Steven Tyler On Why He Joined — And Quit — ‘American Idol’
Additional reporting by Chris Willman
photo: Michael Becker/Fox
photo: Michael Becker/Fox
Speaking to Yahoo! Music during a press junket for Aerosmith's forthcoming comeback album, Music From Another Dimension, Steven minced NO words when discussing his decision to leave "Idol" after two seasons and never look back--although he implied that if he hadn't quit, he probably would have been pink-slipped anyway.
"You could equate it maybe to a band, but a band has to get into a fight and argue to break up. Television, it's just the next moment. The producers are watching that and instead of going, 'This is great,' they're thinking about how to make it greater the next year...they just look at the numbers and go, 'We need to change something,'" Steven explained. "So in the sense of that, it came around the month that I used to get phone calls, and I went, 'Wait a minute.' I called Randy [Jackson] and I said, 'What's going on? Am I getting thrown off?' He goes, 'They haven't called me...' And then I called Jennifer [Lopez], and she goes, 'I don't know what I'm doing.' So there was a month of huh? So finally one day I just went, 'It just don't feel right. I'm quittin' now.' Then the next morning Jennifer quit, so what does that tell you? It just didn't feel right."
Steven also made it clear that Aerosmith was always his top priority, even though Fox paid him generously. "There wasn't enough money to pay me to sit around and not go out with Aerosmith," he said, recalling the time he bargained for an "Idol" raise. "It was good money, but trust me, when I went back to [Fox] and said, 'Here's what I'm getting,' I put it in a piece of paper and handed it to 'em. I said, 'What would you rather do? Do a show that's been out for 10 years, or go with a band that's been together FOR FORTY YEARS? What do you think I'm going to do? I'm going with those guys. Unleeeessssss, you give me THIS!' That was a very funny moment. And [Fox] gave me what I wanted. I'm not a look-at-the-money guy, unless I get numbers like that."
Steven also admitted that his fallout with Aerosmith (after he tumbled offstage in 2009 at a South Dakota concert--injuring his head, neck, and shoulder--and the band's tour had to be cancelled) is what led him to consider the "American Idol" job in the first place.
"Those guys were angry because it was a great tour. I was angry. It was a great tour and I f***ed it up by falling off the stage. Come on. I know what I did. And they were angry at me, and so I didn't get back to them, so they decided to look for other lead singers, which pissed me off even more, which made me go to look at 'Idol,' because I wasn't sure what I was gonna do. And it was just perfect. It was really perfect, the way it went.
"It was not nice at the moment. I was totally incensed and hurt that a lot of those guys didn't call me back, but then, I had done something to them. It's the boys' club here. We can be rough with each other. And when you're high, you tend to take it personally. You know, half the things that they did, when I look back and I think, 'So let me see. They didn't come to the hospital when I got medivac-ed because I had a broken neck...Uh, why don't you call your lead singer, he's in the hospital and he's on his back right now, and they just put 40 stitches in the back of his head, so maybe you want to call him. His name is Steven. Bye!'