Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry has revealed how the band once considered replacing vocalist Steven Tyler with Sammy Hagar.
In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Perry told how the band debated replacing their iconic frontman around a decade ago. At the time Tyler was busy appearing as a judge on the reality talent show American Idol, along with being involved in numerous other non-Aerosmith endeavours including a solo album.
With Tyler’s bandmates fearing he was distancing himself from Aerosmith, they began to consider replacing the singer. The likes of Billy Idol, Lenny Kravitz, Paul Rodgers and the late Chris Cornell were all mooted as possible replacements. It was Hagar who came closest to accepting the role. Ultimately the band stuck with Tyler.
“It was really another one of those times, you don’t keep a band together without a lot of bumps,” Perry explained. “But anyway, over the years, everybody has to bust out and do what they want. And I remember Steven doing that TV show, I thought that was great. I just knew he had to do something like that, and doing that solo record that he did. So the band wasn’t that tight, there was talk and there were so many people involved — lawyers, different managers.”
Perry spoke of how he believed Tyler was on the verge of having to leave Aerosmith due to his many other commitments.
“I thought Steven wants maybe to take four years off, do what he wants to do,” he said. “And so the whole looking around for another lead singer thing, just as soon as that happened, that raised its head.”
“I’m not sure how it got out there, but Sam I know as a really mellow guy, easy to get along with,” Perry said of Hagar. “And he definitely had the pipes — so I can see why that idea had been floated. But we also had a shortlist at that point. Things went the way they did, everybody got out of the system what they wanted to, and then we slowly glued back together.”
Known as ‘The Red Rocker’, Hagar rose to fame in the ’70s as the lead singer of rock group Montrose. Following a successful solo career he replaced David Lee Roth as the lead vocalist of Van Halen in 1985, staying with the band until ’96 and returning for a two-year spell between 2003 and 2005. He currently divides his time between various business interests and fronting the bands Chickenfoot and Sammy Hagar and the Circle.
Aerosmith’s European tour was recently rescheduled to 2022 in the hopes of avoiding pandemic issues. Guitarist Brad Whitford expressed doubts over the UK legs due to Brexit work visa issues.
“There’s another interesting thing about going to Europe now because of Brexit – it’s so much harder to get work visas because of that,” he said on the Live from Nerdville with Joe Bonammassa show. “That’s gonna be a whole other nightmare.”