Number 55 – “Rant and Rage”

Aerosmith Performs On NBC's "Today"

Bad to the bone ain’t worth a fuck
If you’re alone because you suck

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. I did not lie, and these allegations are false’
-Bill Clinton

Steven says; “Nine Lives was my rant, my rage”. He  also said that; “’Hole in my Soul’ puts into perspective, what it means to get laid somewhere else, besides where you should have, and how will kick back on you” “it’s often not what’s been said, but how you lived it”. He’s trying to tell the reader, that he truly sees a huge difference between “fucking, and sex”, between “making love” and “sex”. Sure ‘most’ men and women will SAY they see a difference… until the scenario enters their home. Then it’s as if all these worldly conversations never took place, men and women both. The reality is, that if you’re the one who sees a difference, where others don’t, the effects of what you just done, come down on somebody else… Truth!

”Number 56 was written by Steven, and Joe, and Glen Ballard, as were most of the songs on Nine Lives before Joe just got fed up with Glen, and booted him. The song was originally released as the first the single off the record in ’97. One those very “Aerosmith” rockin’ tunes without the metal… It has that hard-smooth, but thumping bass line, and hard hitting cans, along with a very up tempo track , which gives it mass appeal. It has a lot of the ‘GAG’ type resonance. The horns arrangement, which was actually written by Steven and David Campbell, partner perfectly with Joe’s very tight lead solos, and Tom’s bass line.

Funny where songs come from sometimes… It could be a hunch-backed Marty Feldman, or spilt milk, or in this case, a bumper sticker Steven saw a few years earlier… Then to pull such an iconic verse as; “But you like the way I hold the microphone”, from a 32 year old song of an earlier idol of his own.  I still like the way Steven delivers it a bit better than Mick did, but I also love the steal.

I never really got the sub meaning/parody of the video being set in a strange Warehouse/Mansion/’Sub’- Hospital basement. I always thought it was a bit more like; “Well ya’ just can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but from what I’ve read, I guess it was some kind of surreal landscape in order to parody the grunge video craze at the time. Interesting how they were able to remain almost alone as a Good ol’ American Rock N Roll Band, while Grunge was at the top of American music scene. But let’s be real, we weren’t really paying attention to the structures in the scenes as much as the characters and the ‘roles’ they were playing, along with the band of course…

“You’re so bad,
You’re so bad,
You’re so bad…”

American rock n roll fans loved this one from the start! It had everything Aerosmith! That deliberate ‘Love/Sex/Fuck Mess” that the boys deliver so well. The song shows the songwriting genius of Steven & Joe, with perfect melodies, to drive home a tension of submission to love. There’s a very old saying, which is at the core of this song, and although lyrical genius that Steven is, he stretches the boundaries of that saying, and the Director of the video stretches it even further with some Crazy-Ass Dominatrix visuals, with the essence of the message saying; “Wow!….the things we do for love…”

The song reached number one on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Charts kicking off the Wallflowers one-hit “One Headlight” and remained at the top for 5 weeks. Later knocked down by Collective Soul’s “Precious Declaration”, you can see that it truly was an awesome song, with what else was being done by other artists at the time. There was some good stuff goin’ on in ’97. It also reached number one on Spain’s Top 100 list, and number 2 in Canada… Wonder what those Spaniards and Canadians are into? Then of course receiving another MTV Best Rock Video Award.

Back to Bill Clinton, and Steven’s “Rant and Rage”… writes an interesting take, and although I don’t totally disagree with it, I really believe it might have a different meaning… But what do I know, I’m just a fan… says:

“This song is about a guy who finds himself constantly being used by women for oral sex. Steven Tyler often writes playfully sexual lyrics where the woman is in control (see “WTW”), and this is a great example. Our hero gets emotionally involved with these girls, but they just want one thing, and it “ain’t one of these.” If fact, these women don’t even need a man for this, so he’s fighting an uphill battle.”

Personally, and again this is just me, always going a bit deeper than necessary, given what I know from “DTMIMHBY“, and his reasons behind ‘Hole in my Soul’, I think this is another part of the argument with Teresa, and more of the problems of a relationship with Steven Tyler, a marriage with a man that is worshipped sexually by 1000’s upon 1000’s of women, a relationship with a man that sees many women as “fucks”, not necessarily women. I mean he sees them as women, but not as people that will have impact, any meaning in his life other than a party in the bedroom… Those women, truly being honored to be nothing more than that… a “fuck”. I think this is the beginning of the end of this marriage.

She wants something more from him. He’s giving her everything he is, everything he’s got!… He just gives some out to others also… He’s got a lot to give. But it’s certainly not love he’s giving out. It’s a very complex lyrical arrangement of saying; “I truly love you, doesn’t that count for something? Who the fuck cares if I’m doing this, or doing her?” But the hardest part is that while she’s the one suffering, he’s the one that fell deeper than maybe he ever thought he could or would, and tries to play it off as if she’s just like all the rest, and he’s the one hurting. But it’s all a battle of; “you knew who I was when we met, and yet you want me to change now?!?!”; Let’s get’choo on a tighter leash”…. It has all the cross words; she wants the hardcore that he gives on the road to others, but he doesn’t see her in that light, she in turn tells him; “he ain’t as good as he thinks”… It even has Teresa’s reactions to his too often request of a threesome with her twin sister Lisa.  In his book, he says he wrote a song about Teresa called “When Push comes to Shove”, but we all know that’s just Steven talking about pain association with Cyrinda, after meeting Teresa in ’78. In know it’s my opinion, but I think this one hits home.

The song has some mixed messages, but even so, I think with Steven’s quote above  ; “Nine Lives was my rant, my rage”, and what he has shared with us in his biography, not only about his life, his desires, temptations, and addictions, along with the time period and who and what was involved. Teresa’s growing impatience. Her growing discontent of Steven, comparing him with Joe being home with Billie because Joe’s parts are done, while Steven stays away writing. All the sexcapades in between, and then… then finally, although many years later, Teresa turns the tables. Steven writes in his book…. he won’t come straight out and tell anyone that Teresa was “The One”, because that would make him small. He will never admit that it was Teresa, more than Bebe’, more than Cyrinda, but he does write… You just have to read  between the lines;

“I feel the vertigo of being alone. I’ll be working a room, talking and joking, telling stories-they’re looking at me, and what they see is ST the entity. I began to think of myself in the third person-which is kind of existential hell. And everyone I know said the same thing, except the one person that I wanted to say it to me, and she left me… So it’s really lonely being who the fuck I am.”

Steven is a very deep dude, but loves to have shallow fun. I love this about he and Joe’s writing. They are able to take something really deep, maybe even painful, and just throw it out there, crank it up, and have some fun with it. It’s a way of coping as we all do in life. We just make the best of the situation we have. So, as the lyrics paint a picture of a pretty fucked up relationship, they also take you down a road of intrigue, and the music takes you up, higher…

Listen to Joe… listen to Joey give the emphasis on the argument, let this one simmer, let it boil…. DON’T put a lid on it!

One of my most favorite lyrics ever written, I use it a lot. But the more I hear it, the more I read it, the meaning is exactly what it says, it’s not a synanom for “truck” at all, it truly means he was hit by a “fuck”…

“Chip off the old block
Man you’re so much like your sister
My fantasize it must be outta luck
My old libido has been
Blowin’ a transistor
I feel like I have been hit by a fuck

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I am a man of simple means. My family is what's important to me. My family and my 3 girls mean more to than the sun! If you ask me what I think, I will tell you straight! So don't ask if you don't wanna know. I like people who are real and don't like those who aren't. You'll know where you fit with me pretty quick. I give most everyone the benefit of the doubt, at least until they prove me wrong. I've lived most my life like there was no tomorrow, at least until my daughters were born, and then even a bit after. By the way; That is NOT good advice... just a statement. I don't believe in "Halfway" Why put on the skis if you're not gonna at least try the face? But I also believe that there is more than Black and White. I believe in where I came from, I don't believe what I went through was ALL worth it! I believe in doing the right thing, more than doing what's right! I believe in "true" friendship, I also know that 99% of them aren't true. I will live a happy life and die a complete man if my kids learn from my mistakes.