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Aerosmith’s 1985 album Done with Mirrors is generally considered to be both their “comeback” album and their first “drug-free” record. Neither is really accurate: DWM never achieved much commercial or critical success; other than the reworked Joe Perry Project track “Let the Music Do the Talking” there’s little hope of ever hearing the band play any of those songs again and even LtMDtT has very rarely made a setlist. In truth, Aerosmith’s comeback really started the next year when Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined Run-DMC in the latter’s reworking of “Walk this Way”.

As for the “drug-free” label…well, Steven Tyler said in Blender: [Sobriety] made Aerosmith make bad records: We had just gotten sober for [1985’s] Done With Mirrors, and nobody had the balls to say, ‘Dude, that song ain’t finished!’

Interesting quote, but like I said, it isn’t wholly accurate. Tom Hamilton wrote on page 430 of Aerosmith’s autobiography that he was the last person in the band to get sober; that he was “still smoking a couple bowls of pot” every day until the disapproval of the rest of the band made him give it up. He calls Permanent Vacation the band’s first “basically” drug-free album and maybe he’s right.

This post isn’t really about that. I just wish Aerosmith would write more records.

As Steven says, sobriety may have made Aerosmith make bad records, but even a bad record now and then is better than nothing. If you include DWM, since 1985 Aerosmith has made 6 studio records of original material in 23 years: DWM, Permanent Vacation, Pump, Get a Grip, Nine Lives, and 2001’s Just Push Play. That’s 6 records in 23 years and only 3 since 1993’s Get a Grip. There’s been multiple compilations, live records, and the pretty decent blooze album Honkin’ On Bobo,  but that’s it. Even the most recent cash-grab compilation contained two “new” songs that were really only leftovers from the Pump sessions!

Steven Tyler said to Berklee students in 2002: “You can’t be a dreamer and not smoke pot. But that’s not to say it’s any good, because it’s going to wind up stealing your creativity and your spirit.” He told Rolling Stone in 2003: “Drugs get you out of your own way and help you get to another side of yourself. You just don’t want to get caught up doing them all the time, because then you lose the original force of creativity.” When asked last year if he had worried that giving up drugs would impair his creativity, he replied “Of course…but I tried it and found I was wrong.” And over the years he and the rest of the band have made other similar statements.

I’m not saying he’s lying. I’m not saying he’s wrong. And I certainly want to be clear that I’m not advocating Tyler or anybody else to go back to using drugs. They’re probably the main reason that I don’t use them personally–I actually listened to their stories when I was growing up, and I’m proud that they’ve been able to stay clean and help others to get clean.

That said, Aerosmith’s output is depressing. I mean, they’ve never put out a ton of records–for a band that’s been around as long as they have they really don’t have a huge catalog, especially when compared to Alice Cooper or the Rolling Stones. Even a band like Black Sabbath that has gone through all sorts of personnel changes and turmoil (and who hasn’t put out a studio record since 1995) has been more prolific than Aerosmith.

So what’s the deal? If not drugs, then what? Money? Fame? Age? Chasing pop rock success? All would be reasonable, I suppose.

But it’s time to put this old chestnut about drugs having sapped their creativity to rest. In recent years the band has increasingly relied on outside writers and song doctors, and the names Kramer, Whitford, and Hamilton don’t appear on the credits at all anymore. While the Pump sessions with Bruce Fairbairn were truly amazing, eventually the band will run out of material from there that they can rework.

Just a few days ago Tom Hamilton insisted that everyone in the band was saving up riffs they could take into the studio at some undetermined time in the near future. Let’s hope he’s right and the material is worthy of a 7-year (and counting) wait.

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Seriously. Is there a worse job, a lower profession? At least drug dealers fill a need and contribute to the economy.

If the only job you can get is calling and harrassing people then just get a noose and get it over with. You have failed at life. 

Almost as bad–anyone who buys anything from a telemarketer. My guess is they have their most success with older people just happy to have someone to talk to, but still–be a good citizen and hang the dang phone up so we can stomp out these critters just like we did the dodo.

“Supergroups” usually don’t work out, so it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising that Velvet Revolver didn’t last for more than two albums. (That’s as far as Audioslave got, too.)  Likewise, it isn’t that surprising that there’s a dispute over the technicalities of how it ended–Slash & co. said they were firing Scott Weiland whereas, in a press release sent to MTV, Weiland claims that he’d already declared the band “dead in the water”. Whatever–that’s to be expected.

That said…well, screw Scott Weiland. Stone Temple Pilots may have been very successful once upon a time, but they aren’t timeless and as he returns to that gig I think he’ll find that fanbase has long since moved on. And even if they haven’t, Weiland’s a hack–not an original bone in his body. Having the opportunity to essentially join Guns n’ Roses was a tremendous coup for him and an honor he never deserved. Worse, his flat delivery ruined what was lyrically a pretty interesting first VR album and a sonic powerhouse of a second one in “Libertad”. I always got the impression from interviews and news reports that, while he’d never admit it, Weiland was threatened by the spectre of Axl Rose, so rather than meet it head on he reverted into a monotone completely lacking in charisma.

Maybe he’ll be better off.

That said, where does VR go from here?

One popular name popping up is Sebastian Bach. Even Weiland drops that name in the press release, although I’m fairly certain it’s in a back-handed kind of way. (Again, screw Scott Weiland.) To me, that’s an intriguing idea. Bach’s got an interesting voice and has long surrounded himself with “metal” guys–maybe playing dirty rock ‘n’ roll with VR would bring out the best in him. Apparently Bach was one of the finalists last time VR was in the hunt for a singer but was perhaps considered “too 80s” by the rest of the band. Since then he’s really been nurtured by Axl Rose and if the VR gig were offered you’d have to think that would put him in a very awkward position–Axl took him out on a world tour and even sang three songs on his album. And they may not offer as Bach has a well-earned reputation for being difficult.

I was ahead of the curve on Buckcherry (doesn’t happen often) and was hopeful Josh Todd would get the gig after auditioning the first time. Now with Buckcherry enjoying significant success for a sleaze-rock group I doubt there’s any way VR could tear him away. That’s a real lost opportunity and should be a lesson that this time VR need not go for the biggest “name”.

Speaking of big names, Billy Idol’s is floating around out there. I don’t get that. In fact, I’ve never really gotten Billy Idol at all. Is he supposed to be punk? If so, then what’s “Flesh for Fantasy” all about? I dunno–he’s had lots of success and many fans but his influence seems exceptionally narrow. Plus… he’s not exactly a young gun at this point.

Neither is John Corabi I suppose, but that’s an exciting idea. Best known as the guy who sang on the one Motley Crue album without Vince Neil, he’s really rock’s best-kept secret. That album is truly outstanding–I remember in college when the “Daily Tar Heel” reviewed it that it made me so mad that when they next had open applications I made the staff by submitting my own review of the record. (The DTH review was one of those clever college gimmicks where they spent about six column inches not talking about the record at all and going on and on about how the new Crue album made the writer think about some social issue or the other and then the last line was something like, “Oh yeah, the album? It sucks.”) The primetime seemed to have passed Corabi by, but this might be his best shot–he’s got great pipes and can really create a lot of different voices to suit whatever song he’s working with. He’s a no-name, and like Gary Cherone in Van Halen has to carry a legacy of utterly failing the replacement of a popular lead singer, but Corabi might be worth the risk.

Chris Cornell’s name will almost surely come up but I don’t think he’d be a great fit. This may sound stupid, but that dude just isn’t “fun” enough, although maybe after two years with socialist revolutionaries in Audioslave perhaps he’d be up for some songs about, you know, pretty girls.

What about Dave Wyndorf? Monster Magnet released 4-Way Diablo last year and it’s pretty good but the band seems basically comatose in terms of promotion and touring. Wyndorf’s a star and it’s scary to think about how great he could be with that kind of band around him. It’d be said to see Monster Magnet officially killed off but for Slash, Duff, and company, it’d be worth it.

Want a real wildcard? What about Biff Malibu, singer from Norway’s now-defunt band Gluecifer? I think he’d be a great fit.

Better yet, there’s always this guy…

I like Rockstar games. Quite a bit, actually–GTA 3 and its two sequels rank among my favorite games of all time.

Not being a PS2 owner, I’d been waiting for Bully for a long time–loved the concept and everything I’d read about the game, the reviews were great, and basically, I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on it for either my 360 or the PC.

So…um, guys? I don’t think it’s great that you’re among the companies leading the charge in turning console games into the glitchy, buggy, release-it-and-patch-it-later mess that is PC gaming. But if that’s what you’re going to be, then have the decency to put up the information on your webpage, and while you’re at it, fix your dang website so when people go to the Support Page or the Contact Us page we don’t get broken links and a bunch of errors like:

 Not found in database: intro_home

 Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Unknown MySQL Server Host ‘joplin.godgames.com’ (0) in /usr/home/rockstargames/balancer.rockstargames.com/htdocs/support/common.inc on line 2

Warning: mysql_select_db(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /usr/home/rockstargames/balancer.rockstargames.com/htdocs/support/common.inc on line 3

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Can’t connect to local MySQL server through socket ‘/tmp/mysql.sock’ (2) in /usr/home/rockstargames/balancer.rockstargames.com/htdocs/support/req_support_contact.php on line 102

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/rockstargames/balancer.rockstargames.com/htdocs/support/req_support_contact.php on line 102

Warning: mysql_fetch_array(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /usr/home/rockstargames/balancer.rockstargames.com/htdocs/support/req_support_contact.php on line 103

____________________________________________________________

Geezus. Nothing is dumber than a game company with a buggy game having a FUBAR’d support page.

And after you get around to fixing that, go ahead and announce a release date for GTA IV for the PC, okay? Or at least announce that a port is coming–you’re not getting my sixty bucks for the 360 version until you announce your intentions for the PC. (See what’s wrong with me? They’ve just completely screwed up this whole Bully thing, plus they are lying about it with this whole “older 360s” stuff, and I’m still ready to give them 50 bucks for a PC GTA IV port or 60 dollars if I have to settle for a 360 version. I know, I’m part of the problem here.)

George Will once famously said: “Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life: violence and committee meetings.”

Nice quote. But it’s wrong. First of all, football is great. Second, Bill Maher’s show actually combines the two worst elements of American life: celebrities and politics.

If I ever stumble across this disaster again, where I might have to watch Richard Belzer (celebrity?) blather on and on for half an hour…ugh, shoot me. Where’s Hulk Hogan when you need him? (Scroll ahead to about the 5:30 mark.)

In what is actually a fairly interesting argument that Republicans should rally around John McCain, Dan McLaughlin over at Red State makes what is at least to me a startling preamble:

As I previously explained at some length, I am, like Martin, under no illusions about the nature of a McCain presidency, which would undoubtedly lead to a lot of bad consequences for conservatives on a whole range of issues and would almost certainly lead a divided and demoralized party to a bloody and potentially disastrous schism by 2012.

You know, if that’s what conservative types get out of nominating the guy, maybe they should look somewhere else.

*In a meaningless game 16 against the Broncos in the 2004-05 season, Manning played one series, went 1-2 for 6 yards passing, and then sat out the rest of the way.  I don’t begrudge the Patriots going for the undefeated season but it’s worth remembering that Manning played it smart in his last game when he broke the record and he didn’t spend half the season classlessly running up the score on his opponents either.