Extraordinary questions are the impetus of exceptional answers.
Truth Be Told: "Behind the Set"
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
A rocker's lifestyle… you can conjure up notions of what that would be like in an abundant amount of ways, I'm certain. The fame, the adulation of the audiences, the wealth… and the list goes on and on. Each member of their staff and entourage is at their beck and call, ready to cater to their every want, need, desire and whim.
While on tour, one might even suspect they go to sleep in the early morning hours and get up some time in the midday. Also, while on the road, first thing in the morning, one might think that a world famous musician is not someone you'd care to be in the company of… moody, perhaps. That's where this story of mine begins.
Aerosmith was on tour (with a date booked in Connecticut) when I received a phone call from the promoter requesting me to do an interview with Steven Tyler. The interview would hype concert tickets set to go on sale the following week. I asked when the interview would take place. The promoter wanted to know if I had any objection to coming into the studio to conduct the interview on a Saturday morning. "Saturday morning? What time Saturday morning?" I questioned. The promoter replied, "10:30." "10:30 on a Saturday morning. Are they playing Friday night?" The promoter told me they were in Virginia. "And you want me to interview Steven Tyler at 10:30 the next morning? First, they're playing a gig. Secondarily, the concert finishes around 11, and they do whatever after that, they get back to the hotel whenever. Then consider what time he has to get up to be ready to do a 10:30 interview, and you think Steven Tyler will be in the right frame of mind to be pleasant, forthcoming, sound good on the air, and give me good answers to my questions? You know how much preparation I'll do, and how much time and effort I'll put into asking just the right questions, and you think he'll be alert and sharp? Because if not, the entire broadcast suffers." "I'd like you to do it," was what the promoter said.
I had interviewed Steven Tyler once before in the studio with Joe Perry, and he was a terrific guy. So after some thought, I agreed.
Truth be told, that Saturday morning the phone rang at precisely 10:30, and much to my surprise, Steven Tyler was up – in more ways than one. He was warm, friendly, vibrant, funny, very talkative and revealing; he gave exceptional answers to all my questions, and, in fact, was serious at a few points when my questions brought out a side of him that most Aerosmith fans probably have never known. One other point to note: I wanted to do the interview in a few installments to be able to play music in between the Qs and As, and he no problem whatsoever with that. He never rushed me through a moment of our conversation at any time. He was a perfect gentleman.
Sidebar: When people ask me to name 10 of my favorite interviews, that particular one with Steven Tyler is a definite candidate for #1 position in my top 10.