Steven Tyler's background as a drummer has undoubtedly served him well on his journey to becoming a music icon, but as Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton remembers it, Tyler was perfectly happy putting an end to his career behind the kit.
Hamilton tells Music Radar in a new interview that the idea of filling just one role in a band was part of the reason Tyler agreed to join Aerosmith in 1970.
"Steven was playing drums and singing lead in his band before joining up with Joe [Perry] and I, a situation that he hated," Hamilton said. "When he called and said he would come up to Boston and join us, I think he was under the impression that we wanted him to play drums, but we promptly reassured him that the drums could stay home so he could be out front where he belonged. Joe and I had seen him perform in some of his other previous bands as a lead singer and were blown away."
While Tyler's background in percussion has caused drummer Joey Kramer no shortage of grief over the years, Hamilton says any suggestion that Tyler could seamlessly resume his seat at the drums is mistaken.
"He has a great feel as a drummer and has plenty of knowledge when it comes to creative ideas, but his touch isn't as heavy and powerful as Joey's," Hamilton continued. "There's a lot of back and forth between those guys when it comes to ideas and the whole band benefits from it."
The best example of the whole band benefitting from Tyler and Kramer's co-drumming is "Walk This Way." According to producer Jack Douglas, the song's drum beat is still a hot-button issue between the pair.
Douglas told Produce Like A Pro last month that after hearing Perry's riff for "Walk This Way," Tyler had an idea for a groove.
"Steven sat down at the drums ... and went, in a very s----y, sloppy way, did [something like the beat in the song]," Douglas explained.
But Tyler's attempt wasn't getting the band anywhere, and the song was going to get finished in time. Douglas says everything changed when Kramer sat down at the kit and reinterpreted the beat.
"...[Kramer] adds all the finesse and jazz to it that makes Joe Perry [play his riff differently]," Douglas emphasized. "So really, who [wrote it]? It's both of them."
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