One Saturday morning in the summer of 1975 I awoke in the one-room apartment on New York’s Westside of my friend Karen who worked for a booking agency whose clients included Aerosmith. We’d been out together the night before and wound up there, and in the morning were woken by the doorbell, so she climbed out of bed, put on a bathrobe and spoke to whoever was outside on the street. A moment later she put down the entry-phone and turned to me.
“It’s Steven,” she said. “He’s coming up.”
“Steven who?” I asked, sitting up in bed. I hadn’t a stitch on. My clothes were strewn around the floor, as were hers.
“Tyler. He’s been recording all night and needs a bed.”
“Doesn’t he have a hotel?”
“Yes, but he’d rather sleep here, with me.”
“I don’t blame him. Are you and him er… ?”
“Not really. He just stays here sometimes.”
There was a knock on the door and Karen let Steven Tyler in. He was young then, and very eye-catching in a stylish, Jaggeresque, rock-star sort of way, all mouth and hair, sunglasses and silk scarves, and pencil-thin in tight black jeans and red velvet jacket. Before he could say anything Karen said, “Hi Steve. This is Chris. He works for Melody Maker, the English music paper.”
“Hello Steve,” I called from across the apartment. Steve looked quizzically at Karen and then at me in her bed, and seemed stuck for words. Eventually he said: “Karen, I need to use your bathroom.”
He went into Karen’s bathroom – can’t think why – and locked the door.
“Do you want me to go?” I asked, quietly, so that Steve wouldn’t hear.
“Not really,” she replied. “It’s up to you.”
Karen was making coffee when Steve came out of the bathroom, rubbing his nose – can’t think why. He took in that we were both now half-dressed and sat down at the dining table opposite me. We grinned at one another but didn't speak. It was pretty obvious he wasn’t too delighted to find me here, any more than I was delighted at his arrival. I also got the impression that Karen wasn’t really in the mood to entertain him either, not at 9am on a Saturday anyway.
We drank our coffee and made small talk. I can’t remember contributing much to the conversation, only that I was determined to sit it out and not abandon my position, not in these circumstances.
As lead singer with the then rapidly up-and–coming Aerosmith, Steve Tyler was obviously more than a match for me in the pulling stakes, but I was here first and was unwilling to relinquish Karen to him, especially as she seemed fairly indifferent to his charms. About 20 minutes went by before Steve realised I was definitely staying put and lost his patience, so he rose to his feet, a bit reluctantly I think, thanked Karen for the coffee and headed for the door.
“See you ‘round man,” he said in my direction.
“Bye Steve,” I murmured, probably a bit smugly.
Karen walked across the room with him. At the door he pecked her on the cheek, opened it and stepped out. She closed it quietly behind him.
“Thank you for staying,” she said.
I never met Steve Tyler again.
A very bizarre encounter indeed.... So glad you stupid your ground for Queen and country!
Riveting encounter and narration, Chris Charlesworth. I cannot believe that I am only the second commenter since 2013 or 10 years!
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