans. The band is, however, reportedly planning to re-stage the canceled performances in Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. These South American shows were intended to be the last four dates of the group’s “Aero-Vederci Baby!” tour. Let’s hope fans there get to see their idols rocking out one last time.