I was amusing myself the other day in a conversation making fun of everyone’s favorite Grandmother Steven Tyler’s (from Aerosmith, not American Idol) foray into Country Music. The person I was chatting with said the stupidest shit I have heard since KISS said they were retiring 12 tours ago.
This person / co-worker / ill-informed minion said Tyler was simply experimenting with his creativity. Are you kidding me? Tyler is a true legend in rock. Aerosmith are true cultural icons, why would Tyler want to step outside of that? The answer lies in one thing: money. Country music still sells and for that Tyler will apparently sell his soul to the banjo playing devil.
Tyler’s not the only one. Bret Michaels deserted Poison long ago to hide his thinning hair under a cowboy hat. That doesn’t make it better or offer an explanation. Creativity has nothing to do with it. A rock/metal guy walking into a Country Studio to do some writing is going to have as much input as Joey Jordison did in Slipknot.
Is this the ultimate sell out? From metal to rock is one thing, but from hard rock and metal to fiddles and steel guitars? This can’t be creative. How does an artist who participates in complicated works of art be creative in a genre that they literally have to dumb themselves down to create? 3 chords and a bored drummer will make the average Country tune. Throw in girls, tractors, pickup trucks, and beer to complete a gold record.
Am I being harsh? Nope. It would be like a Major League Player heading down to the minors because someone offered them a big payday. It’s a lot easier to go down a step then come up a step. Can you picture Blake Shelton head banging with Black Sabbath. Could he even do it?
This exploring and experimenting argument just doesn’t hold water with me. It is a known fact that you only get better at something when you work with peers that are on an equal or better level than you. Is Carrie Underwood more talented then Steven Tyler? Is Garth Brooks a better songwriter than Bret Michaels? The proof is in the music.
I guess if you want to be the big fish in a small pond and make a big pay day along the way; turning your back on your roots while selling your talent short may be the way to go. Just don’t wrap it in niceties and sell us this creative bullshit.
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