The legendary hard rock band was embroiled in turmoil at the time. When Tyler became involved in other endeavors, such as being a judge on American Idol, Perry thought the singer was distancing himself from Aerosmith.
Rumors circulated of possible replacements, with names like Lenny Kravitz, Paul Rodgers, Chris Cornell, Billy Idol, and Sammy Hagar being mentioned among rock circles. It turned out the Red Rocker came close to accepting the role.
In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Perry elaborated on the episode, which is thankfully water-under-the-bridge for all parties involved. But at the time, that wasn’t the case.
When asked about almost teaming up with Hagar, the guitarist said [as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar]: “It was really another one of those times, you don’t keep a band together without a lot of bumps.”
“But anyway, over the years, everybody has to bust out and do what they want. And I remember Steven doing that TV show, I thought that was great,” Perry added. “I just knew he had to do something like that, and doing that solo record that he did. So the band wasn’t that tight, there was talk and there were so many people involved — lawyers, different managers… I thought Steven wants maybe to take four years off, do what he wants to do. And so the whole looking around for another lead singer thing, just as soon as that happened, that raised its head.”
On Hagar, Perry recalled: “I’m not sure how it got out there, but Sam I know as a really mellow guy, easy to get along with. And he definitely had the pipes — so I can see why that idea had been floated. But we also had a shortlist at that point. Things went the way they did, everybody got out of the system what they wanted to, and then we slowly glued back together.”
Perry and Tyler have since strengthened their bond, with Perry calling him “the brother that I never had” and saying they’re “as close together now” as ever before.
As for Hagar, he acknowledged that he nearly accepted the position in Aerosmith, recently speaking with Ultimate Classic Rock in a separate interview.
“I almost did it,” Hagar said. “I think if I would have done both those things [joining Van Halen and Aerosmith], I would have been the guy that replaced the guy. You know, always the guy replacing the guy, and that’s a strange legacy for a guy like me, you know what I mean?”
Listen to Joe Perry’s interview below.