Jan. 21, 1965-Oct. 30, 2002

Jam Master Jay
Credit: Jam Master Jay: Globe Photos

Steven Tyler remembers Jam Master Jay

Aerosmith toured with Run-DMC this past summer, and Jay and I became really close. Our encore was always ”Walk This Way,” and we’d bring out Run-DMC, and the place would always just explode. Jay would be off on the side to the left of Joe Perry, and not five feet from him would be [Jay’s] son and his family. I’d sing the first verse, and Jay would be there with his turntables, scratching, and I’d go over and stick the mic in his face to give him a chance to sing where he ordinarily wouldn’t. The first couple of times I did that, he’d get a little embarrassed, but it became something that we did every night.

Jay was the s—, man. I used to hang out with him and his 7-year-old son, who I shared my Jolly Ranchers with — and I don’t do that with anybody. Jay was the guy who first grabbed our original version of ”Walk This Way” and started scratching over it, you know. He and the other guys would always come to my dressing room before the show, and we’d sit and talk.

He was really a beautiful, open guy. There was something meaningless about his murder, and I still don’t know all the details. I just don’t want to pursue it. The sadness of his death pales compared with the joy and relevance and inspiration that he gave to the world. He was the furthest person from being a gangsta that I knew, and I’m really going to miss him. (Jam Master Jay was fatally shot in a recording studio in Queens.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Steven Tyler and his Aerosmith bandmates won the MTV “Icons” award in 2002 for 30 years as rock royalty.