Steven Tyler feared he’d lose his creative edge if he stopped taking drugs and checked into rehab.
The Aerosmith frontman admits he’ll always be grateful to his bandmates for staging an intervention and forcing him to seek help as he started spiralling out of control, but at first he thought they were trying to “brainwash” him.
In a joint GQ interview with fellow former abuser Joe Walsh, the Love in an Elevator singer says, “(They said), If I don’t go away to rehab, then the s**t’s over.”
“It was interesting that I was being told by a bunch of guys that were still getting f**ked up, but I’m grateful that that happened ’cause I would have never seen the light.”
“I thought they were trying to brainwash me. I thought I would lose my creativity.”
Tyler, who has been sober for almost a decade, adds, “We believed that the road to wisdom was through excess, but it got really bad in the ’80s… But what happens with using is, it works in the beginning, but it doesn’t work in the end. It takes you down. There’s nothing but jail, insanity or death.”
Walsh, who turned to alcohol and drugs as his career hit highs, adds, “Stupidly, naively, when I had an album that didn’t do as good as the one before it, my thinking was, ‘Well, obviously I didn’t drink nearly enough… I need to do more – it’s wearing off’.”
But the drink and drugs eventually robbed him of his friends and his love of music.
The Eagles star adds, “I ended up (being) this godless, hateful thing. I had burned a lot of bridges. I had done crazy things. I didn’t really have any friends… I forgot I play guitar – just didn’t do that anymore. I just kind of isolated and sat at home, and I had my own little universe that I was the head of. The only thing that mattered was not running out of vodka and cocaine. And that was a lot of work.
“After about 15 years, (bandmates) Don Henley and Glenn Frey came to me and said, “We have been thinking of starting the Eagles back up again, and we can’t do it without you, and we can’t do it unless you’re sober”. I was just about homeless. If I got sober, the Eagles would be back together. And I said to myself, “Man, if I’m going to do this, this is my chance”.”
Walsh has been sober for 25 years.