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Hard to define US' 'greatest' rockers
By Brian Offenther

WHAT’S the angle of Aerosmith? Do they not have one, and is that detrimental to them?

Rumors around the Shanghai scene say that ticket sales are not meeting expectations. If I was to put my finger on why that is, I think a major factor would be the lack of narrative surrounding “America’s greatest rock band.”

Every band has a story, an image that expands — and confines — how we look at them. The Beatles are the “love” band and The Rolling Stones are their tough guy counterparts; The Who made rock operas and Elton John is the piano man; Dr Dre is the west-coast hip-hop producer, and Metallica is thrash metal.

How does Aerosmith fit in there? Were they among the first American popular bands to be considered an influence on heavy metal? Perhaps. Were they America’s answer to The Rolling Stones in the 1970s? A bit. Did they perfect the power ballad? Possibly.

All these descriptors are true, but they lack a certain ring that bands of their magnitude might possess.

This has been useful for the band and may in part be owed for the band’s longevity. From 1970, to the band’s first resurgence in the mid-1980s, to their final hit streak in the mid-1990s, the band has somewhat maintained an air of being of the moment. Now, though, things might be a little different, with the band in their legacy stage.

Lead singer Steven Tyler was recently a judge on TV show “American Idol,” and the band’s brand is on everything from Disney World roller coasters to Guitar Hero video games. Heaven forbid as a rock band they be considered “old,” but they seem comfortable.

Thankfully, they have one of the best catalogs of any touring rock act, and an acclaimed stage show with one of rock’s most charismatic front-men.

The band quickly established themselves as one of rock’s sleaziest rock bands, with Tyler’s lascivious lyrics and Joe Perry’s slinky lead guitar. The apex was their lone US No. 1 hit, 1998’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” But even without a definitive place in rock history, audiences can go in with high expectations — if they show up in the first place.

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