Hey baby, belly up to the bar and have a beer, Tell you a little story… Make you wanna scream and shout…
Who to believe?
Maybe it’s our choice
The start of something new?
I think it was met with a lot of trepidation, distrust and even at some point, a little anger. But when a man like John Kalodner is directed by the “Label: to take control, and “make this band a success”, Steven and Joe had to suck it up, bite their lips, stick out their hands for a shake and say; “Hey Mr. Child, good to meet ya”
So here he is, the guy that gave KISS… maybe the most over rated band in Rock history… well, wait then that might have been Foreigner, or maybe it was Boston…. Wait!!! Tangent, what was my point???
So yeah… So this is Desmond Child, the “Dude” who helped KISS get a real hit with “I Was Made For Loving You” (It was a bad year for hits)… But he also helped JBJ with breakout smash hits like “You Give Love A Bad Name” and “Living on Prayer”… Did someone say over rated?
Okay, Okay, back to the song here. You got the “Legendary” duo who had never written with an outsider before. I think to most anyone that’s gonna’ be a little… what?… intimidating, to say the least? ESPECIALLY with personas like Joe Perry’s and Steven Tyler’s. How do you prepare for a meet like that?
Desmond remembers it this way; “They had never written with an outside writer, and they were not happy to see me. They were going along with it to please John, but they were NOT that happy about it. Can you say “Toxic Twins”?
Steven, as is his way, tried to extend the olive branch first, and shared some things they were working on. And as proud as Steven is, he shows him the title of what they’re doing; ‘Cruisin’ for the Ladies.’ Now just put yourself in the room. A fly on the wall, if you will.
- DWM was a complete Failure! (and that was their 2nd chance after GYWs
- These guys don’t want to work with outsiders
- These guys are Legendary for infighting, let alone someone new!
What does Desmond say when he hears Steven sing the lyric ‘Cruisin’ for the Ladies.’???
Do you have a knife sharp to cut through that kind of tension? But hand to the “Hit Maker”, he’s got some “Big Ones”… Desmond looks at Steven, who is of course proud as a peacock and says…. ‘You know what, that’s a very boring title!’
The looks Steven and Joe gave Desmond were like, “Who The Fuck Are You?!?!” And then like so many good stories go, the thing that was left out, gets left in…
Steven, almost embarrassingly says to Desmond how this ‘’Cruisin’ for the Ladies’ originally came about. He told Desmond that it originally started out as ‘Dude Looks like a Lady’. With a little bit of ‘Scat’, a little bit of ‘Rat’, and little bit of ‘A Tat’. Then he told him where the idea came from…
True Rock legend and lore with a humorous twist! Steven’s version, as he told Desmond; He got the idea when the guys went to a bar and saw this “Hot” chick at the end of the bar with that big 80s hair. Some of you know what I’m talking about… Shit! Some of you were that girl at the end of the bar with the Giant 80s hair!… But this chick, wasn’t a chick. Not only was “He” not a she, but “He” was the one and only Vince Neil! Too frickin’ funny! Then in true Aerosmith lore; they actually started mocking Vince, saying; “That dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady.’
So with that Desmond says; “Okay, that’s the title of our song! Let’s do this!” The collaboration reached #14 on the Hot 100, which is a damn good thing for a 3rd chance!
By the way; Vince Neil tells a different version, and so does Joe…
Joe’s version from an interview with Songfacts is that they were fooling around with a “sampler”, which was kind of a brand new thing. He says he was playin’ around with it so they found a sound and used it. The opening in the song is his guitar being truncated. He also says he was looking for a kind “AC/DC” type thing, and it just grew from there. He acknowledges that it didn’t quite resemble anything from AC/DC, but says they were definitely an inspiration. He does admit though that Steven had most of the lyrics done and Desmond came in and helped finished it up, by changing the story enough so that Steven could make a hit out of it…
When Joe was asked if he ever saw the guy who inspired it, his response was very different from the Motley Crue story. His remembrances go back to his time with Judy Carne. Talking about Judy’s “Make-Up Girl” not actually being a girl… “She was a He”. He talked about how an owner of one of the clubs they would go to, would pool bets on which “Dude” would pick her/him up 1st. He says;
“I know Steven talks about seeing Motley Crue wearing lipstick and stuff like that, but for my own self, I remember this woman that was a brilliant man, at least physically. I mean, there was no doubt that she was a woman, the way she carried herself and everything. She was actually Judy’s best friend. So anyway, I could immediately relate to the song, to the lyrics. But Steven didn’t know her, so he was drawing on another experience.”
The video was as provocative as it gets for 1988, always pushing the edge, with Steven looking like a pretty “Hot Chick” himself, and then the real hot chicks showing us what would start a wave of Tats the world had never before seen. The video also started Aerosmith on a meteoric rise to video success, with a nomination for an MTV award. This was success without Run DMC, This was Aerosmith! “Good Evening People Welcome to the Show!”
A few other things that are important to note, and it all seems so long ago now, but this was a time when the LGBT community was being chastised and threatened everyday from main stream America. This was a time heavy in sorrow and confusion and ignorance and blame over the AIDS epidemic. But the band was secure enough with themselves to want to sing about sex with a “Dude who looks like a lady”….
Joe was concerned though. As much as they liked the song they didn’t want to offend the LGBT community. He had some deep reservations, knowing it was a hit, but not wanting an apparent success in the waiting, get in the way of proper respect. Desmond said; “Look Joe… I’m gay, and this song is awesome! I’m not offended”
As fun, and funny, and clever, and sexy as the song was, I bet most never saw it as a deep and daring song. Maybe because it was never meant to be, but wasn’t it though? It started out as mockery of a Glam Rock Dude, then it took on a life of its own. This song was daring for the time it was in. It could have been looked at as though they were making fun of that lifestyle, or it could’ve of been a battle cry for transgenders everywhere, but instead… it was just accepted, and loved. And that’s a pretty cool thing.
“So never judge a book by its cover
Or who you gonna love by your lover
Said… love put me wise to her love in disguise
She had the body of a Venus
Lord imagine my surprise…”