That Time Steven Tyler Whispered in My Ear
Okay get your mind out of the gutter kids! I was working on Aerosmith’s Cryin video circa 1993. The part of the video in the church, not the Alicia Silverstone part which is a bummer because surely I could have conjured a story out of that experience. I’m not sure why, nor did I care because of course a gig is a gig but for some reason we were shooting in a church in Fall River, Massachusetts. Now music video shoots are of the shop til you drop variety. In other words, you go and go and go until you get everything you need. In one fell swoop. This shoot lasted I’m gonna say, around 27 hours. In a row. I wonder if they still do that? I doubt it. I do believe it was on this job where the Assistant Camera guy told me that back in the early days of making music videos the companies were so fly by night and notorious for not paying the crew that at the end of the job the camera assistants would sit at one end of the table, the producer at the other. The producer would slide over a stack of cash, the camera assistant would slide over a can of film. On and on it went until the crew had their money and the producer had their film shoot in its entirety. I’m not sure if this is true but hey it makes for a great story and I tended to believe this AC.
So I’m a PA for the job which means I did many things. I drove people around. I helped unload the gear. I did the craft service. All the basic stuff. Now craft service is one of the best perks of working on film sets. It’s essentially a table full of food and drinks. Stocked. For the entire time people are on set. Of course for this job the band had their own table so it was my job to set it up. So I unload the groceries and start carrying the bags into the room in the basement of the church that had been set aside for Aerosmith’s craft service area. I’m not paying attention, I’m not looking around. I’m just trying to load in and start setting up before the talent got there. So I go barreling into the room, drop the bags and turn around. There was a couch across the way. And on that couch was Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Just sitting there. Juuuust sitting there…. Oh. They’re already here. Okay Carla. Don’t freak out. You are a professional here to do a job. Just pretend these are not the Bad Boys From Boston. Just pretend you didn’t listen to “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits” a million trillion times in high school. Just back away from the rock stars. But of course you all know me by now and back away is not exactly what I did. “Hello.” “Hi!’ said Steven Tyler. I think he may have said more than that but I was too focused on Joe Perry looking me up and down and his lady friend possessively throwing her arm around his neck while looking like she was about to kick my ass. Hey, don’t blame me lady! Besides, haven’t we already covered this?
Okay, just focus. Just put the damn organic apples on the table. PS. Do you know how hard it was to find organic apples in 1993?!!! But that’s what the band wanted so that’s what the band got. They were long past the days of being the Toxic Twins and apparently healthy eating was their new way of living. So I turn around and start busying myself at the table. I always liked to make things look nice regardless of who it was for. I’m into presentation I guess. I was folding the napkins and arranging them just so when all of a sudden I felt a hand on each shoulder, a person up against me and a voice low in my ear say “Are you counting all those napkins for us?” GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY! Steven Tyler is all up in my business!!! Of course I wasn’t counting the napkins! Geez Louise can’t a girl just work a gig and take home a paycheck around here? Holy crap, it’s Steven Tyler! What do I say? What do I do? Is this really happening? How can this be happening? All this rushed through my mind in about a half of second before I simply said “Yup.”
Yup? YUP?!!! *That’s* how you responded to Steven Tyler? Geeeeez. Oh, and I giggled. Never in my life have I been so mortified on a film set! Well, actually, that’s not true. I once completely and totally accidentally embarrassed myself in front of Blair Underwood but that’s another story. (And yes, he is THAT handsome in real life.) I don’t even remember what happened next. All I know is I got the rest of that organic stuff set up and high tailed it out of there. I’m fairly certain I got another PA to do craft service for the rest of the day. There was no way I was going back in there! To Steven Tyler I was just another giggly girl. To me, I had walked the exciting edge of getting up close and personal with a super famous person in my workplace. I have always considered myself to be the utmost professional but on that day, I came this close to crossing that line. I didn’t thank God, but it was close! Overall it was a really fun shoot and it tickles me to this day whenever I see that video. Oh yeah, I think. That’s the day I turned into a giggly fangirl in front of a major rock star and lived to tell the tale!