Steven Tyler is one of several artists who were interviewed by GQ magazine about their approach to sobriety.
The AEROSMITH singer, alt stars Jason Isbell and Julien Baker and EAGLES guitarist Joe Walsh were quizzed about how they quit drink and drugs and the effect it had on their music.
Tyler — whose vast consumption of cocaine, heroin and alcohol in the 1970s earned him and bandmate Joe Perry the nickname “The Toxic Twins” — said that he had a lot of fun drinking and using drugs.
“You have a shot of Jack Daniel’s and you play Madison Square Garden and you get offstage and you go clubbing with Jimmy Page — come on!” he said. “After two encores in Madison Square Garden, you don’t go and play shuffleboard. Or Yahtzee, you know? You go and rock the fuck out. You’ve done something that you never thought you could, and you actually think that you are a super-being.”
Tyler, who once said he “snorted half of Peru” (meaning cocaine, of course), said that his drug use got to a point where nothing mattered more.
“We would do cocaine to go up, quaaludes to come down,” he said. “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. It was more or less the thing to do, back then as well.”
“I don’t think there were any bands that even knew what sober was,” he added.
“I was the kind of guy who would hate to be the guy who never came down because he never went up, if you can understand that. So I played with everything.”
Tyler said that his drug use enhanced his performance at first but eventually took its toll. Over time, he noticed that he required more alcohol or drugs to get the same relief.
“It absolutely works for a while,” he said. “But then things go wrong. You become addicted, it’s something you do all the time, and suddenly it starts influencing your greatness. What happens with using is: It works in the beginning, but it doesn’t work in the end. It takes you down. There’s nothing but jail, insanity or death.”
Asked if he missed anything about how he used to be, Tyler said: “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. I mean, there was a certain rawness when we played clubs and we were all fucked 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 fucking house in Maui. My girlfriend. Everything is at risk.”
AEROSMITH is among the artists who will perform at the three-night Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, set to take place January 31 through February 2 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.