For a long, long, LONG time I was a die hard Aerosmith fan. I fell in love with them with the advent of Get a Grip and made the journey backwards to learn their roots. I was able to recite all their lyrics and knew when a line got changed live. I prowled used record stores in Cambridge looking for bootlegs. I ebayed for unique items (like the pewter wings logo belt buckle that has never been on a belt I own). I made sure I was present for each New Year's Eve concert. I've stood on the stoop of 1325 Comm Ave more times than I should have.
I was that fan.
Because of my fangirl ways (and working in a computer center in college), I met like-minded people where our common interest was a certain Boston-based quintet. It was awesome to find so many people who felt the same way. The relationships that started out superficially expanded and I'm happy to say that a few that I met back in 1998 are still my friends in 2009.
The type of passion I was able to muster for Aerosmith dwindled over time. It happens in all relationships that aren't based in some deep-rooted more meaningful way. I got annoyed with the quality of music that they had been putting out since O, Yeah! (their 7th compilation album) came out in 2002, but was able to overlook it because it was all about the "live experience."
I stopped believing in the live Aerosmith experience sometime in 2004 or 2005 when they were touring to support their tribute to the blues. Ticket prices at this point were ranging somewhere between 50 and 60 dollars per seat. Fan club prices were higher. The fan club itself had changed management companies and became all about price gouging. Their sets were becoming shorter and more focused on playing the same rotation of songs instead of dusting off better written rarities circa 1976.
During the Honkin on Bobo tour, I tore up my fan contract. I was done with the hypocrisy of the Aerosmith brand. They had started out as the "poor man's Rolling Stones," but their definition of poor and mine differ vastly. (This is coming from the girl who once paid $150 cash for a 5th row seat and didn't blink an eye.)
I started listening to more lesser known bands who played smaller venues, like the Worcester Palladium and the Middle East in Cambridge. These bands were just as talented as Aerosmith and they still were performing because they loved the music. (I had been questioning Aerosmith's dedication to their art for a while.)
After a 3 year hiatus, I started listening to their back catalog (anything before Permanent Vacation) again. I had forgotten how good they were, and had made a crack earlier this year that if they went back on drugs, the music would sort itself out. Listening to their old stuff almost had me forgive them for releasing Sedona Sunrise (and ultimately ruining the value of Permanent Outtakes forever). I said almost.
Then I got three different emails from three different news sources about Steven Tyler's recent news. The fangirl hiding deep within was extremely upset, but I got over it fast because of one turn of phrase - "Brand Tyler."
This type of Prima Donna behavior is expected when you're in your 20s, but when you're old enough to be my father? Newsflash, Steven. 61 is a little late to start a brand.
Unless your Lemmy.