Toxic Twins

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The Toxic Twins performing together in concert.

The Toxic Twins is a nickname given to lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry of American hard rock band Aerosmith. They were given that name in the 1970s, due to their rampant use of drugs both on and off stage, which was a "toxic" combination that almost ended their careers and their lives.

To this day, they are still commonly referred to by this nickname, despite going clean and maintaining sobriety for most of the past 30 years. Their camaraderie can be viewed in several of the band's videos, such as The Making of Pump, Big Ones You Can Look At, and You Gotta Move.

An accomplished songwriting duo, the Toxic Twins are often referred to as the "Tyler/Perry" partnership in songwriting and have written over 85 songs together. In 2013, Tyler and Perry were recipients of the ASCAP Founders Award[1] and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[2]



Often, the Toxic Twins will appear for special performances, appearances, and collaborations, without the other members of Aerosmith. Notable times when this has happened, include:

  • A 1981 Cheap Trick concert at Boston Garden where Tyler and Perry performed with Cheap Trick.
  • A 1986 collaboration with Run D.M.C. for a remake of the Aerosmith song "Walk This Way", which pushed hip hop music into the mainstream, and jumpstarted Aerosmith's career again.
  • The recording of the remake of the song and filming of the video for "Wild Thing" with other rock stars and comedian Sam Kinison in 1988.
  • An appearance at a Bon Jovi concert in 1989 in Milton Keynes, where Tyler and Perry joined Bon Jovi for a performance of "Walk This Way".
  • An appearance at a Guns N' Roses concert in 1992 in Paris where Tyler and Perry performed "Mama Kin" and "Train Kept A-Rollin'" with Guns N' Roses.
  • A 1995 performance with Led Zeppelin at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • An appearance at a Stone Temple Pilots concert in 1996 in New York where Tyler and Perry performed "Sweet Emotion".
  • A 1997 commercial for Gap.
  • A tribute to Bob Marley, "Roots, Rock, Reggae", from the album Chant Down Babylon.
  • An appearance at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards in which Tyler and Perry performed with Kid Rock and Run D.M.C. for a collaboration of "Walk This Way".
  • A collaboration with Mob Story on "Breaking These Chains" on the album A Hip Hopera
  • A 2002 collaboration in which Tyler and Perry guested on Eminem's "Sing for the Moment" which sampled Aerosmith's "Dream On". (Perry recorded a new solo jam)
  • A February 2003 performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City where Tyler and Perry played Slim Harpo's 1957 hit "I'm a King Bee". This performance was captured on Antoine Fuqua's documentary Lightning in a Bottle, where Tyler and Perry were among dozens of musicians who paid tribute to American blues legends of the 20th century.
  • "Let's Get Loud" for the 2003 ESPY Awards with Chuck D, Busta Rhymes, Phife Dawg & Mc Lyte
  • A rendition of "Wild Thing" for a 2004 rugby advertising.
  • A 2006 performance with the Boston Pops Orchestra of the band's hits "Dream On", "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and "Walk This Way" for the orchestra's annual Fourth of July celebration in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • A 2012 performance of their 1978 hit "Chip Away the Stone" with Randy Jackson and members of the house band on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
  • A live episode of American Idol in 2012, where Perry surprised Tyler with a guitar rendition of "Happy Birthday" for Tyler's 64th birthday.
  • A collaboration with Buddy Guy and Brad Whitford on "Evil Twin" in the album Rhythm & Blues of 2013.
  • A rerecord of "Dream On" with the Southern California Children's Chorus as a tribute to victims of the attack in Boston (2014)

Additionally, Tyler and Perry are part of the "Boneyard Boys", a loose collective of musicians which was formed in the late 1990s to include Tyler and Perry and friends Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson who, among others, helped spearhead the songwriting, production, and much of the creative process in Aerosmith. Their rerecording of "Back in the Saddle" appear legally but without their permission in the film Shanghai Noon.


The two used to co-own a restaurant in Norwell, Massachusetts called Mount Blue, of which they have since sold their shares.

Personal life[edit]

  • In the mid-1990s, between the albums Get a Grip and Nine Lives, Tyler and Perry and their families vacationed together in Florida.
  • The Toxic Twins were also notably featured in Ted Nugent's book God, Guns, and Rock 'n' Roll, in which Nugent praises the duo for coming clean and talks about how they came to his ranch in the 1990s to shoot firearms and spend time with him and his family.

Songwriting partnership[edit]

Tyler and Perry are a notable songwriting duo, and have an impressive collection of songs they have written together. Among these are:

Similar musical duos[edit]

The name "Toxic Twins" may have been inspired by one of the duo's main influences, the "Glimmer Twins", the nickname for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Additionally, it may have inspired other musical nicknames, like the "Terror Twins" - Def Leppard's Phil Collen and Steve Clark; and "The Muddy Twins" - Hanoi Rocks' Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy as well as the "Liverpool Twins" John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and the "Jersey Twins" Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee were also known as the Terror Twins.


  • An achievement in the Xbox 360 version of the game Guitar Hero II is titled the "Joe and Steven Award" in tribute to the Toxic Twins. It is awarded to two players who can get a 500-note streak in cooperative mode.
  • In 9: The Last Resort, Tyler and Perry voice a pair of antagonists known as the Toxic Twins.



  1. ^ "Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to Receive ASCAP Founders Award at 30th annual Pop Music Awards". Hollywood Reporter. 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  2. ^ "Steven Tyler and Joe Perry Picked for Songwriters Hall of Fame". Rolling Stone. 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2013-02-23.