Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rock This Way

I am a life-long Aerosmith fan. I don't even remember when I first heard their music or the first song of theirs that rooted itself firmly in my heart it was so long ago. Their songs are the soundtrack to my life. I have been listening and loving as long as I can remember. What I am telling you is that I am that fanatic girl who can sing every word to every song, even the ones that did not get one minute of radio play, even the ones that were recorded before I was born. I am the person who will relentlessly drag her friends and family to every show even when they have long grown tired of the music. I am the girl whose own husband, who used to like Aerosmith's music, tries to change the radio station before I notice one of their songs is playing. After ten years with me, he is that tired of hearing them.

Yes, I am that annoying fan. :)

The first time I saw them live was in 1997 in Louisiana. Since then I have seen almost every show they have played when it was close enough to go. The concert this week in Dallas was my ninth time seeing them. After the events of this week, if they never tour again I will still be happy. But if they do, I will continue to go to every show I can. They just keep getting better.

When I was in high school, some friends of mine went to New Orleans for an Aerosmith concert and ran into the band in the French Quarter before the show. They got to spend part of the afternoon hanging out with them, and then the band did a few songs for them. I was supposed to be with my friends that day, but I was a teenage girl with a curfew, and the Quarter wasn't exactly a wholesome place for me to be. So the day of the outing I was at home being ticked off at my mom instead of hanging out with Aerosmith. The road to recovery on that one has been long. :)

A few years ago a friend of mine almost got me in to see them backstage before the show, but she wasn't successful, and I didn't find out until the next day that she had even tried. I will say though, she came so close to getting me in that when I found out, I almost wished she hadn't told me.

For these reasons, and also because I am hopelessly optimistic, I always believed I would have my encounter with Aerosmith some day. Doesn't mean I wasn't totally shocked and out of my mind when that time came.

Last Friday, Kidd Kraddick (the host of a widely popular morning radio show in Dallas) announced that Steven Tyler would be in the studio for interview the following Monday morning. I work part time in my friend Shelly's boutique, and she called me that morning while I was working to ask me if I'd heard. That Steven Tyler would be in studio in Dallas. That he would be giving an interview at the radio station. That he would be actually in Dallas, giving an interview, at the radio station.

Gasp. Blink blink. No, I hadn't heard.

I was so giddy with excitement, I could barely focus my mind all day. You see, I know that the Kidd Kraddick morning show studio is set up to accommodate an audience, with glass walls on one side of the studio so that the listeners can come down and watch from outside.

I knew I would be able to go and watch the interview. Me, Steven Tyler. One glass wall separating us.

I also knew something else that made me even more excited than just seeing him. I knew that years ago, when I was still work full time and not able to go to the studio, Steven Tyler had done an interview with Kidd Kraddick and then went outside and met all the fans. I had listened that day from my office, and I had wished I had been there. People, I was not letting that happen again.

So, bright and early Monday morning, armed with my Sharpie and my album covers, and with my daughter in tow, I set out for the Kidd Kraddick studio in Las Colinas, Texas. Lacie wore her Aerosmith t-shirt with the pink wings and I had my Steven Tyler purse that I had made a few years ago. We were ready!

If it was even possible, Lacie was just as excited as me. It was very early and already in almost 100 degrees, but nothing could have kept me from going. When we got there, there were already some fans gathered but the setup was so nice we had no trouble finding a great spot to watch the interview. There was a great energy in the air and everyone was excited. There was some speculation that he would be announcing his spot as a judge on American Idol for next season, so that added to the excitement in the air. There were some really great people there and it was fun meeting some other fans as dedicated as me. :)

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

During one of the commercial breaks, Big Al Mack (Kidd Kraddick's sidekick) came out to greet the crowd. He is a really nice and charismatic guy.

My dad works in a building right next to the studio, and he is a fan too, so I was hoping he would be able to get a break and come out to see the interview.

Papaw Eddie made it!!!

There was not much left to make this day better.

Back from commercial, Kidd announced the arrival of the man! The crowd went wild, and though the broadcast was streaming to the outside, not a word could be heard when he walked in and we could all see him. It was awesome!

Lacie and I had a great spot with a view of Steven Tyler straight in front of us. If there had not been a glass wall in front of me, I could have taken two steps and touched him. But the crowd was so excited and loud we couldn't hear a word of the interview. I didn't care. I knew I would be able to listen to it later on the podcast. :)

After about 15 minutes, we moved to give our awesome spot to someone else. We moved closer to the screen and the speakers, and then we could hear some of the interview. At this point there was a lot of buzz among the members of the crowd. Would he come outside to do meet and greet? Would he sing a song? Would he go next door to the bar and grill that has a stage set up specifically for musical guests of the show to perform if they wish? All I dared to hope for was a glimpse of him without the glass separating us. Just a moment of occupying the same space as the man whose music and story has inspired me so many times in my life.

And so it was to be. After the interview concluded, one of Steven's handlers came out and told us he would come out. He promised us that if we would form a line and be conservative with our time and requests, each and every one of us would get a moment with Steven. There were about 70, a small crowd. Very do-able if we all worked with him.

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

And then, like a dream, he was there. I don't want my description to sound like some fangirl who will just say anything to make her idol sound likeable, but he really was. Have you ever been around someone who loves life, loves music, loves being happy? You know how you can almost feel that attitude, that energy, coming off them? That is how it felt being near Steven Tyler. You definitely got the impression that he appreciated his fans, loved being around them, and was a truly nice guy.

He also seemed like the kind of person who is always having fun, no matter where is finds himself.

My dad is always my Aerosmith concert partner, and so he loved meeting him too. Although my dad is a classic rock fan, I actually introduced him to Aerosmith's music when I moved to Texas almost 11 years ago. I love that they have been making music for so long they have fans of all ages. :)

Dad got a handshake after he got his LP autographed.

New friend Eddie with Steven.

Some people had him sign dollar bills, I guess they didn't bring anything like we did. Maybe they didn't expect him to give autographs.

photo courtesy of

New friend Jennifer. She drove in that morning from Louisiana. She had him sign above her Aerosmith wings tattoo she had on her lower back. She went straight to a tattoo parlor and had his signature tattooed.

photo courtesy of

New friend Angela. She got a big birthday smooch, and I am jealous!

photo courtesy of

New friend Latha with Steven.

When I got my time with him, Eddie (from above) took my camera and got some shots. This is the best one. He told me Lacie was sweet and beautiful. I wish I'd had something unforgettable to say to him, but I was pretty tongue tied and so I just told him how much Lacie and I love his music.

We stayed the entire time Steven was outside, despite the humid heat that left us soaking wet. And you know what? Steven stayed and met each fan, and spent a moment with each one of us, even when his handlers tried to move him along faster.

Once, years ago, I told my dad how much I would love to meet Steven. My dad told me that if I never did it may be for the best. That he'd heard stories of people meeting some celebrity they loved, and being horribly disappointed in the character that celebrity displayed. I had the opposite experience. Steven was much more than I had ever expected him to be. I cannot imagine living the life he has led, encountering screaming fans for 35+ years and not being totally uninterested in them. But he was very interested, or at least he seemed to be.

I was very lucky to meet him, and I will always be so thankful for that opportunity. It was a dream of mine, and it came true!

The next night was the concert, and I met up with Latha and Angela before the show. The set list was great, they played some favorites and some oldies too. In my 9 times seeing them, this was the first time I heard "Lord of the Thighs" live. One of the highlights for me was when Joey Kramer did his drum solo and Steven Tyler joined him, so that they were both banging on the drums at a hundred miles an hour in perfect synchrony.


See more pictures here: photos

Watch and listen to the interview here: interview


  1. Girlfriend you should be a writer! It was like I was reading an exciting novel! I'm soooo happy for you and that your lifelong dream has come true! What an unforgettable experience and I'm thrilled Lacie and your Dad could share it with you! Great photos too! You lucky girl! Hugs!

  2. Oh man, Lori, what can I say after THAT?!?!

    You said it all and so expertly! I have to concur with SugarPinkBotique... you are a natural born writer and really know how to bang home the feeling of things as they happened!

    Not only am I over-the-moon for you, but I'm so so very proud! I've always felt if someone I really wanted to meet was nearby, I would blow the opportunity completely by freezing up and hiding. Kudos for you for having the guts to meet this gorgeous, inspiring man!

    I remember WELL how much of an Aerosmith fan you are and I would give anything to have been there watching this all take place for you in person! I bet your smile reached all new proportions!

    "I am the girl whose own husband tries to change the radio station before I notice one of their songs is playing."

    Ha ha ha ha ha! :)

    Goodness, this was such a neat read and I am at such a loss for words as to how to convey my joy and happiness for you! Esp. after the year you've had, what could possibly top this as far as rejuvenating your downtrodden spirit goes?

    EEEEP! I'll be seeing Aerosmith for the first time September 16th in Vancouver and this will sound freakish but it's very neat to me to think how the man front and center on the stage will have been in your presence so very recently! It will be like a double whammy of coolness for me as I truly believe we retain a bit of every aura we come into contact with!

    Also, might I add how smokin' hot Mr. Tyler still looks? Those long legs and that tight ass! YUM!

    Hugging the bejesus out of you, Lori! You so deserved this wild ride!

    All the love in the world!

    Missy <3

  3. I do believe that I have never shared anything so awesome with someone as this experience right here. I feel like almost every word you expressed was something I felt also. Very honored your shared my photo of him signing above my tattoo. Glad we got to meet. and yes your daughter is a sweetheart. :)
    AND YOU ARE RIGHT, I have heard stories before of fans meeting celebritys/idols and being totally disappointed. BUT STEVEN proved everyone wrong of that. He was the most amazing man I have ever met. Full of life, love of music and simply happy - just like you said. Its like some people were surprised, but no, we knew he would be so generous, amazing and loving. We know our Steven!
    The blog is beautiful girl and the tattoo is even more beautiful! :)