20 Of The Best Steven Tyler Quotes
Aerosmith Live In Detroit 2014
Steven Tyler, the captivating frontman of the iconic rock band Aerosmith, has not only enthralled us with his commanding vocals but has also made a lasting impression through his profound and often witty reflections on various aspects of life, music, and the intricate web that connects them.
As the 75-year-old legend, born in the heart of New York City, continues to influence and entertain audiences worldwide, it becomes evident that his words extend beyond the stage, offering valuable insights that resonate across generations.
This selection explores some of the most memorable sayings by Tyler, offering a window into his distinct outlook on family, friends, life, and the big wide world. Steven Tyler is beyond simply a rock star; he is a wellspring of timeless knowledge and understanding who encourages listeners to enjoy life’s journey, accept their uniqueness, and make sense of the wide range of events, both significant and insignificant.
Tyler’s thoughts resound as a timeless guidance in each skillfully chosen sentence, connecting the dots of inspiration for everyone who lends an ear to his melodic musings.
1. “Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us.”
In the quote, “Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us,” Steven Tyler is expressing the idea that experiencing challenges, difficulties, or sorrows is an inherent part of the human experience.
He suggests that these hardships play a role in bringing about self-awareness or awakening. And Steven isn’t a stranger to the ups and downs of life. Any fan can tell you how the band climbed back to the top over and over again.
From failing at the start to getting a second wind through “Dream On”, and then losing popularity over and over again only to be revived by their hits that continue to resonate with generations of rock fans.
2. “Great melody over great riffs is, to me, the secret of it all.”
Aerosmith saw tremendous ups and downs during their long career, and Steven has weathered more than just ordinary storms. And the secret to this success? “Great melody” is apparently the answer.
In a 2007 interview with Russell Hall of Gibson.com (via Ultimate-Guitar), the frontman has this to share: “I’ve always felt I have a good understanding of melody. Great melody over great riffs is, to me, the secret of it all.”
After more than five decades of crafting outstanding music, Aerosmith continues its time-tested songwriting approach. Joe Perry, armed with his ever-present Les Paul, creates a remarkably catchy riff, while Tyler responds with a robust vocal melody and lyrics rich in double entendres, resulting in the birth of yet another classic song.
3. “I have a big ego, but I don’t buy into it. It’s an honor that I get to be that guy onstage. It’s not something I earned.”
In a very special 2012 interview with popular TV personality, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Tyler shares more than just a glimpse of his rockstar life. In his favorite New Hampshire retreat, the frontman let truly down his hair.
“Tell me this: How do you do what you do, night after night for 40 years, and not be completely controlled by your ego? How do you live a life where you are an American idol and still hold on to yourself?” Oprah asked.
“I have a big ego, but I don’t buy into it. I can’t live off the ego. It’s an honor that I get to be that guy onstage. It’s not something I earned,” was the wistful reply from the iconic frontman.
4. “Drugs will get you out of your own way, but we lived it, and that’s dangerous. It can actually turn around on itself and steal your soul, and that’s what happened.”
Despite his achievements, Steven Tyler has had to overcome a number of difficult obstacles, including a severe drug and alcohol addiction and a history of relapses.
As one of the most popular junkies in rock, Tyler could be said to be an authority on drug and their harmful effects, and the quote above is just a glimpse of his thoughts about the substance. His book Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? mentioned quite a number: Xanax, benzodiazepine, valium, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, meth, LSD, hashish, and opium, just to name a few.
In 1988, a fellow band member stepped in and facilitated his entry into rehabilitation for the first time to address his struggles with addiction. Subsequently, he has undergone rehabilitation on four occasions in his lifetime. The most recent rehabilitation stint took place on July 1, 2022.
5. “But you’ve reached them, and I’ve always wanted to reach people. I’m the first one to say I love my fans because they love that I took a chance.”
In May 2003, Steven Tyler received his first honorary doctorate at Berklee College of Music with his family in attendance. It was a memorable day for both the rockstar and the students of the institution: Steve sang the classic “Dream On” with a student band.
After the commencement ceremony, the frontman had a chat with reporters where he was asked about how he’s good at dealing with his fame. “Far be it for me to be estranged by somebody that comes up to me and wants a piece of me,” Tyler said
The singer went on, “They don’t deserve to be in my backyard and climbing up my roof, which a lot of people do. But you’ve reached them, and I’ve always wanted to reach people. I’m the first one to say I love my fans because they love that I took a chance.”
6. “Fake it until you make it.”
“Fake it until you make it” is certainly a favorite of Steven Tyler, and this has been his guiding principle even way before Aeromisth landed a recording deal.
In both of his Oprah and Berklee interviews, the frontman mentioned the same words of wisdom whenever the topic of fame was brought up. “What did drugs do for you that fame and money and adoration couldn’t?” asked Oprah.
Tyler responded, “They made me feel like a rock star before I was one. Because I thought that’s what rock stars did—fake it till you make it.” This is probably the reason why he asked Joe Perry for an autograph back in the 70s he wanted to act like he was already in a hit band.
7. “I grew up in New Hampshire. My closest neighbor was a mile away. The deer and the raccoons were my friends. So I would spend time walking through the woods, looking for the most beautiful tropical thing that can survive the winter in the woods in New Hampshire.”
Despite being born and raised in New York, Steven spent numerous summers during his childhood in New Hampshire, specifically on Lake Sunapee. Interestingly, it was during these summers that he first crossed paths with his future bandmates, Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton.
In 1969, Tyler attended a rock performance in Sunapee, New Hampshire, where he initially encountered his future bandmates, Perry (on guitars) and Hamilton (on bass), performing as part of a group known as the Jam Band.
Reflecting on the experience, Tyler later expressed being captivated by their unbridled energy and attitude.
8. “I’ve seen whales calving in the waters off Maui, and I’ve watched my children being born. But music is the most beautiful thing of all.”
In the Oprah interview, Steven dove deep into his life and touched on his views on spirituality. After the popular host brought up his beliefs and how it affects his music. Tyler “felt the presence of God” in nature’s beauty and music.
Oprah agreed and expressed, “I think God’s not just in the music—I think God is the music. Wait, I’m going to do a Steven look. [Purses lips and nods.] I think God is the music.”
“Ooh, that’s good. I’ve seen whales calving in the waters off Maui, and I’ve watched my children being born. But music is the most beautiful thing of all,” the singer affirmed.
9. “I had been on the junior Olympic team in high school for trampoline; I could do twenty-six back flips in a row.”
Did you know Steven Tyler was actually a jock in high school? He might not look the part now, but the frontman had claimed that he played for a junior Olympic team when he was young.
In his 2011 memoir Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?, Tyler shared, “I had been on the junior Olympic team in high school for trampoline; I could do twenty-six back flips in a row.”
Who knew this stin-thick liberal Demon of Screamin’ soared and tumbled over a trampoline for a sport? This energy can be seen on his stage performances which endeared him to legions of fans.
10. “Through song you learn, and I think school systems need to learn that. Through the rhythm you can learn better, through melody, with something you need to learn; it’s a vehicle for it.”
Schools that teach music have a special place in Steven’s heart, as illustrated in this excerpt from his Q&A interview with Rolling Stone in 2013. During the interview, the rock singer brought up how LA Philharmonic set aside some money for schools.
“The L.A. Philharmonic has a music program and it gives money to the schools, because they cut all these programs for kids to try to maybe play something or learn how to play. Schools, the first thing they cut is music programs. They don’t realize how important music is to kids,” Tyler shared.
He then added, “Through song you learn, and I think school systems need to learn that. Through the rhythm you can learn better, through melody, with something you need to learn, it’s a vehicle for it. I think it’s a good thing the L.A. Philharmonic is doing, and they’re gonna raise a lot of money from this event.”
11. “I mean, as long as it doesn’t have a bra attached, guys can take a risk and wear stylish things that went out of style 30 years ago. As things go around, they come around.”
Steven Tyler has always been pretty liberal in his choice of clothing. So when he planned to launch his own clothing line with the help of renowned designer Elise Overland, the rock singer wanted his clothes to be like him, androgynous.
“I can wear a jacket that most guys wouldn’t put on. I think styles should get back to getting people to wear things that look so good that they don’t care. I mean, as long as it doesn’t have a bra attached, guys can take a risk,” Tyler said.
He revealed these and more in his cover story for a 2005 Boston Common issue. Scarves and frilly shirts for men? Steve has your back.
12. “I think if you were to really peek under the hood of what got Aerosmith back again for our second life in the Eighties, you’ll find out that it’s exactly this, it’s the willingness to take a risk.”
When asked about his decision to become one of the judges of the popular TV hit American Idol, Steve has this to say:
“All I did, and I thank the Lord above, I took a risk. I think if you were to really peek under the hood of what got Aerosmith back again for our second life in the Eighties, you’ll find out that it’s exactly this, it’s the willingness to take a risk.”
The Aerosmith frontman also sheepishly brought up Bob Dylan, saying “I heard someone say, ‘Would Bob Dylan do this?’ and I said, ‘No.’ I felt instant shame. But he’s not comfortable around fucking people. I could have been laughed out of town, it might have not worked: ‘He sucks, he was on Idol and we saw who he really was, he’s an idiot.’ Could have been.”
13. “The things that come to those that wait may be the things left by those that got there first.”
Yep, if Steven can motivate, he can also take away that shred of motivation. Kidding aside, what’s funnier was that the singer shared this gem of advice through a very random Facebook post dated October 1, 2014.
The post read (it was in all caps for some reason), “The things that come to those that wait…may be the things left by those that got there first. Here’s to the Hack-A-Thon Crane. Zuckerberg… Late as Usual…”
Whatever he meant by standing beside a crane is up for debate, but Steve probably wanted to remind people about missed opportunities.
14. “My wife and I had decided not to let anybody take pictures of our home because it was just the last place on earth we had that was unscathed. But people have climbed over the fence; they’ve taken aerial shots. They’ve gotten my address and put it on the Internet.”
This quote has something to do with Steven Tyler’s fight against invasive paparazzi who go out of their way just to take photos of their homes and whatnot. This icky issue about privacy is also the reason why the singer pushed for a Hawaiian bill to protect vacationing stars like him in 2013.
The bill, which was named after Tyler, creates a civil cause for action regarding a “constructive invasion of privacy,” allowing someone to sue an offender who, without permission, takes pictures or videos of a person on private property.
“The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation,” the singer said in a statement. “As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that. But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn’t be ignored.”
15. “Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new.”
Another brilliant excerpt from his Berklee interview was this gem: “Humility is really important because it keeps you fresh and new”. As the writer Rob Hochschild aptly described, Steve is “a man who wears his fame well”.
“I think it’s just an overblown ego that forgets humility…I like to call myself a realist because I don’t put the veneer over [myself],” the hard rock singer shared.
He went on: “There’s a huge cement brick wall between those that get it and those that don’t. And when you meet them, you know immediately. And that line about ‘I was having a bad day don’t fly.'”
16. “Why not share with the world the way it is and tell them my feelings about my cat, and how I played with my kids, and how addicted to Christmas time I am, and the smell of pine needles and hearing my kids laugh.”
When asked about why he published Does The Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir, his 2011 tell-all autobiography, Steven Tyler said, “I’ve got so much to talk about and let people know what’s going on and what the life has been like for the last 40 years of Aerosmith.”
And indeed, why not? His story of success, failure, debauchery, sobriety, and more are things that should be preserved and talked about. As he aptly said in the Hollywood Reporter interview, “and how possibly, pray tell, does someone wind up like you, Steven?”
Tyler rambled on, “Why not share with the world the way it is and tell them my feelings about my cat, and how I played with my kids, and how addicted to Christmas time I am, and the smell of pine needles and hearing my kids laugh. I don’t think people know that side. They just read about the greasy, grimy gopher guts side of Aerosmith.”
17. “As you know, I’m androgynous. I can wear a jacket that most guys wouldn’t put on. But you make it in guys’ sizes, and suddenly they’re wearing them. I think styles should get back to getting people to wear things that look so good that they don’t care.”
This is one of the excerpts from his Boston Common cover story mentioned above. Tyler is a staunch advocate for pushing the boundaries of traditional gender norms, urging individuals to embrace a fashion sense that transcends societal expectations.
His advocacy revolves around encouraging people to express themselves authentically through clothing, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a personal style that resonates with one’s true identity.
“I’ve always found that the things I’ve worn on tour have moved over to what people wear every day,” Tyler told Boston Common. “Sometimes the things I wore in the beginning before I had money were things I put together.”
18. “Back then it was nothing like today. So you’d go to the bowling alley. We bowled and you could be in the back and you could make out, you know? And you know how hot it was to make out.”
Steven Tyler looks back to the good old days of young love. Seems like the young Steven likes to go bowling and make out, as he also referenced this in a different interview.
In a special interview by USA Today where the rockstar discussed his favorite country records, he once again brought up his bowling days after naming The Everly Brothers’ 1957 classic “Wake Up Little Susie”.
“This was the beginning, when I was making out with girls in bowling alleys. It was the awakening of sexuality for me.” Yep, classic Steven.
19. “The band’s never taken a year off. Last August we decided to take one, and three months in I was bored to tears.”
In this unsourced Steven Tyler quote, the rockstar gave a glimpse into the kind of work ethic Aerosmith maintained that made them a rock powerhouse for more than five decades.
The excerpt seems straightforward – a rockstar can’t handle stillness. But underneath lies a deeper understanding of Tyler’s personality and his relationship with music.
For him, music isn’t just a career; it’s a lifeline. Aerosmith isn’t just a group of guys, it’s an extension of himself, a vessel for his creative energy. A year off, then, isn’t just a break from touring, it’s a severing of that connection, a forced silence for a soul that thrives on noise.
20. “As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band.”
Steven Tyler’s claim that “As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band” may initially come across as phony modesty from a flashy vocalist. But if you look closer, you’ll find the unvarnished truth about human nature, teamwork, and music.
Unquestionably, Tyler is talented; his commanding stage presence, contagious enthusiasm, and high-pitched vocals all speak to this. However, he is aware that music isn’t performed alone. Each thread that makes up the tapestry is essential to the overall design.
Aerosmith’s sound is anchored by Joe Perry’s recognizable riffs, Brad Whitford’s soaring melodies, Tom Hamilton’s powerful bass, and Joey Kramer’s unwavering pulse. Tyler’s vocals are propelled to new heights by these elements, which are more than just accompaniments.