Steven Tyler has been at the helm of American rock outfit Aerosmith since 1970 but this July, at the age of 68, he’s finally going solo. In advance of his country debut, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere, the iconic frontman caught up with EW to discuss bonding with his new Music City neighbors, his battles with addiction, and plans for a proper movie star affair.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You got a polarizing reaction when you announced you were making a country record. Were you surprised?
STEVEN TYLER: I never should have said that. One of Aerosmith’s biggest hits was “Cryin'” and the lyric and melody I wrote was [sings] “There was a time, when I was so brokenhearted.” That’s so f—ing country!
Do you listen to much of the genre?
Eric Church is defining the new country. [But] bro country? I don’t like it. I like when someone takes a f—ed-up risk.
You recently relocated to Nashville. Are you getting along with the new neighbors?
I was writing at [songwriter] Hillary Lindsey’s house and I said, “I love Alison Krauss!” She goes, “Alison Krauss? She lives two or three houses away.” So I walked over and played her two songs. She said, “You’re onto something good.” When the record was done, we got in her car and I played every song I had for her.
What’s your home like there?
I bought Kesha’s old house, [and] since I moved, I put two openings in the fence so I can get out into the woods! Bring the sticks on!
You’re covering Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” on the album.
Yes! I did it so f—ing good. I loved that she drank on stage—nobody did that back then! No one would come out with a bottle of Southern Comfort and a cigarette. I loved her rings and earrings and the s— in her hair. And she lived a quick, fast life. She was into heroin and drinking and she finally had a girlfriend and money and fame and it was too much.
You’ve had struggles with addiction yourself. Do stories like hers make you think about your own choices?
Whenever someone dies, like Prince, I think to myself, “They died so I could live.” I am just as much an addict as he was—[but] none of his people spoke up. I say that with hope that the next time this happens to one of our other stars, somebody speaks up. My beautiful girlfriend at the time spoke up for me and I’m alive because she said, “You’re going to Betty f—ing Ford!”
Besides doing a country album, anything else on your bucket list?
I would love to be a producer on a show like Vinyl. I’m going to continue with music—having 15 great songs is like having 15 better-than-ever-before orgasms that I get to share with the world. And I think I might have a career doing movies. I want to have an affair with a producer and hopefully someone in the movie. [Laughs] Don’t they all do that?