Joe Perry’s Aerosmith Ultimatum That Saved Steven Tyler’s Life

As musicians, the stereotyped lifestyle that is more often than projected on them revolves around a lifestyle that is larger than life, with drugs and alcohol that keep them in and out of consciousness. This lifestyle is readily available after reaching a certain level of stardom; the nightlife of parties and get-togethers becomes too much of a musician’s life.

Even the most resilient can’t say no to certain things, and what starts as a social setting instance turns into an addiction that most can’t seem to forgo without the necessary help and people around them to keep them accountable for their actions. In Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler‘s case, the rock and roll lifestyle treated him right as he had the most fun during his party days before it spiraled him out of control.

Steven Tyler’s words about having fun with drugs before he got sober read:

“Oh, hell yeah. Of course! You have a shot of Jack Daniel’s, play Madison Square Garden, get offstage, and go clubbing with Jimmy Page—come on! After two encores in Madison Square Garden, you don’t go and play shuffleboard. Or Yahtzee, you know? You go and rock the f*ck out. You’ve done something you never thought you could, and you actually think you are a super-being.”

“It works for a while. But then things go wrong. You become addicted, it’s something you do all the time, and suddenly it starts influencing your greatness. We believed that the road to wisdom was through excess. But it got really bad in the ’80s.”

After partying it up with drugs way more than average alongside Perry as the Toxic Twins, mostly highly unaware of what was happening, it got to a point where people around him, especially his bandmates, were worried that the addiction was on the brink of Tyler’s despair. Although Perry was in on it, it wasn’t at the level that Steven had become with drugs where it got to a point where it became too much, which is when he was left with an ultimatum from the band but more specifically Joe, who pulled the plugs.

At that point, even though the warnings were coming from his bandmates that were also high most of the time, the singer shared his experience with GQ in 2019 that if Perry hadn’t almost forced him to get into rehab and receive the help, he desperately needed the singer wouldn’t have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tyler’s words about deciding to go sober read:

“It was an intervention with the band: If I don’t go away to rehab, then the shit’s over. [laughs] And it was interesting that I was being told by a bunch of guys still getting f*cked up. But I’m grateful that that happened because I would have never seen the light. I thought they were trying to brainwash me. I thought I would lose my creativity.”

After getting the help and getting sober, it was as if the musician opened his eyes to the world for the first time as he also shared with GQ that his mind became clearer where the fog went away. He started to live his reality instead of the one he believed to be true before he got clean. Even though Tyler was terrified of losing his creativity and his ability to write killer lyrics because he wasn’t high anymore, his worries got smaller with working together with his bandmates on new tracks and albums.

He added:

“The confusion goes away. Your friends come back. You can keep a little money in the bank. You can plan things and make them work. You get physically healthy.”

“Once you start getting high and stay high, you’re in a different reality. And if you live in that reality long enough, that altered reality becomes your reality. And then when you’re sober, you find out that was a false reality.”

However, sobriety is a constant battle. Tyler is no exception to that, as the musician relapsed last year after having foot surgery to prepare for his performance on stage. After his relapse, amid pain management, the musician voluntarily entered a treatment program, so Aerosmith had to cancel some of the band’s residency dates in Las Vegas. It just goes to show that even when it’s been years of sobriety, it is a slippery slope, and it’s pretty easy to slip into bad habits, so Tyler taking control of the situation shows that he genuinely wants to be sober.