Dream With Me
Editor Rick Broussard
Photo by John Hession
I'd start this note with 'twas the night before Christmas but that sounds so 2011. Still, That's when plans for this February issue took a memorable turn.
The family was preparing to eat our traditional takeout from Chen Yang Li when the phone rang and "unknown caller" appeared on the ID. It seemed unlikely we'd get a robo-call on Christmas Eve, so I picked it up. A voice on the other end asked to speak with me. It was a very familiar voice - in fact, one of the most familiar voices in the world. It was Steven Tyler, consummate rocker, global superstar and "American Idol" judge, himself, on my phone.
I've been wanting to talk to Mr. "Dream On" Tyler since the 1970s. Back then, I was living in Monterey, Calif., and I picked up a hitchhiker named Joe McGillicuddy who had thumbed his way from Boston, Mass. He was a Southie kid with a dense accent and no particular plans. I was sleeping on a couch in my brother's apartment, there was room on the floor and Joe was a good soul with a bunch of stories to tell. Naturally we invited him to spend the night. Soon he became a part of the furniture. The '70s were like that.
Joe loved music, but above all he loved Aerosmith, the band from his hometown, so we'd often drive up beautiful Highway 1 on the coast with "Toys in the Attic" cranked up on the eight-track. Joe's favorite story was about how he had seen an Aerosmith concert in Boston and then hung around on a chance to meet the band. Luck was with him. He loved to tell people how Steven Tyler shook his hand, looked him in the eye and talked to him just like a normal person. Tyler treated him like he, Joe, was as good as anyone in the band.
Since I moved to New Hampshire and learned about the New Hampshire roots of Aerosmith, it has been a goal of mine to tell Steven Tyler that tale of how his simple act of fellowship made such a deep and lasting impression. Of course, I also wanted to get an exclusive interview. I know he's a busy guy with literally thousands of larger media concerns bugging him, but I finally managed to get a note and a business card to a place where I knew he might see it. The rest is now history. Well, personal history at least.
So, if I could talk to Joe McGillicuddy again, I'd tell him he was dead on. Steven Tyler may be one of the most famous people in the world, but he talked to me just like a normal guy. He made me feel completely at home on the phone with him for a half hour on Christmas Eve while we were both enjoying the holiday and getting ready to eat.
If I could talk to Steven Tyler again, well, I'd tell him about Joe. I have to admit, I was so excited to be talking to the man who wrote "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "Walk This Way" that I completely forgot about my old hitchhiking buddy.
Even so, I got a great interview that appears here in its entirety.
Sorry, Joe. Wherever you are. I'm sure you understand.