Soul-stirring music

Steven Tyler is inspired by the legendary sitar maestro Ravi Shankar - promises to come perform in India soon.

Ians May 27, 2011


You know him as a rock icon, famous for his onstage antics, powerful voice and signature screams. But there are things about Aerosmith front-man Steven Tyler that only a few know of — that he heard Indian musician Ravi Shankar as a teenager and finds joy in his children’s laughter at Christmas.

The 63-year-old musician has been a part of Aerosmith, the American hard rock band, since its inception over four decades ago and admits that he has limited knowledge of Indian music but thinks highly of it. “I’d have to say that my limited knowledge of Indian music and film is based on seeing Ravi Shankar when I was a teenager,” Tyler said.

“I’m aware of some Indian music genres. On the whole, a lot of Indian music seems to be speaking to the soul, which is wonderful. I know there is a world-famous music and movie scene in India and I’m sure that its growing influence will continue,” he added.

The singer has used “Taste of India” as a song title for Aerosmith’s 12th studio album Nine Lives released in 1997. The band got the idea for this song by walking past a restaurant named “Taste of India”. The song was written by Tyler and contains elements of Indian music throughout, along with driving guitar riffs and a heavy backbeat and the sarangi intro by Sangeet Natak Akademi Award winner Ramesh Mishra is not to be missed.

Aerosmith’s other Indian connection came in 2007 when the world famous band came to India to perform in Bangalore. It’s been a while since their visit and, with the Indian fans getting an increasing dose of international stars like Bryan Adams and Akon, when does the band intend to return to the country? “Well, soon enough!” says Tyler who has four children — female actor Liv, model Mia and Chelsea and Taj Tallarico from different wives.

Aerosmith has been known for songs like “Crazy” and “I don’t want to miss a thing”. As of now, Tyler is basking in the success of his single “(It) feels so good”, released on Sony Music. The song was actually rejected by the band members, says Tyler.

“Once I was staying at the Sunset Marquis (a Los Angeles hotel) and I went out and sat down by the pool waiting for my daughters to come. Because they didn’t turn up — and I thank god they didn’t — I wrote down all these lyrics instead. The band didn’t like it, so I just kept it with me for the last couple of years! And now I can hear it coming out of people’s cars this summer! I’m a fool for melody, man. I’ve got to have melody. I miss it, and there it is!” he added.

Tyler is also penning a song with Hollywood star Johnny Depp, working on new music with Aerosmith with a follow-up to 2004’s “Honkin’ on Bobo”, and has enjoyed every bit of his role as a judge on the tenth season of “American Idol” — a platform he shared with Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. Over the years, Tyler has just loved being part of ‘The Bad Boys of Boston’, a pseudonym for Aerosmith. But he has tried to introduce his softer side to his fans through his memoir Does The Noise In My Head Bother You.

“I would have been dead several times over. A rock star with problems is nothing new. My memoir, Does The Noise In My Head Bother You, is just that. Yes, I did have many medical problems, a torn ACL in my knees, a broken blood vessel in my throat and, worst of all, Hepatitis C! But being in a band with Aerosmith, you’re kinda depicted very differently — bad boys. And people love the Bad Boys of Boston.

Everybody’s always intrigued by the badness of it all. And then I thought, why not share with the world the way it really is, and share my feelings about the different aspects of my life, how I am addicted to Christmas time hearing my kids laugh — I don’t think they know that side.”

And even though many wouldn’t expect an unusually fit man at the age of 63 jamming on stage with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand, Tyler is as evergreen as it gets when he says his association with Aerosmith will be ‘forever’!

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.


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