Aerosmith could be taking a page from AC/DC’s handbook to launch a tour without its famous lead singer. In an interview with Metal Rules, longtime Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford said the band has discussed several options while Tyler puts his focus on his upcoming country music album and solo Out On a Limb tour.
“Absolutely, we have considered it,” Whitford said of a Tyler-free Aerosmith tour. “But whether it will happen, I don’t know. I think it would be great.”
Steven Tyler’s extended estrangement from Aerosmith has had his tour-hungry bandmates looking at other ways to hit the road. In recent months, Aerosmith co-founder Joey Perry teamed up with Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper to form the super group Hollywood Vampires, while bassist Tom Hamilton will tour with Thin Lizzy later this year.
“There is still a lot of turmoil and it can be frustrating,” Whitford said of Aerosmith’s issues. “It should be easy. The whole thing started because of the music. If the focus was right there, everything would be fine, but we don’t. Let the drivers drive and let the music happen, [and] everything will fall into place. We get caught up in a lot of silly stuff.”
As AC/DC is making headlines after replacing longtime lead singer Brian Johnson with Axl Rose for the remainder of their Rock or Bust tour, Whitford admits there are also many singers who could sub for Tyler.
“A lot of people, everybody from Myles Kennedy to Axl [Rose],” the Aerosmith guitarist said. “We had a bunch of people a while ago, like Sammy Hagar. It would be a lot of fun.”
This isn’t the first time Aerosmith teased a tour without Steven Tyler. According to Music Radar, in 2010, Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers told Spinner.com that he was asked to join Aerosmith, but he told the legendary band they should “rethink that.”
“Joe Perry came up to me at another awards celebration and he said that Steve was not really interested in touring anymore at the moment, and they were all ready to tour and that they were looking for somebody to take that slot,” Rodgers explained.
In an interview with Forbes, Sammy Hagar also revealed that he was approached to front Aerosmith.
“I was asked to be in Aerosmith and I said no,” Hagar said. “Certain bands and certain frontman singers are more difficult to replace than others. Steven Tyler and that band have stayed together for 40 years and you don’t to walk into something like that.”
According to Rolling Stone, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Idol were also asked to join Aerosmith in the past, but both wisely declined.
Replacing a lead singer can be tricky, and it doesn’t always work. AC/DC was backed into a corner when their singer of 30 years, Brian Johnson, was told by doctors he had to stop touring or risk total hearing loss. The fallout has been divided. Some fans are thrilled that Axl Rose has stepped in, while others are boycotting the shows. Thousands of ticket refunds have been fulfilled, yet they’ve been scooped up by other rock fans eager to see the AC/DC-Axl mashup.
But when it comes to Aerosmith, Steven Tyler is still very much part of the band. Tyler once even threatened legal action if Aerosmith tried to replace him while he took a hiatus to go to rehab. In 2010, Tyler’s attorney, Skip Miller, sent a letter to Aerosmith’s manager, Howard Kaufman, asserting that Steven’s voice and persona are synonymous with Aerosmith.
The letter stated, “Steven Tyler does not want lawsuits,” but if Aerosmith tries to hit the road without him, it will be interesting to see if he changes his tune.
Take a look at the video below to see Aerosmith playing live.
[Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]