Friday, March 26, 2021

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview

Free Kicks--Luck of the Draw

Free Excerpt: Steven Tyler

 Just posted on the Studio Walls blog at Eckhartz Press...

Today is Steven Tyler’s birthday, so we thought it was a good time to post this excerpt of Bobby Skafish’s book We Have Company: Four Decades of Rock and Roll Encounters. It’s Chapter 22 of the book…

Bobby Skafish holding the first copy of this book.

It was the summer of 1990 and boy was Aerosmith riding high. Actually they were riding straight, “clean and serene” as Stone Ronnie Wood once put it. Their group plunge into sobriety had been highly publicized and it seemed to paying big dividends: their first two post-rehab albums, Permanent Vacation and Pump combined went onto sell more than 12 million copies stateside and their videos were MTV constants.

So imagine my joy and anticipation at having their two principles, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry guest live on my Loop FM 98 afternoon drive program just hours before their gig in south suburban Tinley Park. The following night it was another outdoor performance, at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin. Meeting them rendered me so jazzed I decided then and there to go to the concert that night with my wife. This was well before Mr. Tyler became over-exposed as a celeb and the output of the band diminished so badly.

I led with mentioning that I had heard that their stage design was very interesting, an urban rooftop. “What’s that all about?”

Steven Tyler: “It’s all about the ghetto. It’s all about where we like to play. It’s all about how we are, down and dirty. It’s our playground.”

Turns out it was modeled on an actual New York City rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen a Manhattan neighborhood where they used to record, the Record Plant. The rooftop was where they would go to listen to playbacks. Converting the stage design to resemble it was Joe Perry’s brainchild.

I told Mr. Tyler that I had heard he entered into his computer a rating for each city they would play in somewhere between “Limp and great.” He quickly corrected me, “Limp and effin’ great.” The reason? “I store it because you never know when you’re gonna write a book and you wanna keep your memoirs.”

Tyler made good on his book idea, with autobiography Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? in 2011. But in 1990 I needed to know “where in the world would Aerosmith run into a blasé audience?”

ST; “Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. It’s just how much they sing and what gets thrown at us that night.”

Joe Perry: “What songs they respond to better. You know what I mean?

Old songs (or) new songs, ya know?”

I expressed the view that unlike many of their same-generation peers, Aerosmith had made some really effective videos.

ST: “In the early days I was really POed about someone taking a song like Dream On and doing a video to it. We also felt that way about synthesizers, you know? We put this big stink up about them. And when you learn how to use these vehicles, the artists that come out on top are the ones that do it just right. And I like to sometimes think that we gave it just enough thought to use it right. It’s a vehicle…if you take it too serious like, what’s his name in Piper?

BS: “Billy Squier?” Piper was Squier’s band, pre-solo fame.*

ST: “Billy Squier. You know what happens there. And there’ve been a couple of our videos that should have been flushed down the ‘toidy.’

But for the most part, we keep the humor up and we keep the sex up because that’s what our rock and roll’s all about. I sing about it tongue in cheek and in other places.

JP (cutting in): “Sometimes you don’t want to have an image painted for you about a song. That’s what music is about. It’s supposed to be your interpretation and when you put it in a video it can make it too much. But I think we’ve managed to make a few good videos. I like to watch them when they’re done but they can be a real pain in the ass to do.”

We covered a few other topics: how they go about constructing set lists, our mutual love of Vancouver, BC, where Aerosmith had been recording, and the meaning of the acronym FINE (Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional) from their song What It Takes.

 I saved my best for last:

BS: “It’s been well documented that Aerosmith had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and that you no longer have this problem….”

ST (interrupting in a cartoonish Dead End Kid- like voice): “No man, we’re cured. Don’t you know that? We’re cured like so much beef jerky (pronounced joiky).” All three of us laughed at Tyler’s shtick.

BS: …“That’s been written about to death. The question, which is maybe a little more relevant to what’s going on now: you have banned alcohol from your concert sites. Let me just play devil’s advocate here; I took a call two days ago and the guys complaint was, he goes ‘What’s with Aerosmith? Just because they couldn’t handle their alcohol who are they to tell me I can’t have two beers and be responsible at the gig?’ What do you say to a guy like that?”

ST: “I say eff you, first of all. Give me that guy’s number. I’m gonna send him a marred strudel (?).  (Voice gaining intensity) No, I say that if he was in the limousine for all the shows that we do when you drive home and see the head on collisions and things, and people getting dragged out of the cars bleeding – I don’t like that.

JP: “Also the bottles that come flying up on the stage. I’m sorry, there’s a few people that can handle their liquor, and I’m sure there are, and if they can it shouldn’t make any difference if they can do without it for an hour and a half. But the fact that there’s so many people there at the shows and we’ve been hit by so many bottles over the years; I mean we’ve all got scars from it. We’re finally able to do something about it. Funnily enough, there are no fights in the audience, there are no car accidents, and the audiences still go crazy so it’s working for us. It’s all about us staying straight.”

ST: “You know, we’ve got our own problems. Just because we started out with a little blow and I ended up shooting it and almost killing myself and my whole career. We were fortunate enough to see that that was killing us and our music, and that’s we got into it in the first place for. So it’s not that we want everybody to be like us, we certainly don’t. I don’t think there are a lot of people that have the same problem we do.”

*Steven Tyler picked a good example of having a bad music video. Billy Squier’s 1984 Rock Me Tonight video, in which he prances and cavorts around a bedroom is considered to be the worst video ever made by a major artist according to a poll of 400 music industry people, and was considered to be highly detrimental to his career.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

RIP Jessica Walter

One of the best television characters of all-time. RIP, Jessica.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

20 Years Ago This Week

RIP Granville Waiters

Former Chicago Bulls back-up center Granville Waiters has passed away at the age of 60. I thought he was 60 when he played for the Bulls in the mid-80s.

Barry nails it again

21 pounds?

Cubs prospect Jesus Camargo was busted yesterday. He had *21 pounds* of meth in his car. 21 pounds? That's enough for the entire state of Kentucky.

One hit of Meth is about .1 gram. Ten hits per gram. 453 grams per pound. 4530 hits per pound. 21 pounds is 95,130 hits of meth.

RIP George Segal

He died yesterday at the age of 87. I'll never forget this scene from "Where's Poppa" (1970)...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Opening Day Starter Named

Sidney Powell

In other words, only an idiot would believe I was telling the truth. This is what happens when they actually have to defend themselves in court.

Chicago Radio Ratings

 From Robert Feder's column today. For the full dayparts, click here.

Here are Chicago’s top 30 radio stations from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday, as measured by Nielsen Audio from February 4 to March 3, followed by format and average quarter-hour share of listeners age 6 and older (with previous month’s share in parentheses):

1. WBBM 780-AM/WCFS 105.9-FM all news, 7.1 (7.3)
2. WBEZ 91.5-FM public radio news talk, 6.4 (6.7)
3. WVAZ 102.7-FM R&B, 6.0 (6.8)
4. WLIT 93.9-FM adult contemporary, 5.3 (5.1)
5. WTMX 101.9-FM hot adult contemporary, 4.5 (4.4)
6. WGN 720-AM news talk, 4.1 (4.1)
7. (tie) WDRV 97.1-FM classic rock, 4.0 (4.4); WOJO 105.1-FM Mexican regional, 4.0 (3.5)
9. WXRT 93.1-FM adult album alternative, 3.8 (3.4)
10. WKSC 103.5-FM Top 40, 3.0 (2.6)
11. WLS 94.7-FM classic hits, 2.9 (2.9)
12. WPPN 106.7-FM Spanish adult contemporary, 2.6 (2.7)
13. (tie) WBMX 104.3-FM classic hip-hop, 2.5 (2.1); WKQX 101.1-FM alternative rock, 2.5 (1.7)
15. WSHE 100.3-FM adult contemporary, 2.4 (2.0)
16. WFMT 98.7-FM classical, 2.2 (1.5)
17. (tie) WSCR 670-AM sports talk, 2.1 (2.3); WRME 87.7-FM soft rock oldies, 2.1 (2.9)
19. (tie) WUSN 99.5-FM country, 2.0 (2.0); WBBM 96.3-FM Top 40, 2.0 (1.8)
21. WLEY 107.9-FM Mexican regional, 1.8 (2.1)
22. WGCI 107.5-FM hip-hop, 1.7 (1.9)
23. WLS 890-AM news talk, 1.6 (1.9)
24. WCHI 95.5-FM rock, 1.5 (1.8)
25. WMBI 90.1-FM Christian ministry, 1.3 (1.1)
26. WVIV 93.5-FM Spanish contemporary, 1.2 (1.0)
27. WPWX 92.3-FM hip-hop, 1.1 (1.2)
28. (tie) WCKL 97.9-FM contemporary Christian music, 0.9 (0.8); WCPT 820-AM progressive talk, 0.9 (1.1)
30. WMVP 1000-AM sports talk, 0.8 (0.7)

Monday, March 22, 2021

Minutia Men--Celebrating the Interviews

 Had some technical issues on Dave's end this week, so we pulled out some of our favorite interviews...