Entertainment behind the scenes
“American Idol” has finally announced its new judging panel, ending months of speculation about the future shape of the show.
But are Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and actress/singer Jennifer Lopez the right choice? And will star power be enough to keep old “Idol” fans (and hopefully millions more new ones) tuning in when the show returns in January?
Tyler, the volatile lead singer of America’s best-selling rock band, will certainly bring a rock edge to a contest that has specialised in producing middle-of the-road champions for an audience that ranges from 8 to 80 year-olds.
And J.Lo, as America’s leading Latina entertainer, may entice a whole new Hispanic audience to the show. (And as for her reported “diva” demands that made the rounds a few weeks ago – “so much rubbish”, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told journalists this week.)
Aerosmith without Steven Tyler is like cocaine without a straw, or alcohol without a hangover.
But as fans come to grips with the very real possibility that the rubber-faced singer may abandon his scarf-draped microphone stand at the helm of one of America’s most successful rock bands, the next question is: Who should replace him?
(updates with comment from Joe Perry)
The wife of Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry doesn’t particularly care for the band’s recordings, and has never listened to any of their albums in their entirety.
“I am not a fan of Aerosmith’s music without the live performance behind it,” Billie Perry (at right with her husband) wrote on her Twitter page on Sunday.
Before the official word of the cancellation, Tyler, 61, described what happened when he fell from the stage and broke his shoulder during a concert on Aug. 5 near Sturgis, South Dakota.
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry gets to spread his wings on his fifth solo CD, “Joe Perry … Have Guitar Will Travel,” which he hopes to release in November.
Perry, who sings on four of the tracks, also expects to tour early next year under the guise of the Joe Perry Project. The album follows a self-titled, Grammy-nominated effort that came out in 2005 and sold 31,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. His first three solo albums, all credited to the Joe Perry Project, were released in the early 1980s when he briefly quit Aerosmith during its drug-fueled nadir.
Want some good news about Aerosmith’s troubled tour? Dream On. The veteran rockers have officially postponed shows scheduled for Saturday in Tampa and Monday in Sunrise/Ft. Lauderdale, after a few days of confusion as to whether they would proceed. Seven shows have now been scrapped as a result of an unspecified leg injury suffered by 61-year-old singer Steven Tyler.
The trek kicked off on June 10 in St. Louis, and the band managed to perform seven shows through June 29 before Tyler (pictured left with guitarist Joe Perry at the American Music Awards last November) was hobbled. Initial sympathy expressed by fans on the official message board at Aeroforceone.com is now turning into frustration as they have to cancel travel and accommodation plans, babysitters and the like.
Back in their youthful heyday, the members of Aerosmith indulged in every sort of hedonistic pursuit backstage after their concerts. These days, they head straight to the tour bus and surf the Web to see what their fans thought about the show, says lead guitarist Joe Perry.
The feedback is important in the early stages of a tour, such as the one that began last Wednesday in St. Louis, as the band struggles to regain match form after a 20-month absence from the stage.
“They don’t hold anything back,” Perry said of the comments on sites such as the official Web site, aeroforceone.com. “It’s a lot of fun to read it. Some of it isn’t so much fun, but it still gives you good feedback … We can take care of the technical stuff and what we expect out of ourselves, but the most important thing is how it affects the fans.”
With just two shows of the tour under its belt, the set list will undergo some major changes, and fan input will be an influence, Perry told Reuters on Sunday, calling from the bus taking him from Milwaukee back to the band’s Boston hometown.
“The bottom line is we’re entertainers. We want to keep the fans happy. We’re not these egotistical artists that dictate, ‘Well you must listen to this one and you must like it whether you applaud or not.’”
Rocking out with Aerosmith can be hazardous for your health. Four out of five of the veteran group’s members have disclosed major medical problems in the last three years. The most recent addition to the sick list is guitarist Brad Whitford.
The band’s publicist said on Monday that Whitford, 57, is recovering from “recent surgery,” and will miss an unspecified number of dates on the band’s tour, which begins on Wednesday in St. Louis. She declined to comment on Whitford’s ailment. Bobby Schneck, who has played with Green Day and Weezer, will fill in for him.
Summer’s almost here, and the time is right for Aerosmith’s first North American shows in almost two years.
America’s rock ‘n’ roll bad boys, sidelined last year by singer Steven Tyler’s rehab stint and guitarist Joe Perry’s bad knee, said Monday they would begin a three-month amphitheater tour in St. Louis on June 10.
The trek will take the band to 33 cities, including Washington on June 21, Houston on July 17, Chicago on Aug. 28, Toronto on Sept. 3, and finally Detroit on Sept. 16. Opening act ZZ Top will join the tour on June 16, when Aerosmith play to a hometown crowd in Boston.