Steven Tyler screeches like a budgie from hell as Aerosmith rocks Vancouver on the Pump tour

By Steve Newton

On March 17, 1990, Aerosmith played the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. At the time the band was still putting out pretty decent albums; six months earlier it had released Pump, which boasted rockin’ numbers like “Monkey on My Back”, “Young Lust”, and “The Other Side”. This was before it sold out for radio play with the “Amazing”/”Crazy”/”Crying” video-single trilogy that made a superstar out of Alicia Silverstone.

That happened on the next album.

Back in ’90 the ‘Smith was still a formidable force, and it had a strong connection to Vancouver, where it recorded Pump at Little Mountain Sound with producer Bruce Fairbairn, who had helped get them back on the charts with 1987’s Permanent Vacation. It was cool that Fairbairn–who died suddenly from unknown causes in 1999–got up to blow some horn during the Vancouver show.

I remember feeling a little put-out that I hadn’t wangled an interview with my rock heroes from the ’70s in advance of the show. I mean, who was giving them ink seven years earlier when Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had bailed and Aerosmith was struggling with Rock in a Hard Place? Me, that’s who.

Anyway, here’s my review of the show, which ran in the March 23-30 issue of the Georgia Straight newspaper under the headline: Boston’s bad boys pass up the press, let music do the talkin’


Boy, the nerve of those Aerosmith guys! They stay in our city for months on end, tie up our world-class studios, use our best producers and engineers, hog all the seats in our strip bars, and then deny the city’s top entertainment rag a crummy phone interview! It’s nearly enough to make you wanna trash your worn-out copy of Get Your Wings and slag their show in revenge!

But not quite enough. Because even if they are big shots these days, Aerosmith is still one of the best kick-ass bands around, if not the best. The clean and sober kings of the raunchy riff showed a sold-out crowd at the Coliseum last Saturday that there is indeed a place for sex, no drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

But, while the Aerosmith boys have reputedly left the drugs and the booze behind them, it was obvious from the number of casualties occupying first-aid stretchers that many of their fans haven’t. One young fellow was so wasted that he decided to barge his way through the Coliseum’s glass doors without a ticket–while they were closed! Luckily, the local constabulary was there to show him that Aerosmith most certainly does not play for free.

Rowdies and bad-trippers aside, most of the real action was taking place on the stage, which was made out to resemble a rooftop, complete with Vancouver Hotel sign, laundry hanging out to dry, and steaming chimneys. The typically slinky Steven Tyler, dressed in a silky white jumpsuit and tailcoat, made the vast layout of steps and platforms a playground on which he gyrated and squirmed salaciously, while guitarist Joe Perry was Tyler’s antithesis in fringed black-leather jacket and pants.

Perry’s first solo was inaudible, but the bugs in his setup were soon worked out and he was free to trade dangerous licks with co-guitarist Brad Whitford, who actually out-riffed his higher-profile guitar mate throughout the concert. Drummer Joey Kramer was his usual stalwart self, while nonchalant bassist Tom Hamilton kept up an inconspicuous but steady throb.

“The blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll!” Tyler screeched like a demented budgie from hell, before the Margarita Horns–featuring Aerosmith producer Bruce Fairbairn and Skywalker Tom Keenlyside–hopped up for the soulful strut of “Rag Doll”. Tyler also called out local instrumental magician Randy Raine-Reusch, who blew into some sort of oversized pipe–a Himalayan sheepherders’ horn, perhaps?–for the sonorous intro to one of the band’s recent tunes, “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even”.

Aerosmith’s oldest songs (“Mama Kin”, “Dream On”) and newest ones (“Janie’s Got a Gun”, “Love in an Elevator”) went over equally well, and by the time they’d encored with the Yardbirds’ “Train Kept a Rollin'” and their biggest hit, “Walk This Way”, few fans had anything to complain about. But in light of that unforgivable no-interview deal, let’s end this one with a beef: why the hell did they leave out “Toys in the Attic” and “Back in the Saddle”?


To hear the full audio of my interviews with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my one-on-one conversations with:

Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, 1985
David “Honeyboy” Edwards, 2003
Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions, 1992
Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, 2001
Jeff Keith of Tesla, 1988
Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton of Arc Angels, 1992
Marc Bonilla, 1992
Mike Smith of Sandbox (and Trailer Park Boys), 1996
Dewey Bunnell of America, 1983
Robert Randolph of the Family Band, 2003
Keith Strickland of the B-52s, 2008
David Johansen of the New York Dolls, 2005
Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon, 2003
Todd Kerns, 2016
Bill Payne of Little Feat, 2002
Tommy Shannon of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, 1998
Alejandro Escovedo, 1997
Billy Duffy of the Cult, 1989
Dave Martone, 2020
Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, 2006
Joss Stone, 2012
Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, 2005
Jack Blades of Night Ranger, 1984
Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard, 1992
Colin James, 1995
Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown, 1998
Tom Cochrane of Red Rider, 1983
Ed Roland of Collective Soul, 1995
Taj Mahal, 2001
Tom Wilson of Junkhouse, 1995
Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, 2003
David Lindley, 2002
Marty Friedman of Megadeth, 1991
John Hiatt, 2010
Nancy Wilson of Heart, 2006
Jeff Golub, 1989
Moe Berg of the Pursuit of Happiness, 1990
Todd Rundgren, 2006
Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, 2001
Steve Earle, 1987
Gabby Gaborno of the Cadillac Tramps, 1991
Terry Bozzio, 2003
Roger Glover, 1985
Matthew Sweet, 1995
Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds, 2003
Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, 2001
John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, 1995
Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Grace Potter, 2008
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, 1984
Jeff Healey, 1988
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1996
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Edgar Winter, 2005
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Randy Hansen, 2001
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joey Belladonna of Anthrax, 1991
Joe Satriani, 1990
Vernon Reid of Living Colour, 1988
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
Zakk Wylde of Pride & Glory, 1994
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
John Doe, 1990
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Doyle Bramhall II, 2001
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Randy Bachman, 2001
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Alex Van Halen, 1995
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001

…with hundreds more to come

One thought on “Steven Tyler screeches like a budgie from hell as Aerosmith rocks Vancouver on the Pump tour

  1. I got to work Aerosmith several times. After their encore & just before we struck the stage, Steven Tyler would come & mingle with the 100 or so local roadies. The 1st time, he came up to me & said he loved my black leather cowboy hat. He shook my hand & introduced himself to me. He said,”Bean is an unusual name. I’ll remember it”. Sure enough, the next time I worked them, he was asking the other roadies where Bean was. He even came to the crew room to find me. The other roadies were kind of freaked out that he was asking for me. The 3rd time I worked them, he still remembered me & called me by name again. That time, he introduced me to Joe Perry. For a rock god, he was a very shy person off stage. He gave me a light handshake & was looking at the floor, mostly. Steven was always quite the opposite, even after he was drug & alcohol free! Aerosmith were one of my favorite bands to work with! Some bands really appreciated the local roadies & some just disappeared after their shows.

Leave a Reply