What made you decide to become a judge on American Idol?
I knew Randy Jackson really well. And in March I got an e-mail from Kara DioGuardi-we wrote a song for a Japanese movie-saying, “What do you think about being a judge?” My dad told me 40 years ago I should have something to fall back on, and Aerosmith was going off the road, so I figured, what else am I gonna do after 40 years of being in a band and being judged myself? It’s a hoot.
Will Aerosmith no longer tour?
Orange County, Calif.
Everything’s good with the band. The next album will be done by the end of the summer, then we’re going on tour to Japan and South America.
Can we expect the crazy Steven I know and love, or do you have to censor yourself for Idol?
I’m not into flambeing, but I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. At the end of the day, a good melody wins, so when contestants go off, singing like Curly, Larry or Moe, I just let them have it. I ask them, “Did you eat a lot of paint chips as a kid?” or “Did you bump your head on the way in here?”
What surprised you about Jennifer Lopez during judging?
For all the sassiness I’ve heard she’s got, she sure has a loving side. That’s what’s gonna be needed to be a good judge-to have compassion yet know her art and craft. Also, her a– wasn’t as big as they say. [laughs]
Media reports say you had some health issues this past year. How are you feeling these days?
I’m on fire. I’m on Idol, I finished writing a book, and I just celebrated a year sober. Life is good.
What are your thoughts on contestants covering Aerosmith songs?
Cranberry Twp., Pa.
Bad idea. I get to be more critical-you won’t sway me doing my songs!