New Heathens
3Dec/09Off

Dear Aerosmith


Dear Aerosmith,

It is with great regret that I must rescind my long-standing application to sing lead for your band. It is unfortunate that only now are four of you looking to replace your iconoclastic lead singer, Steven Tyler. Had you come to this impasse a decade ago, I would have gladly offered up my services, and, with all due modesty, would have done a sweet job aping Mr. Tyler's antics.

Much about my life and the perspective through which I see rock 'n' roll has changed in the past decade. As you know, in 1999 I lived in Missoula, MT (where I nearly killed myself and two best friends in a wintery van rollover while attempting an ill-advised, 1,000-mile, all-night road trip to Fargo, ND to see you.) During that time, while a sousaphone player in the University of Montana marching band, I took Mr. Tyler's dress as inspiration and routinely, in front of packed sports arenas, wore such things as vividly-colored skintight vinyl pants, mardi-gras masks, and feather boas. I also, while blowing on a tuba, aped Mr. Tyler's lascivious dance moves such as crotch-grabbing and pelvic bump-and-grinds.

(It bears noting that during this phase in my life I also copied Mr.Tyler's sobriety which, in retrospect, was a real tactical mistake.)

A few years later, upon moving to New York, I continued to dress and dance like Mr. Tyler and, while singing lead in a series of ill-fated rock bands, attempted to sing like he did too.

This is where cracks began to appear in my facade of "being" Steven Tyler.

I quickly learned that my vocal range is but a fraction of Mr. Tyler's. This limitation eventually led me to write songs in a style that is far more suited to my own voice. I have grown quite comfortable with these songs. Comfortable to the extent that, though my audience is exponentially smaller than Aerosmith's, I enjoy singing my songs in public more than I do yet another crappy version of "Sweet Emotion."

In addition, over the past several years I have learned that my writing style also differs from Mr. Tyler's. While an industry-proclaimed "Rock God" of his stature may sing such overtly sexually charged lyrics as, "I'm gonna' shove my tongue right between your cheeks/I haven't made love now for 25 weeks/I hear that you're so tight your lovin' squeaks," (from 1989's F.I.N.E., [which Chuck Klosterman calls the greatest Aerosmith song of the past generation]), I cannot write and sing that kind of a lyric with anything approaching credibility. In fact my feeble attempts at such "faux-Tyler" lyricisms (for example: "A pair of platinum-blonds say, 'Let's go have some fun/Get some/Get some/Get some action!'" from my sophomorically-named 2003-2005 band, "Automatic Bad Machine,") turned out far more embarrassing than they did awesome.

I also learned, through the years, that dancing like Mr. Tyler in the small, sparsely-attended clubs that I have played strikes the few audience members as inauthentic, hyperactive and obnoxious. Because economics have forced me to play more guitar at my shows, my Tyler-esque dancing has been further minimized (interesting fact: it's harder to dance like Steven Tyler while playing a guitar than it is while playing a tuba.)

It is a shame that the opportunity to sing lead for Aerosmith had not cropped up ten years ago, because if I had done it then I would have thought it the absolute raddest thing on god's green earth.

In summation, I would not be a good choice as a replacement singer for Aerosmith because I no longer aspire to dress, dance, sing, not-drink or write like Steven Tyler, having learned over many years the folly of trying to do so. I am also, for the first time, quite happy with the status of my own original music, what with a new record soon to drop and a series of new songs I have written. In fact, I am so more satisfied with performing my own music that I might be tempted to sing songs by one of my former glam-rocking heroes only if Queen wised up and tossed aside that dead weight Paul Rogers (because if you think my Steven Tyler is good, you should see my Freddie Mercury).

Finally, as both a musician and a longtime, dues-paid Aerosmith fan, I must pose to you four non-lead-singing members this question:

Who the fuck would want to see Aerosmith without Steven Tyler anyway?

Yours truly,
Nate Schweber

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  1. This is brilliant. Just effing brilliant. Am I right, Lido?


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