Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler says he thinks he took the gig hosting American Idol in place of taking heroin. “I think I’m an adrenalin junkie,” he says in TIME’s 10 Questions column, which subscribers can read here. “It was risky thing. I didn’t know whether I’d get berated.”
The foul-mouthed but soft-hearted musician, who vacated the judge’s chair on the popular TV show after two seasons, stopped to take questions during Aerosmith’s Global Warming Tour. Never given to understatement, he likens the tour to a circus rather than a traditional rock show. “When [guitarist] Joe [Perry] plays the lead, it’s like he’s putting his head in the lion’s mouth,” he says. “You never know how it’s going to come out, but he’s got the balls to do it. And he comes off looking like one of the biggest rock guitar stars on the planet.”
In his 2011 memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? Tyler estimated that his drug habit had cost him $20 million. But he says that after a bad patch during his last tour mostly brought on by medication he had to take for pain in his feet, which have been loused up by years of on-stage athletics, he’s sober now. He’s also made up with the band, who were dismayed that he fell off the stage during the tour and peeved that he took American Idol. Their new album, Music From Another Dimension, comes out in November.
His partying and womanizing days now behind him, what does the 64-year-old do to get the thrills a rock star becomes accustomed to? He turns to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, his tiny dogs. “I talk to my dogs, you know, when I’m listening to final mixes. ‘You think Joe’s solo should be a little louder?’”