Plenty of bands have replaced their lead singers and come out the other side as a better unit. From Phil Collins in Genesis to Brian Johnson in AC/DC, a number of legendary rock vocalists have proven that a different frontman doesn’t mean the end of the band as we know it. At one point, Aerosmith was in a very similar position when vocalist Steven Tyler decided to take a break from the band to star on a different type of stage. When that happened, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford knew they needed to find a replacement.
Ever since Aerosmith’s start in 1970, the members have been fairly consistent. Save for a couple of years when the band had a couple of different guitarists, it seemed the members and fans agreed that the chemistry between the five men had on stage and in the recording studio was just right.
From hits like “Love in an Elevator,” “Back in the Saddle” and the popularly covered “Don’t Wanna Miss Thing,” Aerosmith never seemed to strike a bad chord. So when Steven Tyler decided to join Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson on American Idol, no one wanted to believe that the era of Aerosmith was over.
According to Joe Perry, though, this was never an option. In fact, the band’s founding member and lead guitarist was willing to find a new frontman for their music to continue. His first pick was the legendary rockstar, Sammy Hagar.
Aerosmith’s Lead Guitarist Considers Sammy Hagar as New Frontman
Sammy Hagar himself is no stranger to switching band members. Known as “The Red Rocker,” Hagar found his spot in the limelight at the same time as Aerosmith in the 70s with his own band, Montrose. Later, in 1985, the singer behind “I Can’t Drive 55” replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen after the frontman quit on the band.
Hagar continued to play with Van Halen until 1996, evidently proving to be an equally popular vocalist. With how easily Hagar blended into a new band, it’s no wonder Joe Perry considered him for the Steven Tyler’s role.
“I’m not sure how it got out there, but Sam I know as a really mellow guy, easy to get along with. And he definitely had the pipes so I can see why that idea had been floated,” Perry shared with Ultimate Classic Rock.
Ultimately, though, the merger never happened. Tyler reportedly was going to be a judge on American Idol for four years. However, the Aerosmith vocalist called it quits after just two. He returned to his familiar place at the front of the stage shortly after, and the search for a new frontman ended.
For Hagar, that was just as well.
“I think if I would have done both those things [joining Van Halen and Aerosmith], I would have been the guy that replaced the guy,” Hagar said.
And among the original Aerosmith members, no bad blood ever brewed from the short-lived hunt for a replacement.
“It was really another one of those times, you don’t keep a band together without a lot of bumps … You know every band has its ups and downs,” Perry explained.