Despite Steven Tyler’s drug addiction problems, for more than 30 years he has lead the best-selling American rock band of all time, Aerosmith. The Boston based group has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide; 25 of which have gone gold, 18 platinum and 12 multi-platinum albums, nine number-one hits, four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. Aerosmith have the record for the most gold albums by any American group, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
He has survived a harrowing past, and today has gratitude for the time he has spent in recovery, saying he appreciates the clarity and honesty of sobriety over the years he lost to addiction.This staggering history is almost as outrageous as the addiction and substance abuse which has plagued the band and most prominently the lead singer, Steven Tyler. He joined the band in 1971 and they quickly rose in popularity and exposure to the hard rock partying and drug lifestyle. Tyler admits drugs were nothing new to him, abusing a multitude of substances since he was sixteen.
When being characterized by Oprah as the rock star who has abused more substances than anyone else, Tyler admits:
“It used to be cool to hear, and now it kinda hurts. I have a little shame for not being more wide eyed in the 70’s”
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a result of Tyler’s heavy drug and alcohol addiction, the band’s popularity and ability to produce hits diminished. He completed drug rehabilitation in 1986 and subsequently maintained sobriety for over 20 years. Aerosmith has been described by Rolling Stone as one of the best arguments for sobriety ever, if listening to their bad records in comparison to the great ones.
Steven Tyler and Aerosmith came on the scene during a time when he says venues were contractually obligated to have a small off-stage cubby for members to use drugs and doctors said cocaine was not addictive just habituating. He has recovered from Hepatitis C, a disease contracted as a result of his intravenous drug use, spread through blood-to-blood contact often associated with sharing used needles. He has survived a harrowing past, and today has gratitude for the time he has spent in recovery, saying he appreciates the clarity and honesty of sobriety over the years he lost to addiction.