In an interview with Gibson Guitars, guitar god Zakk Wylde called Aerosmith “as phony as Britney Spears” because they used outside songwriters. That’s a pretty big slap in the face to a pretty big, legendary rock band, but does Zakk have a point? He references bands like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix who didn’t need outside writers, so why does Aerosmith need songwriters? Zakk even brings up a disappointing moment when “professional” song writers were brought in for Ozzy.
I see Zakk’s point. True musicians should be able to write their own music, especially if they’re at the level of Aerosmith. With all those years of experience, why would they need help writing music? Some music elitists would argue that bands who use outside writers aren’t nearly as talented, worthwhile or legitimate. Think about it for a minute…would you consider Britney Spears a REAL artist? Sure, she looks smokin’ hot, she can dance, and she’s got an incredible career, but how many songs has she written all by herself without any help from anyone? Let’s not even mention the fact that I’m not even sure she can really sing. Yes, I catch myself bobbing my head to her tunes when they come on the radio, but I’m not sure I’d be so quick to call her an artist. So if there are all these “artists” out there who sing other people’s songs and make millions and we don’t think that highly of them, then where does Aerosmith fall in this complicated equation?
Aerosmith is one of the greatest rock bands ever. They’ve written incredible music over the years, but are they “phony” because someone helped write some of their songs? I’m not so sure about that. Although I’m not a huge Desmond Child fan (that song he wrote for Vince Neil was AWFUL), he did co-write Angel and that song is amazing. Another favorite Aerosmith tune of mine is Cryin’ which was co-written with Taylor Rhodes. But Aerosmith’s demise was Don’t Want to Miss A Thing. For me that was Aerosmith’s lowest musical point, and that’s probably because they didn’t even write this song; song writing credit goes to Diane Warren (rumor has it the song was originally intended for Celine Dion…Yikes!). I don’t think Aerosmith, or any band for that matter, has any business performing songs that they didn’t at least help write.
Perhaps that’s what Zakk was talking about, that sappy, crappy musical moment where Aerosmith gave in and performed a song that wasn’t theirs; maybe he’s not even talking about songs that were co-written with other people. There are plenty of bands out there who use co-writers. Does that make them any less credible? According to Zakk, “If you can’t write songs you’re just a puppet as phony as Britney Spears and all those boy bands. If you can’t sit behind a piano or pick up a guitar and write a song, then you don’t have any business making records.” What do you think?
And check out the latest post on my blog about my ridiculous night with Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction.