Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s Bram and Zach take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
After all the “rumors” swirling around Hollywood, and despite Joe Perry’s wrath, it was officially announced that Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler will join Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson as a judge on the reality TV juggernaut American Idol. While it was a tad entertaining to watch Perry and Tyler fight like school girls before it became simply annoying, Bram and Zach pretty much share the same feeling about the announcement: they don’t care. Even the possibility of Aerosmith breaking up over American Idol (as unlikely as it is) still isn’t enough to arouse a response from either of us.
So why are we discussing it in this week’s Headbangers’ Brawl? Well because here at the offices of The Syndicate (MI’s parent company), we actually found someone who does care. Melissa Meyers has been a diehard fan of the band practically since she was in diapers. So now that Steven Tyler is also in diapers, we figured we’d give her a forum to convince the world why we should give a crap about Steven Tyler joining American Idol.
Melissa: First, I resent that diapers dig, old man. At least when he is in diapers, I’m sure they’ll be diamond studded with skull and crossbones. Anyway, rumors? Are you serious?! There were no rumors whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned, the Lord Of Lips, Steven Tyler, publicly announced it at Aerosmith’s show at Jones Beach on August 12th, which I attended. After Steven clocked Joe in the head, Joe sulked off stage. After finally coaxing him back, Steven apologized, but adding insult to injury (quite literally), Lips shimmied up to him and smirked “Joe, you’re my hero. You’re my idol. You’re my….. american idol.” OUCH! So, my dear Metal Insider, what rumors? He knew it was in the bag months ago.
Bram: Yeah, it’s been one of the worst-kept secrets in music since Lady Gaga started pretending she was a woman (kidding!). But with the show not premiering until next year, I’m pretty sure Fox wanted to keep the focus on their new shows instead of having it overshadowed by J. Lo and Steven Tyler joining as judges. It remains to be seen what they’re going to bring to the table, though. The main thing the two new additions have is that neither has had a hit in a long time. And I’m not sure how much cred Aerosmith still want, but I’ve got to think that some old-school fans will probably think that this is a bit of a sell-out to see one of their former idols joining a onetime Journey bassist and Ben Affleck’s ex to tell people how to sing.
M: Oh, fuck yes, I think he sold out. But what’s new? Going back to their car commercials, Super Bowl halftime shows, and most recently, Guitar Hero gamery as far as I’m concerned, it’s just another avenue to earn the revenue. Led Zep sold out years ago, and if the Golden God doesn’t drive a Cadillac, I’d be disappointed. So sell out? Maybe, but Aerosmith isn’t even close to being [the worst offender]. I’ve got one word for you: KISS. So string that on your microphone and swing it. Finally, I present to you my age-old nail in the coffin. (Shut up Metal Insider, I don’t need to hear old jokes.) I crown Aerosmith as the best American rock band. Aside from a slight hiccup – literally over spilt milk – in the early 80’s, their lineup has never changed. The same can’t be said for The Rolling Stones. They’ve been touring longer than most of you have even been around as they continue to sell out arenas. They’ve also sold more records then most bands. I don’t care if it was due to “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” Your girlfriend gets all doey eyed when that song comes on, and admit it, that’s your chance to score. So no, you probably don’t give a crap about Steven Tyler. Hell, you didn’t give a crap about Simon Cowell either. You do have to admit, though, that it’s going to make for some pretty damn entertaining television. So at the very least set your Tivos to stun!
Zach: You know what Melissa, I’ll give you some credit here, because I actually do like Aerosmith myself. But wouldn’t you say that their constant touring over the past years, not to mention with no new album since 2001, really has hurt the band’s image? I mean while I loved seeing Aerosmith live the two times I have, I’ve pretty much passed on the chance to see them again the last two years because there was no special reason to go. I’m not saying that the band should break up already, but don’t you this whole battle between Perry and Tyler is a sign that they should have been off the road a LONG time ago? Sure, American Idol might be entertaining now that Tyler and J.Lo will get to fight over dressing rooms on national TV, and Aerosmith has remained “relevant” due to pop culture television (namely MTV) But will American Idol really help the “best American rock and roll band” maintain that title?
M: One big reason to see a band such as Aerosmith, [while] admittedly dark, is that you have no idea which tour may be their last. Yet another reason is because you will never find anyone that plays guitar as classic as Joe Perry. Even Slash has claimed Perry as his mentor. As for Steven, he is more animated than any singer that just stands there and screams. He jigs, he jags, shimmies and shuffles and sometimes you’ll even catch him stage diving! They don’t need American Idol to help their career. American Idol needs Steven!
B: That’s not stage diving, Melissa, it’s called falling. People do that at a certain age. I can see why you might call them the best American rock and roll band, but I’d kind of think of them as the last american rock and roll band from an era gone by. What’s a rock superstar now? Probably not Steven Tyler. I’d argue that he loses a ton of rock cred by going on AI. And like Zach said, with a nine year lapse between Aerosmith albums, Tyler Perry has about as much rock relevance as Tyler and Perry in 2010.
Z: I’m not trying to put down Perry or Tyler, they are both amazing performers and rock gods, but it’s pretty hard to tell which tour will be their last when they constantly tour! There’s no doubt that they give you your money worth at each show (though would you seriously say it was worth paying over $80 to see Tyler and Perry’s cat fight?), but when you’re tight on money and have to pick and choose your concerts, Aerosmith is simply not a priority for me anymore. Thus, I’d argue that while American Idol can definitely can use Tyler’s presence, Aerosmith needs the show just as much (and a well deserved break) in order to make them relevant once again.
M: Well Shaw, we end in a draw on the expensive ticket front. But don’t lie, you’ll still tune in at least once.