Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steven Tyler talks about his American Idol experience so far

Steven Tyler is in a groove these days as American Idol gets set to launch its 10th season next week with a new set of judges.

Tyler is front and center in the media spotlight, and spoke to Billboard magazine about his Idol experience, so far.

Here’s a part of that conversation:

Billboard: Kid Rock recently questioned why you were doing "American Idol." What do you say to that?

Steven Tyler:
Kid Rock was there when we went to the White House [on Dec. 5 to perform during the Paul McCartney tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors]. I looked at him and said, "You know what, man, I'm not going to argue with you. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong." [Laughs] Look, we're all an outcome of what we've been, and he's certainly lived a rough life. He's got a single coming out and he's like a pregnant animal. When you have an album, you want to protect it. You want to do whatever you can to make it happen. I just know that deep down inside, his comments don't mean shit. It just doesn't mean anything in the great scheme of things. It's television. I've never done this and it's going to be fun, and if he thinks for a minute that it's going to take my career down... I want what he's smoking.

BB: How does the scrutiny of being on "American Idol" compare with the scrutiny of being in Aerosmith?

Well, the show isn't on yet. Once it is, I'll be under that microscope. But I'm so used to being under the microscope, whether it's falling off a stage -- I'm not sure if the public really wants to know that I had surgery on both feet -- or that, yes, I'm a drug addict and alcoholic from the '70s with a problem... You have the band finding another lead singer, and all that goes with that. But the scrutiny? Bring it on! I live for it. I went from being told in rehab by my therapist, "Your best thinking got you here," to being in the White House and being told by the president, "What are you doing here?" [Laughs] It was fabulous. I'm so busy doing so many million things, so many irons in the fire that people don't know what to think. I don't need to be validated by someone's opinions or show. This will last for three years if I stay with it, or four months if I just do this year. But I'm in Aerosmith forever.

BB: What do you want to see in a prospective "Idol" contestant?

That certain something which can't be defined. When I hit on a song [sings intro to Aerosmith's "Jaded"], I go, "Oh, s**t! Where did that come from?" Or [sings "Sweet Emotion"] and I go, "Oh, my God, there it is!" And whatever it is that magic comes from, it's the unknown. You can't put your finger on it. You can't say, "Well, sing in church and you'll be a great singer." It's an unspoken thing.

BB: So you're not looking for a technically perfect singer, per se.

A lot of stars out there may not be the best singers, and a lot of stars may have, you know, a quirky quality. Just look at Lady Gaga, look at Mick Jagger and look at my own self; the character that you turn into, that your music allows you to be... that's what I'm looking for, that little quirky something. It's not just a good voice. It's not just how they look. It's the whole package.

BB: About how many singers have you seen audition so far?

Wow... 700.

BB: And out of those 700, how many people have impressed you as having that "madman," soul quality?

Twenty... and by the way, out of those 20 that Randy and I and J-Lo love, there's only 10 of them left. Because they would come out and perform, and we'd look at them and say, "Why'd you pick that key? Who told you to sing that song? You were much better last week!... That was terrible!" And it hurts my heart to say that. I just wasn't brought up that way... I've got to keep reminding myself that we're looking for an "American Idol" -- something that's so f**ing good-and that's exactly how I judge myself and the songs I write with Joe Perry.

Check out the full Tyler interview at Billboard here.

Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic
You Gotta Move DVD (2004)

See also:

Steven Tyler promotes American Idol, talks Aerosmith
Aerosmith: Steven Tyler looking for Joe Perry, wants to record
Steven Tyler keeps busy with American Idol promo swing
Steven Tyler to appear on new ZZ Top tribute album
hennemusic: Steven Tyler leads list of 10 Rockers To Watch In 2011