Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is opening up about his sobriety.
Tyler recently spoke with Haute Living about his past drug addiction. More specifically, the rocker explained how a drug intervention in 1988 played a pivotal role in his eventual sobriety.
“There was a moment in ’88 where management and the band pulled an intervention on me. They thought, ‘Get the lead singer sober, and all our problems would be over,’” he revealed. “So I got sober and, you know, it took me many years to get over the anger of them sending me to rehab while they went on vacation.”
“But today, because of that moment… I am grateful and owe a thanks to them for my sobriety,” he added.
In February’s “music” issue of GQ, the publication profiled nine musicians who are creating without the use of alcohol or drugs, including Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, rapper Vince Staples, and Phish lead singer Trey Anastasio.
The 70-year-old rock icon candidly chronicles his substance abuse history, beginning with marijuana in the mid-sixties.
But it wasn’t until he joined Aerosmith that using became a big part of his life. “It was more or less the thing to do,” Tyler shared. “I don’t think there were any bands that even knew what sober was.”
When asked about his drug or drink of choice, Tyler revealed that he and the band didn’t discriminate. “We would do cocaine to go up, quaaludes to come down,” he explained. “We would drink and then snort some coke until we thought we were straight. But that’s not true — you’re just drunk and coked out.”
As the group became one of America’s biggest rock bands, sobriety didn’t seem to be in the cards. “After two encores in Madison Square Garden, you don’t go and play shuffleboard. Or Yahtzee, you know? You go and rock the f*** out,” Tyler joked. “You’ve done something that you never thought you could, and you actually think that you are a super-being.
“It absolutely works for a while. But then things go wrong,” he admitted. “You become addicted, it’s something you do all the time, and suddenly it starts influencing your greatness.”
Although his bandmates were the ones to push him to seek help for his addiction issues, they weren’t exactly clean themselves. “It was interesting that I was being told by a bunch of guys that were still getting f***ed up,” Tyler revealed. “I thought they were trying to brainwash me. I thought I would lose my creativity… but I’m grateful that that happened cuz I would have never seen the light.”
Tyler notes that sobriety seemed to be the key for Aerosmith to take things to the next level. “All the magic that you thought worked when you were high comes out when you get sober,” he shared. “You realize it was always there, and your fear goes away…We all got sober, I guess, over ’88, ’89, and those albums were all off the charts. Finally had a No. 1 single.
“I got a band that’s still together, the guys are still alive, everyone’s healthy. We play better than we did 50 years ago,” Tyler said. “I mean, there was a certain rawness when we played clubs and we were all f***ed up. Sure, I get it. But the band is still together and still sought-after. People still want us for a million-plus dollars a night. And that’s what’s at risk if I use again. And my kids. My cats. My dogs. My beautiful f***ing house in Maui. My girlfriend. Everything is at risk.”
It hasn’t been an easy road for the singer-songwriter, who has relapsed in the past. “I’m going on my fourth run,” he admitted. “I’ve got nine years in December, which I’m very proud of.”
But Tyler’s biggest revelation can be found within one of Aerosmith’s signature hits — perhaps foreshadowing his path to getting clean.
“Believe it or not, I wrote ‘Dream On’ as high as can be. And if I’d have only just listened to the lyrics in that song: