Aerosmith's Steven Tyler returned to the stage Wednesday night for his band's show in Asuncion, Paraguay, after being treated for injuries he suffered in a fall in his hotel the day before. Tyler phoned in to NBC's Today on Thursday morning to talk about the incident, which left the singer with a broken tooth and facial lacerations that included a cut over his eye requiring four stitches to close. While Tyler chatted with host Matt Lauer, photos showing the rock legend with bruises and a missing front tooth were displayed on air.
"It was the second show in South America and it just so happened that I got that…Montezuma's revenge," Tyler explained to Lauer about the accident. "I took a walk with the Incas for 48 hours, I walked in looking like [ballet dancer Mikhail] Baryshnikov and walked out looking like [toothless former heavyweight boxing champ] Leon Spinks."
Recalling specifics about the fall and its aftermath, Tyler said, "I was in the shower and I got nauseous...and I just fell on my face and just passed out and I woke up with the water running on me wondering where the hell I was. And the next thing you know my tour manager was calling the American embassy and we found the best hospital. And it was like one-stop shopping. They stitched up my eye, they did a little plastic surgery and they fixed my tooth, all in one fell swoop."
Taking into account Tyler's well-documented struggles with substance abuse in recent years, Lauer asked him to comment about media speculation that drugs or alcohol may have been a factor in the fall. "I went public with my problems only to address them straight on, so people thinking that is natural and normal," Tyler offered. "We flew last night from Paraguay after that incident and [we've been] in Argentina for two hours. If anybody that knew anybody that used substances, they wouldn't be up the hour after having a talk with Matt Lauer and the rest of America. But it's nothing that I don't understand. I get that people think that. It still bothers me a little but it's something I have to deal with for the rest of my life." Tyler then added that his sobriety was "not the issue" in the fall.
Lauer went on to ask if Tyler's injuries will have any effect on Aerosmith's South American tour. "Short of having my leg taken off, people are going to expect me on the stage no matter what," said Tyler. "I looked at myself in the mirror [after the fall], and I thought, 'You know, I should just go on and do the show tomorrow night and we did. Pulled myself up by my boot heels and went out on stage, wore my sunglasses for the first song, took them off and the crowd roared, because they knew that I had fallen down and I just figured, it's all about playing to the people…And we rocked…Not only did I break my face but the next night we broke the house record. So life is beautiful." Tyler concluded the interview by exclaiming, "You can't handle the tooth!" -- a take on the iconic Jack Nicholson line from the film A Few Good Men.
Aerosmith's next concert is scheduled to take place Friday in La Plata, Argentina.
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