April 07. 2016 1:33PM
Aerosmith (Photo by Lisa Martineau)

Aerosmith, considered by many to be America's greatest rock and roll band, has its roots in New Hampshire. Two members of the band, lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry spent their childhood summers in Sunapee. Bassist Tom Hamilton went to nearby New London High School and lived year round in the resort town. Tyler and Perry met at the Anchorage, a Sunapee ice cream parlor, where Perry held a summer job.

In 1964, Steven Tyler formed his first serious band, The Strangeurs, in Sunapee. Later, in 1966, as Steven went into the studio to record for the first time with his band, the newly named Chain Reaction, Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton started a band of their own. By 1969, they would be called the Jam Band. Both bands would play locally and fate would bring them together. In Sunapee, back in those days there was a place called the Barn, where teenagers would gather to watch bands play. The three level barn was owned by local John Conrad, and would become a favorite hangout for the boys. Tyler, Perry and Hamilton got together to form their own band and the following year they made their first public appearance as Aerosmith.

Brick in Sunapee, NH (Lisa Martineau)

During these early years, Aerosmith worked hard, playing everywhere they could to establish themselves. They played throughout New Hampshire at places like the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, Holman Stadium in Nashua, the Capitol Theater in Concord and of course, the Barn in Sunapee. They played many a high school prom. Now, more than forty years later, they have acheived incredible successes, touring the world, winning many a Grammy and numerous other awards, performing at the Superbowl and earning their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (induction: 2001). All the fame did come with a price though. During the seventies at the height of their game, the band suffered through serious drug addiction, eventually splitting up. Their demons would haunt them for years to come.

They were "Back in the Saddle" by the late 80's, crawling their way back by re-releasing "Walk this Way" re-mixed with Run DMC. Some even credit them with bringing rap music into the mainstream; but the collaboration did set the stage for a rock/rap mix that later became a radio staple during the 90's.

All of this from a band that originally came together in the small town of Sunapee, New Hampshire.

You'll find evidence of their presence here. The Anchorage is still there, though it is now a full-service restaurant. A brick walkway in the harbor features bricks carved out with band members' names and a brick that simply says, "Aerosmith". Members of the band continue to maintain strong ties to the Granite State. The New Hampshire International Speedway (now called New Hampshire Motor Speedway) has attracted racing fans Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer.

Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith (Lisa Martineau)

Their comeback continued with the release of Permanent Vacation in 1987. The album featured the songs "Angel," "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and "Rag Doll," all three of which charted in the Top 20. They followed that with their tenth album, Pump (1990), which featured three number one singles, "The Other Side," "Love in an Elevator" and "What It Takes." The song "Janie's Got a Gun" hit number 4 and received a lot of attention because of its subject matter, childhood sexual abuse. The single earned them a Grammy Award for "Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal." The record also made it to number 5 on the Billboard 200.

At this point in their careers, the band was seeing a comeback unlike any other band in the history of rock and roll. By 1993, the band released Get a Grip. It became the best-selling album of their career and hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart. With songs like "Amazing," "Living on the Edge," "Cryin'" and "Crazy" (and the videos to go along with them), the band had some of their biggest successes, including two Grammy Awards for "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal," MTV's "Viewer's Choice Award" for "Livin' on the Edge," "Best Video of the Year" in 1994 for "Cryin'" and the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Rock Group" in 1994. An 18-month long world tour to support the album. It included an appearance at the Woodstock '94 Festival, their first appearances in Central and South America, a number of European nations and a whirlwind through Japan. Big Ones, a greatest hits album with two news songs, "Blind Man" and "Walk on Water" was released toward the end of the tour in November 1994.

They followed Get a Grip with Nine Lives in 1997. It peaked at number one on the Billboard charts and a single from the album, "Pink" won a Grammy for "Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal." Two songs from the album, "Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)" and "Pink" both charted at number one on Mainstream Rock Tracks, but the rest of the album received little airplay and fewer accolades.

In 1998, the band released the single "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" from the Armageddon soundtrack. The film starred Tyler's daughter Liv. The song earned them their first #1 single, and their only one to date. The single was also nominated for an Academy Award, another first for the band. In January 2001, the band performed during the half-time show at the Superbowl with Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, 'N Sync and Nelly.

The band's autobiography, "Walk This Way" by Stephen Davis, chronicled the bands ups and downs with a series of highly narrative dialogue from the band member's themselves.

Just Push Play was released in 2001. It featured the Top 10 single "Jaded" but otherwise did not see the success of their previous three records. In 2004, the band went back to their roots with a blues-based album titled Honkin' on Bobo. It featured Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight to the Blind" and Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready" as well as a number of other blues favorites and one new song written by Tyler, Perry and Marti Frederiksen, who the band had collaborated with previously many times. The record was a hit with hard-core fans but did not do well in the mainstream even though it did peak at number 5 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

The band has set out on many co-headlining tours with other well-known bands over the years. In 1999 it was Kid Rock and Run D.M.C. In 2003, the Rocksimus Maximus Tour paired them up with KISS, and 2006's Route of All Evil Tour matched them up with Motley Crue. In 2007, the band set out on another world tour, hitting South America and Europe as well as some new locales, like Dubai, Russia and India.

In early 2008, the band was purportedly back in the studio to record their final CD for Sony, but they have been sidelined with injuries (Steven Tyler had foot surgery and Joe Perry had knee replacement surgery). On April 8, 2008, Steven Tyler appeared on Opening Day at Fenway Park and sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch. A stint in rehab followed shortly after. "To have your feet done, to have your leg done, you have to be on narcotics," Tyler told The Associated Press in late June. "You have to be on sleep aids at night. I don't know about Joe (Perry) but I was off and running and I didn't like the me that was me."

The band cashed in on the popularity of the "Guitar Hero" phenomenon by launching Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, for Xbox 360, Playstation 2 and 3, and Nintendo Wii in the summer of 2008.

The band kicked off a tour with ZZ Top in St. Louis in June 2009. In addition to ZZ Top, they offered Guitar Hero fans the chance of a lifetime, to jam onstage before the opening band. But the tour was plagued with injuries and illness. First, Brad Whitford hit his head while exiting his car and ended up with a serious head injury. Then Steven Tyler tore a muscle in his leg while performing at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. After a few shows were cancelled, the tour got back on track, but without bass player Tom Hamilton. He was sidelined by surgery, which was reportedly due to scarring left from the radiation used to treat his throat cancer. After several more shows, the band flew out to perform at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Tyler tumbled from the stage, breaking his shoulder in two places and splitting his head open. He was airlifted from the scene and the rest of the tour was cancelled. What followed was a stint in rehab, reportedly due to an addiction to painkillers.

Joe Perry, with his side project, The Joe Perry Project, recorded an album, Have Guitar, Will Travel, which was released in October 2009. In support of the record, he scheduled some dates around the country, including a stop at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on November 13, 2009.

Drummer Joey Kramer released a memoir in June 2009. Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top tells the tale of Kramer's struggles with physical and emotional trauma and the nervous breakdown that he ultimately endured at the peak of the band's success.

The band went through some struggles in 2009, nearly leading to a second split, but they reconciled after a meeting in Boston, and a 2010 tour was launched. The Cocked, Locked and Ready to Rock Tour kicked off on May 17 in Caracas, Venezuela and took them to Europe where they played 11 dates including the "Download Festival" in Donnington, England. They returned to the United States in July and performed 19 shows across the states and Canada. The tour included a historic show at Fenway Park in Boston on August 14 with the J. Geils Band.

In 2012, the band launched their "Global Warming" Tour to excellent reviews. The shows have dipped into their past with some rare songs being played live and featured Steven Tyler rising from the end of a catwalk with a baby grand piano while playing the hit, "Dream On." A new album, Music From Another Dimension, was released on November 6, 2012. Their first single "Legendary Child" debuted at No. 32 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and No. 2 on the Hard Rock Digital Songs Chart in June 2012.

Other singles followed, including "Oh Yeah" and "Lover Alot." The record even included a duet with country singer Carrie Underwood titled, "Can't Stop Loving You," and a Dianne Warren-penned ballad, "We All Fall Down." Other notable songs included the Joe Perry driven "Freedom Fighter," a song co-written with bassist Tom Hamilton, "Tell Me," and a the 70's influenced "Street Jesus." On November 5, 2012, the band took to the streets (of Boston) - literally - to perform a free mini concert at their first apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue. Their hands were placed in concrete and the building was designated a historic site. More than 25,000 people turned out for the historic event.

In 2014, the band is scheduled to tour Europe. That tour will be followed with a summer tour of the United States with musician Slash and his band The Conspirators.


Steven Tyler at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Lisa Martineau)

Steven Tyler - Lips and Quips
Steven Tyler, the front man and founding member of Aerosmith, was born Steven Victor Tallarico in Yonkers, New York on March 26, 1948. He remains one of the only members of the band who maintains a summer home in New Hampshire. During his youth his summers were spent on Lake Sunapee, where his parents owned a summer resort.

Tyler grew up "under his father's piano" (his father was a classically-trained Julliard pianist who played in several big bands and led the Vic Tallarico Orchestra). He wrote the song "Dream On" when he was just 17 years old. It would become an Aerosmith classic.

Steven has been plagued with injuries over the years including a serious motorcycle accident in Sunapee in 1981 which sidelined him for months and tore up his heel. He also tore his ACL in 1998 during a performance in Alaska, but continued to perform wearing a cast. In 2010, he fell off the stage during a performance at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, breaking his shoulder in two places and splitting his head open. He also had surgery on his vocal chords after popping a blood vessel during a 2006 tour. The injury caused the band to cancel more than 20 shows.

Beyond Aerosmith, Steven has appeared in three commercials. The first was for the Gap with his sidekick Joe Perry. Later he did a commercial for Sony Cybershot. And in 2016, he did an ad for Skittles candy.

In 2003, Tyler received an honorary degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and in 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts.

Steven has sung the National Anthem at many sporting events. Most notably at the 2001 Indianapolis 500, during the 2004 World Series, and at many Boston Red Sox games and other sporting events. Most recently he performed prior to the 2010 Boston Bruins home opener.

In September 2007, Tyler launched a line of custom motorcycles, the Red Wing Motorcycle Company (now called Dirico Custom Motorcycles), at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with Stephen Talarico and Mark Dirico. "You get on one of these bikes and you can ride for days," Tyler said about the bikes, which pull 35% more horsepower than a stock Harley Davidson. "These bikes are sick, rugged, and just damn cool. And they're amazing to look at."

Steven released his first single, "Love Lives" for the Japanese sci-fi movie Space Battleship Yamato in September 2010.

Steven Tyler was a judge on American Idol for Season 10, along with Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. The show premiered on January 19, 2011. Reviews following the premiere immediately painted Tyler as the new star of the show. Ratings flourished despite the departure of Simon Cowell, who drew huge ratings in previous years for his ornery attitude and straightforward talk. On January 17, 2012 Steven Tyler took the helm for a second season of American Idol. In June 2012 it was announced that he would not be returning for a third season.

Tyler released a memoir in 2011. The book, "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?" was a tell-all that may have rattled some of his bandmates; but his backstory, particularly his family history and days spent in Sunapee as a child, were notable. Along with the book came a second solo record, "(It) Feels So Good." The song reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In early 2012, Tyler appeared on the Oprah's Next Chapter. The hour-long interview was filmed at his lakeside home in Sunapee.

Steven decided to detour into country music for a solo album in 2016. In May 2015, he released a single, “Love Is Your Name,” in advance of a 2016 country album. He followed that with the single, "Red, White and You" in January 2016.

He also recently announced that there would be an Aerosmith Farewell Tour in 2017. 

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