LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Who wants to become the new singer for Aerosmith?
The lead guitarist with one of America’s most successful rock groups said on Monday that he and his bandmates were “positively looking for a new singer to work with,” following a rift with energetic frontman Steven Tyler.
Joe Perry, 59, made the announcement on his Twitter page, ratcheting up an unusually public feud with his songwriting partner of 40 years.
The duo, dubbed the “Toxic Twins” for their hard-living days of yore, wrote such classic-rock staples as “Walk this Way” and “Love in an Elevator.” Their musical relationship has been likened to that of their role models, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.
But Tyler, 61, recently said he wants to concentrate on solo endeavors, a claim he has made in the past but never followed through on. He also stopped communicating with the rest of the band several months ago, and hired his own manager.
Perry told Reuters last month that Tyler has refused to write a song with him for a decade. More recently, Perry said that the last time he phoned Tyler, the singer hung up on him.
Incredibly, the band has still managed to perform concerts, but a summer trek through North America was cut short in August when Tyler fell off the stage and broke his shoulder. None of his bandmates accompanied him to the hospital.
In recent weeks, Aerosmith reunited for a pair of shows in Hawaii, and then performed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 1, temporarily papering over the cracks to recoup some of the revenue lost by the canceled American tour.
But Tyler surprised his bandmates by telling Britain’s Classic Rock magazine, in an article published last Wednesday, that he would focus on his own projects, “Brand Tyler,” as he dubbed it.
His bandmates were less than enthusiastic about being sidelined. In the same article, guitarist Brad Whitford raised the possibility of bringing in a new vocalist.
Tyler was “one of a kind,” it quoted Whitford as saying. “But if somebody was willing to do it and the chemistry was right, why not?”
Perry quickly took to Twitter to express his dismay at learning about Tyler’s apparent departure online, and he described Tyler’s attitude as “a bit cold.”
In his Twitter messages on Monday, in which he referred to Tyler simply as “one of the members,” Perry denied Aerosmith would break up, saying the band was playing “hotter than ever.”
“You just can’t take 40 years of experience and throw it in the bin!”
At any rate, Perry is now focusing on his own endeavors. He just released his fifth solo album, and plans an extensive world tour early next year.
Aerosmith previously fell apart in 1979, when Perry quit the band during its drug-fueled nadir. Whitford soon followed, leaving the rest of the band to limp along. The original lineup reconvened in 1984, sobered up, and eventually enjoyed a successful 1990s comeback fueled by MTV videos.
But the band has not released a studio album of new material since 2001. Recording sessions since then have been interrupted by ailments affected virtually every band member. For his part, Tyler did a stint in rehab last year.
While Perry has been vocal about the feud, Tyler has largely kept silent. But his daughter, Mia, also took to Twitter on Monday to defend him and to make a dig at Perry.
“They are in their 60s now,” she wrote. “Let them do what they wanna do! & can someone please tell (Joe Perry) that gossiping on Twitter is uncalled (for)!”
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia responded to the feud by moving Tyler to its list of former Aerosmith members, but then restored him to the current lineup amid the uncertainty.
Reporting by Dean Goodman