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The Mighty Must Fall, But Steven Tyler Lives On

August 8, 2009

I used to think of Steven Tyler as a demigod; or a yidam floating in the time-cycles of Kalachakra; or perhaps a slightly more human-looking Mothman, sitting above time entertaining himself by entertaining us.  Alas, on August 5, 2009, the curtain was pulled aside and the world witnessed Tyler’s most convincing display of mortality to date:  while hyper-kinetically jumping around the platform during a concert at a Sturgis bike rally, Tyler spun around a few times and fell off the stage.  His head was bleeding and he was holding his shoulder in pain.  He was airlifted to Rapid City Regional Hospital, which according to the article is the only major hospital in western South Dakota.  This is odd in itself, as I wonder a) what is considered a “major” hospital in South Dakota, b) how is there only one of them in half of a state that measures 77,116 square miles, and c) why the hell do you hold a motorcycle rally in an area where you would have to airlift someone in need of a hospital visit?

Tyler’s longevity can hardly be chalked up to clean living—he and Joe Perry weren’t called the “Toxic Twins” because it sounded cute—though he’s been sober for over 20 years.   It’s upsetting, then, to see Tyler’s age catching up with him so quickly, like Treat Williams’ accelerated decomposition in Dead Heat.  In just the past few years he has experienced a vocal surgery, leg injuries, and a noticeable deterioration of his vampiric grace.  While Keith Richards seems immortal because of his inability to be killed by anything, even head injuries suffered after falling out of a tree at age 63, he looks like a deflated pirate blow-up doll.  Steven Tyler today, however, looks pretty similar to 1973 Steven Tyler, with a few more wrinkles (perhaps it’s different up close).  We should be so lucky.

Tyler says he’s sore but stable, and bummed about maybe having to cancel his current tour.  No one now questions his humanity, whereas before one might have expected a scarf snagged while falling from the stage to unravel and unravel to reveal…nothing at all, or at most a pair of shoes: hard-rock’s version of Looney Tunes’ Gossamer.  If Tyler were to have landed slightly differently, though, and shuffled off his mortal coil, what more could we have expected than for it to happen in a blaze of glory, plummeting off the stage at a venue called the Buffalo Chip Campground?  He’s given us “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” and Liv Tyler (we’ll overlook “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”).  Since he’s still bouncing around a stage at a biker rally in Sturgis, SD, at age 61, it sounds like he’s got more to give.

  1. Sean Gilroy permalink
    August 9, 2009 8:40 pm

    I’m offering free drinks for life to whomever will push that prick off the next stage he capers across. God, he’s such a tool.


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