Tales of Rock: Insane Stories From Aerosmith’s Drug-Fueled Rise To The Top – Part 2

Tyler Remembers Being Embarrassed After Getting Too High To Perform

Steven Tyler has had several stints in rehab, but his most rampant drug use occurred throughout the ’70s and ’80s. Tyler remembers getting so high while he was performing that he frequently passed out on stage. Tyler told NME:

I can remember one time I fell down and my foot kept going like this [shakes foot wildly] and this guy carried me off and I went “I just drank too much.” I was embarrassed. I literally couldn’t finish the show.

He added, “We just got caught up in it. We were too rich, too young, too dumb. That’s all. I just got caught up in it, I loved it. I went too far with it.”

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Photo: Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?/Amazon
Steven Tyler Kept His Drugs In A Drum On Stage

Steven Tyler and the gang already had a roadie whose sole job was to give them continuous bumps of cocaine, but that wasn’t enough for Tyler, who kept his stash in a drum on stage.

“I kept my medicine cabinet on stage, in a 14-inch drum head, the bottom of which contained… one Dixie cup with a straw and blow in it and the other with Coca-Cola and Jack Daniels in it,” he wrote in Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?

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Photo: daigooliva/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
The Band Wouldn’t Sleep With Groupies For 10 Days Before Going Home To Their Wives

For Aerosmith, cheating on their wives and girlfriends wasn’t so much a moral dilemma. The only real issue was getting caught. To prevent this, the band had a rule that no one would have sex for 10 days before the end of a tour. This allegedly gave them enough time to refuel their “reserves.”

 

“You didn’t have sex for 10 days at the end of tour, but that was so you’d be sure to go home with a full cup of chowder. If you didn’t, you were definitely suspect,” Tyler told Elle.

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Photo: US Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Christopher B. Stoltz/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Steven Tyler Fell Off Stage And Had To Be Airlifted To A Hospital

In 2009, a 61-year-old Steven Tyler found himself within inches of death when he fell off a stage during a performance in Rapid City, South Dakota. The singer had been snorting the sleep aid Lunesta when he took a tumble. Tyler was airlifted to a local hospital where he got 20 stitches in the back of his head and discovered that his shoulder was shattered.

 

“I was doing the Tyler shuffle and then I zigged when I should have zagged…AND I slipped, and as I live on the edge… I fell off the edge,” Tyler said in a statement.

 

The singer managed to finish the song like a pro, but the band had to cancel their tour. Tyler, who has a titanium knee from a previous stage accident, was “grateful” that he didn’t break his neck and later admittedto being high during the accident.

ROCKThe Best Aerosmith Albums of All Timesee more Aerosmith lists
Joe Perry Played Guitar On An Unsettling Song By Serge Gainsbourg
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Aerosmith aren’t strangers to singing about attraction to family members, but “Janie’s Got a Gun” doesn’t hold a candle to French pop singer Serge Gainsbourg’s song “Lemon Incest,” a duet about interbreeding sung with his young daughter in far-too-intimate tones. When translated into English, the lyrics read “Exquisite outline, delicious child, my flesh and blood/Oh my baby, my soul/incest lemon, lemon incest.” The video featured a shirtless Gainsbourg lying in bed with his daughter. Joe Perry lent his guitar skills to the track.

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Joe Perry Claims Steven Tyler Tried To Get Involved In One Of His Relationships

When Joe Perry was 21 years old, he had an affair with actress Judy Carne, who was 11 years his senior. Judy opened his eyes to a new world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. She had a doctor’s bag that was filled with cocaine, pill bottles, powders and syringes. Most of her drugs were totally legal, prescribed to her by a doctor. She even managed to get a prescription of cocaine.

 

This was all very attractive to Steven Tyler, especially because Carne was generous when it came to sharing her drugs. According to Perry, Tyler not only wanted to get into her stash, but he wanted to have a threesome and repeatedly called Perry hoping to be invited over. During this time, Carne was bed-ridden because of an injury, and Perry wasn’t having it.

 

“I now sensed that Steven wanted to get into her doctor’s bag — and maybe get into something else. I never invited him over,” Perry recalled in his memoir Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith. “Forced to stay off her fee, Judy was naked most of the time and didn’t want company. I had no interest in a threesome and neither did she. We just wanted to be alone.”

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Photo: FOX
Steven Tyler Never Told His Band He Was Joining ‘American Idol,’ And They Were Furious

Steven Tyler wasn’t in a good place with his bandmates when he started thinking about being a judge on American Idol. The Aerosmith singer had recently undergone surgery after falling from a stage and being taken to a hospital. None of his bandmates visited him during his recovery, which definitely soured the singer. His bandmates weren’t too thrilled either when they found out Tyler had taken the job behind their backs. Joe Perry reported to the Boston Herald that he discovered Tyler’s new gig through the internet “like the rest of the world.”

 

Tyler’s bandmates were furious that the singer became an American Idol judge without telling them, and they consistently threatened to replace the singer in their project of 40 years.

 

“It’s his business, but I don’t want Aerosmith’s name involved with [American Idol]. We have nothing to do with it,” Perry said in an interview. “[Idol] is a reality show designed to get people to watch that station and sell advertising… it’s one step above Ninja Turtles… [You’ve got] four guys that are great together, and if you find the right singer, there’s no reason you can’t go and entertain people,” he added.

 

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Tales of Rock: Insane Stories From Aerosmith’s Drug-Fueled Rise To The Top – Part 1

Just how much did Aerosmith embrace the sex and drugs typically associated with a rock-and-roll lifestyle? Well, if it’s any indication, enigmatic front man Steven Tyler estimates he blew through a whopping $20 million on drugs. Their drug use was so notorious that Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were labeled the “Toxic Twins.”

Most of Aerosmith’s stories of debauchery take place long before most people ever heard the now-legendary “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in the Armageddon soundtrack. The ’70s and ’80s were the band’s most hedonistic years, during which Tyler and Perry would swap women as wantonly as they would swap drugs. They even hired a roadie just to sneak cocaine under their noses during live shows.

Since their height of fame, Tyler appears to have come out on the other side and sticks to a strict 12-step program after numerous stints in rehab. That doesn’t erase the over-indulgent, mind-boggling toxic twins stories of Aerosmith’s past. Here are some of the craziest, most unbelievable shenanigans the band carried out in their nearly 50-year career.

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Tyler Remembers Sharing Women – And STIs – With Perry

Aerosmith, like most rock bands of the ’70s, were known for the sheer amount of groupies they worked their way through during their chart-topping career. Even though there were certainly enough women to go around, sometimes the band members decided to share. This didn’t always go in their favor. In fact, after one group love-making session, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry woke up in the same bed only to find out later that everyone had developed an STD.

 

“I remember one night on the road when Joe and I were sharing a bed with two girls and woke up in the morning with a seafood blue plate special…” Tyler wrote in his memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? “Crabs for everybody!”

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Perry And Tyler Confirmed The Band Had A Roadie Whose Sole Job Was To Give Them Cocaine

The guys from Aerosmith were the kind of rock stars who didn’t wait until after the show to party. Both Joe Perry and Steven Tyler hired a roadie whose sole job was to give them bumps of cocaine during their set.

Joe [Perry] had vials of coke with straws in them at the back of the stage, and when the lights would go out he’d go over there like he was checking something or making a guitar change and [a roadie] would put the straw in his nose; he’d take a hit, then the lights would come on again,”

Tyler wrote in Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? Perry confirmed this fact to NME:

“Yep,” he said when asked if Tyler hired a roadie to give them coke on stage. “We’ve done everything… stuff happens man, and we’ve done it and managed to survive. We’re lucky.

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Photo: Jean-Luc/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
They Once Got Arrested And Narrowly Evaded Serious Jail Time By Ditching Their Drugs In The Police Station

Aerosmith’s drug habits were so notorious that it’s unsurprising they had a few run-ins with the law. One of the most nerve-wracking was when they got pulled over, arrested, and taken to the police station with drugs in their pockets.

 

Bassist Tom Hamilton recalled the incident. The band was driving around the New Jersey Turnpike in a rented van. Each of them had drugs in their pockets when they were pulled over by the police. After a search, the officer spotted a marijuana seed in the car. He handcuffed the five of them and hauled them off to jail.  They were handcuffed to a railing in their cell so they were a fair distance apart from each other. So how did they get out of it? A little bit of luck and a little quick-thinking.

 

“Brad actually had two bags of pot,” Hamilton told NME.

There was a room right adjacent to where we were handcuffed and there was an empty room, lights were off. Steven said “Gimme the pot, Gimme the pot,” and he just chucked two bags of pot into this room. Then we waited a while. Then a detective or somebody came down, flicked the lights on and said “Okay, time to fingerprint you guys.” So, we all went in one by one to get finger printed and everybody could see where the pot was, but the police didn’t.

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Photo: Baying At The Moon/Amazon
Angry Crew Members Used The Band’s Catering As Toilet Paper

Aerosmith band members were big stars with big personalities. No doubt their wild antics were a lot to handle – especially for the people in charge of making their shows run smoothly. Sometimes, the crew would get really angry and retaliate in the most disgusting of ways, or so Tyler remembers. Apparently, some scorned crew members would regularly wipe their butts with the bologna on Aerosmith’s catering tray and put it back for the band to consume like nothing ever happened.

 

“I found out years later (through a crew member confessional) that when the techs would get pissed off at the band, they’d wipe their ass with the bologna and put back on the deli tray,” Tyler wrote in Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?

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Tales of Rock: Steven Tyler Took Legal Custody Of The Teenager He Was Banging, May Have Pressured Her Into Aborting Their Child

While today he’s most recognized as a prettier, more flamboyant version of your grandmother, back in the mid-’70s, Steven Tyler was navigating the Aerosmith ship over the massive waves of success brought on by smash hits like “Dream On.” But Tyler wasn’t just in it for the fame; right around the time Aerosmith was hitting the big time, he reached deep into his heart to take legal custody of a troubled underage fan … so that he could have approximately all of the sex with her.

Julia Holcomb had a tragic past. Her father was a gambler with abandonment issues, she was a passenger in the car crash that killed her brother and grandfather, and her mother had a history of choosing less-than-stable stepfathers. So it’s understandable that, shortly after a 14-year-old (according to Tyler) or 15-year-old (according to her) Julia met Tyler backstage at an Aerosmith concert, her mother readily signed over custody to the rock star. And by “understandable,” we mean “completely irresponsible and totally nuts.”

But Julia’s mother wasn’t about to start making decisions that were in her daughter’s best interest now, and so the young teen spent three years living with Tyler, a skeletal sex wizard. As you may suspect, this arrangement did precisely nothing to soften the tragedies of her life. According to Julia, a profusely coked-up Tyler “convinced” her to have children with him by tossing her birth control pills off a balcony. Then, once she became pregnant, he took off on tour, leaving her all alone in his Boston apartment. Then the apartment caught fucking fire, with Holcomb barely managing to survive by crawling into a fireplace (which it seems was the last place the fire thought to look for her). Then, while she was in the hospital recovering, Tyler allegedly spent a full hour pressuring her to abort her five-month pregnancy (which, if you recall, was achieved in the first place by Tyler confiscating her birth control and casting it into the wind), finally convincing her by threatening to send her home to her mother. Having gotten his way, Tyler, riding a balloon of cocaine up into the stratosphere, sat down and watched the doctors carry out the procedure.

Holcomb went on to happily marry another man and become a mother of seven. Tyler went on to feature his teenage daughter in an overtly sexual music video.

Now, it’s important to note that Tyler’s version of events — namely, that Holcomb was a repeated-abortion-having sexual pincushion — was written with the intent of achieving bestseller status, while Holcomb’s version was published on a website with an obvious pro-life political agenda. So the whole truth probably lies somewhere in between. Still, when you’re placing someone on a scale from “massive douche” to “the black douche-hole at the center of the galaxy,” you’re really splitting hairs.

 

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Renegade – 1978 to 1979 – Chapter 4 – Draw the Line

“Me? But I don’t know how to play guitar.”

“Yet. You don’t know how to play guitar… yet.”

(That is not a Sears Silvertone guitar. That is a semi hollow body Kay guitar borrowed from a friend. But that is a me at around 16 years old.)

One day we were in the basement working on some new tracks. One of the songs we really wanted to do was Draw The Line from Aerosmith’s latest self titled album. I was a huge fan of Aerosmith and had gotten that album for Christmas.

We started working on the song, which wasn’t that hard. The only difficulty I faced was the last verse. The lyrics aren’t written down anywhere and it’s mostly just Steven Tyler screaming a bunch of nonsensical rhyming phrases. It’s incredibly hard to decipher what he’s saying, so I had to keep playing it over and over and listening very carefully to Mr. Tyler scream the final lyrics.

But eventually me and a couple of my friends figured it out. The lyrics are here:

Checkmate, don’t be late
Take another pull
That’s right, impossible
When you got to be yourself
You’re the boss, the toss
The price, the dice
Grab yourself a slice
Know where to draw the line

You can hear the whole mess at the 3:16 point of the video below.

So that problem was solved. Now trying to sing it. I could sing, but I’m no Steven Tyler. Not by any stretch.

As we continued to work out the song, we came upon another problem. There is a point in the song where they do a musical break before that final onslaught of lyrics. While guitarist Brad Whitford keeps the rhythm going along with bassist Tom Hamilton, Joe Perry does a solo using a slide.

Jerry addresses the problem with me and Larry.

“Larry can carry the riff on bass, but I can’t play the rhythm guitar part and play the solo.”

“So what do we do?”

“I need another guitarist to play those three notes over and over until the solo is done and then I can pick it back up again. That’s when you sing that last bit.”

“Well we can’t bring in another guy to play three notes in one song!”

“We already have the guy.”

“Who?”

“You.”

“Me? But I don’t know how to play guitar.”

“Yet. You don’t know how to play guitar… yet.

(Smiling from ear to ear) Okay, Jer. I’m down. How do we do this?”

I still have my first electric guitar before I bought the Strat. It’s a Sears Silvertone. You can use that and I’ll show you how to play it. I’ll bring it with me tomorrow.”

“Okay… okay.

Oh my God! It’s a brand new world. I’m the lead singer of a rock and roll band and now I’m going to learn how to play guitar!

All my dreams are coming true!

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Aerosmith Not Done With Mirrors

“Jerry Garcia says that we were the druggiest bunch of guys the Grateful Dead ever saw. They were worried about us, so that gives you some idea of how fucked up and crazy we were.”

It may come as a surprise to those whose awareness of Aerosmith began with its commercial hits of the late ’80s and early ’90s, but the band was once a sleazy rock band known for its hardcore drug use—enough to shock the likes of the Grateful Dead. In a 1990 Rolling Stone article on Aerosmith profiling its clean-and-sober comeback, Steven Tyler relayed this anecdote; “Jerry Garcia says that we were the druggiest bunch of guys the Grateful Dead ever saw. They were worried about us, so that gives you some idea of how fucked up and crazy we were.”

Amusing as this might have been, it came at a cost. Sedated in the ’70s, Aerosmith was still unbeatable over a six album run, but as the ’80s dawned, its abilities sagged considerably. The band lost both its guitarists for a dismal album before reuniting for the half-baked Done With Mirrors. Like a lot of Aerosmith album titles, this had a double meaning; they were supposedly going clean. But they weren’t actually done snorting coke off mirrors or any other surface available, and it took a stint in rehab for the entire band to get Aerosmith’s commercial comeback off the ground with the ironically titled Permanent Vacation.

In the documentary The Making Of Pump, Joe Perry describes the difficulties he faced in returning to making music not high on “China White.” Speaking to Rolling Stone, however, Tyler had a different perspective: “I’m still bummed that I didn’t get all the pussy I could have had in the ’70s. We were more interested in the finer blends of cocaine from a shipment of dates that came in on the back of some camel with the stamp of a half-moon on it and the star of Lebanon, which by the way was laced with opium. We were real connoisseurs. That was much more important to me than some girl with big tits.”

It’s hard for me to imagine a more tragic commentary on potential wasted by drug addiction.

I will write more about this band in the near future. They are my favorite rock band of all time.

 

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Duncan – Concentrated Dosage – Part 2 – Saturday

“We keep getting older, but they stay the same age.”

I wake up on Saturday morning, and after a day of drinking and activities on Friday, I’m a little banged up. Duncan and I were supposed to go to breakfast at 10am but that wasn’t going to happen.

I rolled over to the Ritz Carlton around 11am Saturday. Duncan was chilling in the lobby. We decided to head down to the movie theater. It was a little cold, but not too bad. Duncan was freezing because he lives in a warm climate and can’t take the cold winters of the Northeast anymore. (Fuckin’ wimp!)

Philly is an incredibly walkable city and we decide to walk all the way down to Columbus Blvd. to the movie theater. It’s right on the Delaware river. (Hence the name, Riverview Stadium) It probably took us about forty minutes to walk down there. The nice thing about walking around Philly is, it gives you time to look at all of the sights and just talk.

I love my time with Duncan this weekend. We’ve really reconnected as friends and as men. He’s been in my life for twenty years and I want to keep him there.

We get to the theater and there’s a line for tickets, but people are in line for everything playing and there. I decide to leave Duncan in line and try the kiosk, because there’s always that person that’s in front of you that is making it their life’s work just to by a couple of tickets to see a movie. That goes for everywhere I go in life. I’m always behind that person that is digging through a coin purse at Rite Aid, or making international transactions at an ATM, or just basically doesn’t ever have their shit together when it comes to doing anything in regard to a retail transaction. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this.

So I hit the ticket kiosk and swipe my card for two tickets to see Rouge One: A Star Wars Story, and I get them! I pull him out of line and we go in. Duncan’s happy that I came through in the clutch because we’re cutting showtime pretty close. The tickets were twenty something by I don’t care. I know what’s going to happen next, and I’m all set.

The theater is huge, and we take the escalator upstairs. We hit the snack bar and Duncan is on the case. He orders a bucket of popcorn. Mistake. No one can eat that much fucking popcorn. Then he gets our drinks. The girl upsells him to the large size because she says we can get free refills. Mistake. No one can drink that much fucking soda. Maybe a couple of dudes that just walked of the face of the Sun, but no human can hold that much liquid in their bodies in one sitting, but I admire her upsell. He gets a box of M&M peanuts for himself and I take the popcorn over to that machine that literally drenches the bucket in butter. It’s probably not even butter, but who cares, it’s delicious. I tell him I want a tray of soft pretzel bites with the spicy cheese sauce and we’re all set. The snacks came to somewhere around thirty-five dollars, and I’ve won. Duncan just bought me a deliciously gross breakfast and the tickets I bought were less that what he paid to feed our sorry hung over asses.

We get into the theater and there aren’t that many people in there. I like that. We take a pair of seats in the back and get situated. We watch a bunch of previews which I love. I’m starving and start ripping into my pretzel bites and the popcorn. The sodas are so enormous I feel like the sheer weight of them will pull the chairs over. My fingers are soaked with butter and I can’t even get a grip on the barrel sized cup in the built-in holder, so like a little kid, I have to go to the straw, rather than pick up the tankard of diet coke. As silly as this is, there is something nostalgic about being a kid at the movies and having all of these treats. It’s breakfast for a couple of men, who are about to watch a new Star Wars movie. We’ve loved them since their inception in 1977.  I’m happy, and I don’t even care that like always, I have dribbled the spicy cheese whiz down the front of me.

We watch the film and it’s glorious. Better than I expected. I’m a film guy, so I won’t reveal a thing, and you’ve all probably seen it. It’s a story that takes place before the original Star Wars movie. It’s a little slow in the beginning but way better than the ones made by George Lucas before this. So if I had to rate the Star Wars pictures I would rate them as follows:

Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Rogue One

I have left off the first 3 prequels Lucas made, because they basically suck. Here’s a classic example of an artist losing sight of his art and original vision. It’s fine. I don’t care. This happens over and over in music, film and art in general. I know the fans are screaming and go wild over the failure of the creators making sub par art and letting them down. It happens. You have to embrace and enjoy how their art made you feel in that moment when you first fell in love with what they did. If you expect the artist to keep making the same art and making you feel that initial rush again at the level you first felt it, it’s just not going to happen.

Look at the band Aerosmith. I LOVED Aerosmith in the seventies when I was growing up. My sister, Janice brought their first record home, because she was hanging out with a band that did their song Dream On. She wasn’t that into Aerosmith, but liked the band that was covering their work. I on the other hand as a fledgling rock guitarist fell in LOVE with Aersmith. It was 1975 and the song “Walk this Way” was playing on the radio from their third record, “Toys in the Attic”.  Their first album is great because like any band, they had their whole lives to write it. But then the studio pushes them for another record and it’s just not as good. The band is great, but the material just isn’t there. They work hard and tour and have a special talent so then they make ‘Toys in the Attic” and it’s a great record. They’re all poor and touring their asses off and doing shitloads of drugs. The lifestyle is changing them and killing them.

People love the song Walk this Way (A nearly perfect FM rock song) and a lot of people buy the “Toys in the Attic”

Then in 1976, Aerosmith puts out a record entitled “Rocks.” A black cover with just the name of the band and the word ‘Rocks’ and picture of five diamonds. It is absolutely one of the most perfect hard rock albums of the seventies. Every song is magnificent.

I love Aerosimth. I wore out the Rocks album. I listened to it everyday and learned how to play every song on that album on guitar. I wanted to be Joe Perry and Steven Tyler rolled into one skinny blonde kid with a guitar.

But you can’t expect them to keep making Toys in the Attic and Rocks every year so you can get your rocks off. Things happen in an artist’s life to change, alter, grow, or fail in some way. So you have Lucas trying his best to make something but the fire and hunger just isn’t there anymore. The heavy metal band Metallica are all wildly rich men. Do you think they can make the powerful angry music they once made? No way. Neither can Aerosmith or George Lucas. Just wrap yourself up in the memory that their art gave you in the beautiful moment of your life and leave it at that. Other people will rise up and take the helm and get you off in a different way.

I’m guilty of this too. Maybe my problem is I keep trying to go back and get that love rush I did when I was younger and I keep dating younger women. It always ends badly, because they want to go forward and get married and have kids and I’ve already done that. Maybe I just need to wrap myself up in my beautiful memories and be done with it.

But Disney has Star Wars now. I don’t listen to Aerosmith anymore except for the old stuff. Marvel Comics is making great films and Star Wars is definitely on the upswing creatively, because someone else is doing it. So for now, I’m going to stick with what Matthew Macoughy said in the film Dazed and Confused, “We keep getting older, but they stay the same age.”

I know it’s wrong, but I want to date a girl that makes me feel like the original Star Wars movie again.

Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion…

 

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