Pop Culture

Aerosmith members worry Tyler back on drugs

Steven, we love you. But you need to get sober, and we need to find a new singer.

That appears to be the consensus among Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler's bandmates, who are dropping loud hints that he is back on drugs.

The allegations, most recently from rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford and drummer Joey Kramer, ratchet up the unusually public feud crippling one of America's most successful rock 'n' roll bands.

Tensions have been simmering for some time, exacerbated by a troubled summer tour that was canceled in August when the 61-year-old Tyler fell off the stage and broke his shoulder.

The final straw came earlier this month, when Tyler's personal managers informed the rest of the band that he wants to take two years off to pursue various solo endeavors.

That did not sit well with the bandmates, who want to keep on touring and recording.

Perry, 59, has been especially vocal, both in interviews and on Twitter, about his differences with Tyler. He and his cohorts say Tyler has stopped communicating with them and they have decided to find a new frontman and continue without him.

They also worry about Tyler's state of mind.

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    Bands of the 70s that just won't quit

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    AC/DC -

    Scottish brothers Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC in 1973 with bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans and drummer Colin Burgess. The bassist and drummer roles changed a lot in the early years before finally Mark Evans and Phil Rudd settled in. Dave Evans was replaced by Bon Scott in 1974. The band’s classic album “Highway to Hell” was released in 1979 and Scott died a year later in 1980. Brian Johnson replaced Scott and the band went on to release “Back in Black.” In 2008, the band released its first album in eight years, “Black Ice.” The band hit the road for an 18-month tour in Oct. 2008.

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    Average White Band -

    Alan Gorrie, Malcolm “Molly” Duncan, Onnie McIntyre, Hamish Stuart, Roger Ball and Robbie McIntosh formed the Average White Band in 1971 in Dundee, Scotland. McIntosh died of a heroin overdose in 1974 and was replaced by Steve Ferrone. The band were known for hits such as “Pick Up the Pieces” and “Cut the Cake.” The band disbanded in 1982. Today, a version of the band still tours with original members McIntyre and Gorrie.

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    Chicago -

    A group of DePaul University music students formed Chicago in 1967. The members included guitarist Terry Kath, keyboardist Robert Lamm, drummer Danny Seraphine, bassist Peter Cetera, saxophonist Walter Parazaider, trombonist James Pankow and trumpet player Lee Loughnane. The band released at least one disc a year during the 1970s. It has sold more than 120 million albums, with five No. 1 albums, and 21 top 10 hits. The band’s current lineup is Lamm, Pankow, Loughnane, Parazaider, Jason Scheff, Tris Imboden, Keith Howland and Lou Pardini. The band’s hits include “Baby, What a Big Surprise” and “If You Leave Me Now.” In 2009, Chicago toured with Earth, Wind and Fire.

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    Tim Johnston, Patrick Simmons, Dave Shorgen and John Hartman formed the Doobie Brothers in 1970. Over the years, the lineup went through many changes and included Michael Hossack, Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Michael McDonald, Bobby LaKind, John McFee, Chet McCracken, Cornelius Bumpus and Skylark among others. The band’s hits include “Listen to the Music,” “It Keeps You Runnin’” and “Black Water.” The band is on the road for the rest of 2009 and will be playing in Tempe, Ariz. on New Year’s Eve.

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    The Eagles -

    The Eagles started out as a backing band for Linda Rondstadt, whose manager, John Boylan, recruited session musicians Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Frey invited Don Henley and the group played on Rondstadt’s 1972 self-titled album. The band recorded their first album, “Eagles,” in 1972 and went on to make six No. 1 albums. Their hits include, “Hotel California,” “Desperado” and “Heartache Tonight.” Leadon left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Joe Walsh. Meisner was eventually replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. The band broke up in 1980, but reunited in 1994 for “Hell Freezes Over.” In 2009, the Eagles are still touring in support of their latest album, “Long Road Out of Eden.”

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    Journey -

    In 1973, former Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie came together with Ross Valory, George Tickner and Priarie Prince to form Journey. Steve Perry joined the band in 1978. The band’s hits included “Wheel in the Sky,” “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Open Arms.” The band split in 1984, with Schon and Perry pursuing solo careers. The band reunited in 1995, but Perry left again in 1998 and was replaced by Steve Augeri. In 2006, Augeri was dropped from the band and replaced by Jeff Scott Soto, but he too was replaced, this time by Arnel Pineda of the cover band The Zoo, which Schon had seen on YouTube.

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    Heart -

    Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson form the core of the band, which went through various lineups during the 1970s before finally settling on a lineup that featured Mike Fisher, Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, John Hannah and Brian Jonstone. The members of the band changed throughout the years and included Michael DeRosier, Howard Leese, Mark Andes, Denny Carmassi, Scott Olson and others. The band’s hits included “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda” and “What About Love?” Heart is playing 15 dates on Journey’s 2009 tour.

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    Harry Wayne Casey (aka KC) formed KC and the Sunshine Band in 1973 in Miami, Fla. Original members Casey and Richard Finch, who quickly added Jerome Smith and Robert Johnson. The band's hits included “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” “Get Down Tonight” and “Please Don’t Go.” The lineup changed a lot over the years and the current lineup has 14 members. Casey sang “Get Down Tonight” on the April 22, 2009 episode of “American Idol.” The band still performs, doing corporate gigs for companies such as IBM.

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    Aerosmith -

    In 1970, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer and Ray Tabano formed Aerosmith in Boston. Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford in 1971 and the band broke into the mainstream with their 1975 album, “Toys In the Attic.” Drug problems caused Perry and Whitford to leave the band in 1979 and 1981, but both returned in 1984. The band has sold 150 million albums worldwide. They hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American band. Their hits include “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Cryin’.” The band was set to tour in 2009, but during a concert in Sturgis, S.D., Tyler fell from a catwalk on the stage, and the band was forced to cancel its tour.

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    KISS -

    KISS formed in New York in 1972. The original members were Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The band is known for its distinctive makeup: The Demon (Simmons), Starchild (Stanley), Spaceman (Frehley) and Catman (Criss). The band’s hits included “Beth,” “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City.” In 1977, according to a Gallup poll, KISS was the most popular band in America. The band was also known for its merchandise, which included dolls, comic books, makeup kits and more. The band’s fans were known as the KISS Army. The band’s members all released solo albums in 1978, which marked the beginning of KISS’s decline. Criss and Frehley left the band in 1982. Stanley and Simmons continue to play with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer as KISS.

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    Loggins & Messina -

    Jim Messina had played with Poco and Buffalo Springfield before he teamed up with singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins in 1970. The duo made six albums in the ‘70s and sold 16 million records. Their hits included “Danny’s Song” and “A Love Song.” The duo split in 1970. “Things got a bit strained,” Loggins told msnbc.com. But in 2005, the pair got back together and released a compilation album and a live album. In 2009, the duo hit the road for a tour.

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    Steve Miller Band -

    Steve Miller formed the Steve Miller Band in 1967 in San Francisco. Miller, guitarist James Cook, bassist Lonnie Turner and drummer Tim Davis made up the original lineup, with Boz Scaggs joining soon after. Their hits included “Space Cowboy,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “The Joker” and “Take the Money and Run.” The band’s lineup changed many times through the years and members have included “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, Glyn Johns, Ross Valory, Les Dudek and Jim Smith, among others. The band has not released a new album since 1993’s "Wide River," but continues to tour.

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    Styx -

    Styx was born in 1972 and featured members Chuck and John Panozzo, Dennis DeYoung, John Curulewski and James “J.Y.” Young. The prog rockers’ hits included “Come Sail Away,” “Lady,” “Babe” and “Renegade.” Curulewski left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. The band’s 1983 album, “Kilroy Was Here” was a concept album set in a future where playing music is forbidden. Shaw left at the end of the “Kilroy” tour, and the band fizzled. Styx reunited in 1995, but split into two different bands both using the name in 1999. After a lawsuit, DeYoung was allowed to perform as “the voice of Styx.” The actual Styx features Shaw and JY. In 2009, Styx toured with REO Speedwagon and .38 Special.

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    Tavares -

    The Tavares brothers – Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch and Tiny – started performing as kids in 1959. In 1973, they signed with Capitol Records and really crossed over in 1975. Their hits included, “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel,” “Don’t Take Away the Music” and “Whodunit.” The band recorded the Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman” for the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. Ralph Tavares left the group to become a court officer in New Bedford, Mass.

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    Three Dog Night -

    Singers Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells formed Three Dog Night in 1968. Michael Allsup, Floyd Sneed, Joe Schermie and Jimmy Greenspoon comprised the rest of the band. The band’s hits included “Mama Told Me Not to Come” “Joy To the World” and “Black and White.” The band’s lineup shifted over the years with Sneed, Allsup and Schermie leaving to form their own group. The band played their final show in 1976. In 1981, they reunited for an EP that featured all the original members except Schermie. The lineup changed again throughout the ‘80s. The band still tours, playing 80 concerts a year. Founding members Wells, Hutton, Greenspoon and Allsup still play in the group.

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    The Village People -

    French composer Jacques Morali came up with the concept for the Village People in 1977. The original members included Victor Willis (police officer), Felipe Rose (American Indian chief), Randy Jones (cowboy), Glenn Hughes (biker), David Hodo (construction worker) and Alex Briley (military man). Their hits included “Macho Man,” “Go West,” “Y.M.C.A.” and “Can’t Stop the Music.” The group was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1979. Later members included Ray Simpson, Jeff Olson and Eric Anzalone. Founder Morali died of AIDS in 1991.

    Carol Rosegg, Reuters / Carol Rosegg, Reuters

"I suspect there's a lot more going on than we know about," Whitford, 57, told Reuters. "He has a well-documented history of drug abuse, and I find myself very suspicious. I haven't seen him do this or ... have any personal knowledge, but the isolation is very typical of addictive behavior, and his — what I call — irrational behavior."

Kramer, 59, in a separate interview, declined to get specific about any drug abuse, but said: "Steven has made some poor choices as of late, and he's got some bad influences around him, and I think that for the most part he's his own worst enemy ... I just really hope that Steven puts the focus on Steven and gets healthy."

Tyler's publicist said the singer is not commenting, because he is busy writing his memoirs.

The members of Aerosmith are no strangers to drugs, debauchery and divisions. The so-called "bad boys of Boston" first achieved fame in the early 1970s with such rock perennials as "Dream On" and "Walk this Way."

But the success was accompanied by their prodigious abuse of drugs and alcohol. The band careened toward oblivion by decade's end as sales dried up and both guitarists left.

They enjoyed a comeback in the '80s after getting sober. But, as with any workplace environment, tensions exist.

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Whitford said he has had a "contentious relationship" with Tyler for many years.

"I just find him ... very difficult to talk to," he said. "Most people say, 'How's it going? Nice day.' And (with Tyler) it won't be, 'Yeah, it is a nice day.' All of a sudden, it's drama."

Kramer said he loves Tyler like a brother, but was hurt when the singer failed to respond to his recent voicemail and text messages. Perry has said that the last time he called Tyler, the singer hung up on him.

The band's lineup is rounded out by 57-year-old bassist Tom Hamilton who, the others say, is on the same page as them.

As for finding a new singer, the musicians are very careful to say that no one can fill Tyler's shoes. Nor has the recruitment process begun yet.

"None of us feels like we're in a position to just retire and go off and do something else," Whitford said. "It would be nice if we could find somebody so we can go out and continue to earn a living as some sort of derivative of Aerosmith."

He said it was possible that the band might hit the road under a different name, and acknowledged that there could be legal problems if Tyler sued to stop them from using the "Aerosmith" name. (Roger Waters unsuccessfully sued his Pink Floyd bandmates in the 1980s after they reunited without him.)

Kramer hopes to tour next year to mark the band's 40th anniversary, even if it could be a hollow celebration without the energetic Tyler belting out the hits from his scarf-draped microphone stand.

"What are we gonna do? Sit around for two years and do nothing?"

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