That Time I Feared Steven Tyler Was Going To Get Me Fired
Before moving to Tampa, I worked at a rock station in Boston. After working in pop music for years and interviewing countless boybands and flash in the pan Top 40 acts, I loved the perk of getting to meet rock legends. I even got to golf once with Alice Cooper. And yes, he is as you’ve probably heard one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet.
But what about Steven Tyler from Aerosmith?
I got word that Steven would be coming by our radio station after the studios closed. Only those who needed to know he was coming by stuck around that night. The rest of the staff were all gone, as usual, by 5:01pm. It kind of made me wonder if Steven was one of those “Please don’t look at me” types of celebrities and didn’t want to deal with fans. It would be a shame because I’d always been a pretty big Aerosmith fan myself.
Once the building was quiet, the wait began for Steven’s arrival. I wouldn’t be interviewing Steven. At the time, I wasn’t on the air. I was overseeing the website and social media so my job was just to capture some fun moments on video and snap some pics to put up. So I wasn’t planning on getting the chance to talk to Steven. Usually when an artist that big comes in to the studio, they are in and out in minutes… so it’s all business.
When Steven arrived, the empty quiet building all of a sudden became a frantic zoo with his entourage and our DJs doing their thing. I sat back and watched, snapped some pics and video as Steven was introduced on the air and began to answer questions about Aerosmith. I tried to get as much footage as I could because I figured time would be limited. Instead, Steven Tyler hung out during commercial breaks. He kept picking songs. There was no place he had to be and he was having fun just hanging out.
After downing a few bottles of water to keep his voice clear, during one commercial break Steven needed to use the men’s room. I showed him the way to the entrance and waited outside to bring him back to the studio. As I waited, I had my cell phone in my pocket. Do I do it? Should I try to get a pic with him when he comes out? I know I’d be kind of annoyed if someone asked me for a photo after just coming out of the bathroom. But when am I ever going to get a chance to get a picture with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith again?
Actually it wasn’t the first time I’d had the chance to ask Steven for a pic. A few years earlier when I was working for one of those bubblegum pop music radio stations I mentioned, our station did a live broadcast from a NSync concert in Boston. I was far from the biggest NSync fan around, but the record company gave us pretty incredible seats. In fact the seats were so good, who was sitting BEHIND me a few rows? Sure enough. Steven Tyler. He was holding his daughter and I didn’t want to bother them. I just snapped this photo.
Ten years after that night, this was my chance to finally get a photo. When Steven walked out of the bathroom, I did it. I nervously muttered to him, “Hey, I hate to ask but would you mind taking a quick pic?” Steven stopped the walk back to the studio and just stared at me. The look in his eyes made me panic. I pissed him off. I shouldn’t have done it. This was a huge mistake. Highly unprofessional. What if he says something and makes a scene about this? Will the boss be mad? Is my job going to be in jeopardy? All of these questions bounced in my brain. It seemed like hours but probably was only 3 seconds when his facial expression did a 180, he chuckled and said, “Absolutely!”
Steven threw on his glasses, busted out a big smile and I got the pic you see below.
I’m sure he’d done this routine with nervous fans before. But to this day, it’s still one of my favorite celebrity or musician encounter stories. After we snapped the photo, Steven went back in to the studio and spent another hour or so telling stories. My heart eventually returned to a normal rate after thinking I was about to lose my job.