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Aerosmith and Kiss '70s Feud Persists as Singers Trade Barbs in New Interviews

Steven Tyler Paul Stanley - H 2012
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Steven Tyler, left, and Paul Stanley

Steven Tyler calls out the "comic book rock band," and Paul Stanley enjoys the memory of watching people walk out on Aerosmith during the bands' co-headlining tour in 2003.

You could start a lot of arguments in rock circles by inviting a debate on ’70s East Coast contemporaries Kiss and Aerosmith. There certainly would be no shortage of smeared makeup or ruffled scarves. But it seems that the bands themselves have created a little tempest of late.

The dust-up flared when Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler dismissed Kiss during a radio interview in Florida as a “comic book rock band [with] spackled faces [and] a couple of hits.” And Paul Stanley fired back, telling a syndicated radio show that he enjoyed watching people walk out on Aerosmith during their 2003 co-headlining tour.

Let’s start with Tyler’s initial salvo.

“I remember when we went out with Kiss in ’76 or something,” he told The Cowhead Show on WHPT Tampa. “One of our roadies got into a knife fight with their guys, so I hated them ever since.”

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Tyler went on to say that he has grown to like Stanley and Kiss bassist Gene Simmons as individuals -- “beautiful people,” he called them -- but his feelings about their music remains the same.

“A Kiss lick and a Joe Perry lick -- two different worlds,” Tyler said. “And I, sometimes, depending on the time of day, get offended. I hear that and go, ‘It’s all right, but do they really mean it?’ And, ‘What’s this all about?’ And that’s why I think Aerosmith has been around forever. We really do take ourselves seriously.”

Aerosmith guitarist Perry then chimed in: “It’s two different animals. [Kiss] went the theatrical way and used rock ’n’ roll kind of as their soundtrack, and for Aerosmith, the music is our show.”

Tyler also insisted that Aerosmith was “always a band that had something to prove. We always wanted to blow off whatever band it was.” As for that Rockimus Maximus co-headlining tour, he added, “I had a problem with it back then.”

Fast-forward to this week’s edition of Rockline, when host Bob Coburn ran some of those words past the Kiss frontman -- who also brought up their shows with Aerosmith nearly a decade ago.

“Look, I love Steven and Joe, and Aerosmith is a great band,” Stanley said. “Maybe Steven’s feeling a bit full of himself because he’s got an album coming out. The reality is, in 2003, we did a co-headlining tour and everything was 50-50, but Steven wanted very much and insisted that they close the show. I really don’t care, because as far as I am concerned, one way or another you’re going to have to come up on the stage, so you can go on before us or after us. And that being said, he certainly had a chip on his shoulder back then. There is some sort of -- ambivalence or looking down his nose a bit towards Kiss. So I have to say that seeing him go on after us, to play to an underwhelmed audience and see people walking out didn’t feel too bad to me.

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“Well, no matter who you think you are,” he added, “don’t wish for something that may come true.”

Zing!

Anything else, Starchild?

“Make no mistake,” Stanley told Coburn, “I have been doing this as long as he has -- and I take myself every bit as seriously as he does. At the end of the day, I think that the tale got told.”

Now, before the feud hawks get all keyed up and spew their declarations of a Boston-New York rawk war upon a (likely disinterested) social media-sphere, let’s remember one fact: Both cagey-veteran bands have new albums to promote. Kiss’ Monster bowed Oct. 9, and Aerosmith’s Music From Another Dimension arrives on Election Day, Nov. 6. We’re not saying that these longtime self-promoters are staging this bad-blood bath, but either way, expect more punches to be traded.

Final word to Stanley: “When [Aerosmith’s] album comes out, I wish it the best -- and let’s put them both on and let the music do the talking.”

Stay tuned for Round 2.

Twitter: @THRMusic