Steven Tyler talks drug use with Matt Lauer: 'I needed that cocaine'


Image Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Aerosmith frontman, American Idol judge, and wacky formulator of bon mots Steven Tyler joined Matt Lauer on Dateline tonight to discuss his history of drug use, fights with his band, and his new gig on primetime television.

The most interesting tidbit of the interview was Tyler’s admission that he was taking drugs as recently as 2009; he was high on stage  during his infamous spill, and a subsequent trip to rehab contributed to the fracturing of Aerosmith. Tyler also revealed that during the band’s heyday, venues were contractually obligated to have a small off-stage cubby for members to snort some of that sweet, sweet emotion. “I needed blow,” Tyler told Lauer. “I needed that cocaine. I needed it.” But he lamented the effect it had on his life and relations, including with daughter Liv: “That’s what drugs did. It took my children away, it took my band away, it took my marriages away, and I was on my knees.”

Tyler also talked about his relationship with the rest of Aerosmith, and guitarist Joe Perry in particular, summing the two of them up as “Joe’s a creep, I’m an asshole.” He admitted to being hurt by the fact that his bandmates didn’t contact him when he was in rehab, and said that currently, they’re not on the best of terms. “We’re fighting right now,” Tyler revealed.

Most of these topics are covered in Tyler’s upcoming memoir, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, which hits stores on Tuesday. Tyler explained the title of the book to Lauer with an impromptu ditty, implying that phantom improvisational music is playing in his head at all times. Which, I guess, might explain some of his more questionable decisions on the American Idol judges’ panel.

Comments (55 total) Add your comment
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  • Linda Peaceful One

    Your the coolest & hottest man…
    love love love you.

    • HKJ

      You’re (not your)

    • debber

      You should buy his book, then. Or People magazine. Pgs. 64 and 65 have a couple of hot, bad-a$$ photos!!! You’ll love love love.

    • Popeye

      He’s 63 years old. He’s probably limp limp limp…except when doing that blow blow blow

      • Jake

        Dude looks like a lady. Maybe the real housewives of Boston?

      • queenrosered

        Sorry Popeye. You’re obviously CLUELESS when it comes to male physiology. Allow me to enlighten you.Unless a man has a physical/circulatory problem or is taking certain meds that interfere with an erection….there is NO reason for a man of 63 or 73 to have any trouble performing.I know this as a nurse and as the wife of a 61 year old man whose “male member” doesn’t know it’s not 20… ;D Educate yourself! Tyler rocks! (But not as an Idol judge! They need honest, even brutal critique, ala Simon-style)

      • angela

        what the hell are u yapping about???

  • Jeanne Long

    I just saw your piece on Dateline and want to say I thank you for letting us getting know you. Before judging on American Idol I wasn’t very impressed. Since American Idol i think you are great, as a person and singer. I’m so glad you brought a different atmosphere to American Idol. I can’t wait each week for the show. Thank You for allowing me the honor of getting to know you better. I love what I see.

    • Dr Deborah Barry, The Happiness Coach!

      I completely agree! Prior to Am Idol, I had no idea how intriguing you are, Steven! Now I go looking for clips of you; I find you captivating, warm, and funny!

    • Sandi

      The days are numbered for these two bferoe Tyler goes is deployed and travels back to Afgansitan to serve our country so I find it only fitting to express my grattitude to them both for their sacrifice by featuring their beautiful pictures today- may these remind you guys of the love you share- day in and day out while you’re apart! (In case you missed their story find that and more pictures here.)

  • speak up more

    I love Steven, but he should speak up more about other things. On the show he should have spoken up and stuck up for the talented Haley by saying she is one of the most entertaining singers there, he should have stuck up for the talented Paul by saying Paul has nodules on his vocal cords and that was effecting Pauls throat, he should have helped the talented Scotty by telling him all he needs to do is pick better songs and then he will kick butt on that stage.

    • speak up more

      By the way, I’m talking about him speaking up on the show American Idol not Dateline.

    • JackieB

      Agree about Haley, but not Paul. Even when healthy, Paul sucked so bad.

      • beetle

        Wrong. Paul has a beautiful voice.

    • LoveTyler

      Great singer, handsome man and I can’t wait to read the book. Legend people legend. At least he is sharing his life and being honest. How many do that?

      • Jake

        The guy is the poster child for bad choices. To quote Jonathan Edwards “He can’t even run his own life”. Not a legend in anyway except for excesses.

      • Petra

        Jake, if multimillionaire Steven Tyler, with a loving family, packs of former girlfriend, fame, and 50 years of pleasant partying is a “poster child of bad choices” …well, let Steven write a book on his bad choices so I can try several and see how they work out for me!!

      • Bengie

        Casey – Holy cow Tessa, you completely blew me away!! These are AMAZING!!! Thank you so much! We had a blast and can’t wait for May. I have been tnelilg everyone that I have the BEST photographer-now they have evidence!

      • Zijad

        Jack – Somewhat belated good wihess for a successful career. It is wonderful that work is your love and enjoyment. If I may make so bold, could I suggest a future project.Photograph family in places significant to your forbears and where possible juxtapose these against family photos of the same place. You could start at Hampden Street Heywood, known to the locals as Wheelbarrow Street’, which was home and possibly birthplace of your maternal grandmother, Annie. The product would be a wonderful gift for those that follow you, Freddie, Lily and ????.Love from Sydney

    • Petra

      Agree on Haley. She needs an honest man to tell America just how incredible she is. Steven is an honest man but Idol or just his sloth and saccharine blanket “you were all wonderful, beautiful” praising – has kept him silent on this.
      Fortunately, another honest man, Adam Lambert DID step up.
      Lambert extended his initial support Haley tweet and explained to Billboard just what Haley Reinhart’s talent level is and how great her technique is.

      Thank you, Adam!

      Adam did not pull punches on the others – saying that James is sometimes “playing” a performer vs. being one. Casey’s growling became self-indulgent. Lauren hasn’t overcome her caution. Scotty needs to push himself. No mention of Jacob, though, by Lambert.

      As for Paul – I like him but he is NOT an excellent vocalist. Heard him before he developed vocal nodule(s), and he wasn’t that good. What Paul McDonald IS very good at is singing his own songs, doing great work with a rising, well-regarded band. Paul will be fine. Download some Grand Magnolia stuff and hear for yourself.

      (High class marks to Kelly Clarkson, Siobhan Magnus – the other day, Casey Abrams, and Melinda Doolittle on top of Adam for noting how good the always in danger of elimination Haley – really is.)

      • practice more

        The contestants really just need money so they can have the best vocal lessons. Practice makes perfect.

      • k

        Petra, there was nothing wrong with Paul as a vocalist before he got nodules, so I don’t understand what you were trying to say on that part. I think he just needs help and singing lessons. Think about what Jennifer told him about his “Tracks Of My Tears” performance–she said: all you need is a good producer. Youtube that performance and see for yourself what she said.

  • JoeC

    Wow. One look at any of Steven Tyler’s pics over the last 20 to 25 years is the best argument never to do drugs.

    • Hank

      Or to get plastic surgery.

    • debber

      Yeah, but remember the dude is also 63 years old, too.

      • Jake

        Robert Wagner is 81 and looks better than tyler.

  • marieBlanchet

    I can’t wait to read the book. I’m going to ask for it for Mother’s day. Steven Tyler is so sincere and kind as a judge. I really love to hear his comments and to see a star who is so genuine.
    He has a creative and colorful way of speaking, and i’m sure this gift for words will jump off every page. he’s a living legend and a genius!

  • Barney

    he’s like the white version of prince.

    • Ben

      In what way?

    • Mahdi

      a great difference why poelpe show their video of vacations: 1. because they had a SPONTANEOUS INSIGHT they want to share, because they ENJOY THE PLACE . or 2. because they have nothing to say and enjoy if other poelpe are impressed and enjoy their envy. What do you think happened here 1. or 2.? IF 2 PEOPLE DO THE SAME IT IS NEVER THE SAME

  • Jenna

    All of the bad plastic surgery has caught up with him. Scary.

    • debber

      Well, I’m not scared. He can put his shoes under my bed any time he wants!

      • Popeye

        Do you like your men to look like women?

      • Jake

        Well, I’d have to say you’re anything but fussy.

  • Riette

    Thank you for being so honnest I gain respect for you,after admitting and telling your story which can help so many young children, teenagers and adults.

    • Popeye

      How many young children and teens do you think will read his book?

      • Dawn1969

        who cares?

  • Clarence Yu

    One rule you have broken is to talk bad about your bandmates.

  • TorontoTom

    I liked him during the height of Aerosmith. And during the taped portion of Idol season, he was great. BUT…since they’ve gone to the live shows, he’s USELESS. I don’t think he’s even listening to the contestants. He basically tells everyone that they are “beautiful” and adds nothing to the show. If the band does patch things up and tours, I wouldn’t even consider paying hefty concert tickets prices to see him. He’s no longer an edgy bad boy of rock. He’s not even “beautiful”.

  • sambob

    wow coke is horrible

  • carolae

    This guy looks like a woman….very creepy. I’ve stopped watching Idol because of him…I just can’t stand looking at his face. There has to be someone else that can take his place!

    • Jake

      ITA. His face looks like a safe fell on it.

  • JOJO

    Dude looks like a Lady was originally written about Jani Lane from Warrant.

    • Tico


  • roman girl

    I loved your voice in 1973 first time i saw you in concert. I love you more now. I was watching your interview on dateline when they interrupted it with the death of bin ladin. Yea its good he is not walking on this earth any longer, but could you replay the interview

  • ShoresLady

    I’d like to see what happened if Stephen Tyler went to a regular ol’ barbershop then bought an outfit at Sears and then tell me if the girls are still swooning. Take off the costume and he’s Don Rickels.

    • TeeJay

      ShoresLady. Lets shave your head, spoon your eyes out and give you a white cane and lets see if people still pay attention to your asinine posts. Go worship whatever urban thug it is you like and then hit a bridge abutment.

    • angela

      the guy is hot,Sears, did I get that spelling right??

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