Steven Tyler may sue if Aerosmith replace him

Can you imagine Aerosmith fronted by Lenny Kravitz, Paul Rogers or, er, Joe McElderry? Neither can Tyler, who may take legal action if the band hire a new singer

Lawyers representing Steven Tyler have sent a "cease and desist" letter to Aerosmith's management, following reports that the band is looking for a replacement singer. Tyler's attorney, Skip Miller, accused manager Howard Kaufman of "playing band-members off against one another" in a strategy that "could destroy Aerosmith".

Miller's letter instructs Kaufman to "immediately cease and desist from engaging in acts and conduct to the harm and detriment of your own client, Aerosmith, and our client who is one of its members". While Miller insists that Tyler "does not want lawsuits", the notice maintains that he may "pursue legal action for damages and other appropriate relief".

"Can you imagine the manager of the Rolling Stones calling for the replacement of Mick Jagger?" Miller asked Billboard magazine. "It's just absurd ... Aerosmith without Steven Tyler is like the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger, or U2 without Bono."

Tyler is currently in rehab, receiving treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Before going away, he underlined his commitment to the band and dismissed earlier claims that he wanted a two-year break to pursue his solo career. "The direction we want is Aerosmith, with Steven Tyler, touring in Europe, touring Latin America, releasing a new album," Miller said.

But Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry paints a different pictrure. "[Steven] has to have leg and foot surgery and it's basically going to take him out of the picture for about a year and a half," he said last month. "So the four of us are just making our plans." According to reports, Aersomith have approached potential "substitutes" including Billy Idol, Paul Rodgers, Chris Cornell and Lenny Kravitz.

Miller claims that a meeting took place in January, between Kaufman, Tyler's attorney John Branca, and Tyler's manager Allen Kovac. Kaufman "said point blank he didn't think Steven should be part of Aerosmith", Miller alleged, "[and] flat-out said the band would be better off without Steven". Miller has now called for a 9 February meeting of Aerosmith's "shareholders" to discuss the band's future, including a new album and tours later this year.

Furthermore, Miller has accused Kaufman of putting Tyler's recovery at risk. "This behaviour directed towards a person committing to rehabilitation and recovery is detrimental and hurtful on both a personal and professional level," he wrote. "This is a time Steven has dedicated to transform his life."

Aerosmith's most recent album was Honkin' On Bobo, released in 2004.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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