Steven Tyler is the famed lead singer of rock legends Aerosmith. Like the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith is just as famous for years of drug and alcohol abuse as they are for their incredible music. Tyler and his bandmates were lucky to get help before it was too late, and Aerosmith enjoyed a hell of a comeback in the eighties. Tyler has been outspoken for many years about his struggles with addiction, and he recently spoke out about going down “the worst path.”
Down the Rabbit Hole of Addiction
Tyler described addiction in Alice in Wonderland terms, telling The Fix, “I went down the rabbit hole.” And like many who have suffered from addiction, his deadly habits become more important than anything in his life.
“I have an addictive personality so I found certain drugs I loved and didn’t stop to the point of hurting my children, hurting my life, hurting my family, and hurting my band. There was a point where I didn’t have a band I didn’t care.”
The Mythos of Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
Many musicians buy into the mythos of sex, drugs and rock and roll, which today has become a very hoary cliché after many musicians have overdosed and died. “I think rock stars…I felt like I had an obligation to keep that alive,” Tyler said. “I certainly had my way with women and women had their way with me.”
Many often wonder just how much money a rock star can waste on drugs, and Tyler said he blew somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 to $6 million on narcotics, primarily cocaine and heroin. In those days, a lot of rock stars used cocaine to keep going during grueling tour schedules.
“If it wasn’t for cocaine, I don’t think the band would have played every state in the United States nine times in seven years. Because there was no MTV back then, Peruvian marching powder, it was like, ‘Iowa, three in a row?’ Give me that. It’s what we did, but you know there is no end to that. It’s death, jail, or insanity.”
Making it to Seventy Through Recovery
Tyler is currently seventy years old, and he recently came to a drug court graduation in Maui, telling the grads in attendance, “You’re my heroes here today because you have come from somewhere that I lived myself. To come out through the wormhole like you’re doing today is a true beyond-belief miracle. I’m so proud of you, each and every one.”
While many rock stars have fallen by the wayside through addiction, Tyler knows he’s lucky to be alive today and wants to speak out and help others. “I want to be in touch with what it means to be in this band and stand for something in the rock and roll community or you fall for anything. I don’t want to do drugs anymore for that reason…That place lost me my kids, a marriage, a band, a lot of things and it’s for real. That’s how dangerous that is. So I take it seriously.”