Steven Tyler‘s been a rock star in his own right for over more than decades. Now the New York native, 62, is at the forefront of pop culture as American Idol judge with Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. We chatted with the Aerosmith frontman on a conference call about his latest gig:What were some concerns you had about “AI”? None whatsoever. I got such an identity with this band, and for all the videos that I’ve done I figured it’d be a shoe-in. The part that’s a little difficult is judging young kids . . . being honest and open. I’ve grown accustomed to it, and it’s fun, and I get to sit next to J.Lo and Randy taking the you know what out of everybody. What is your judging process? I don’t take whatever happened to me this morning or last night or with the band or with exes, I don’t take that into judging kids like some other people might have. I’m not going in there to be a harsh judge or an overbearing judge. I’m just bringing my Italian how to work a room, Aunt Phyllis honesty. You have one year sober. Do you have a new outlook on life? You know what? I’ve got no regrets. Everything that came my way has cut me into what I am today, and what I am today is a grateful, recovering drug addict/alcoholic. I’m not without my faults and my marks and my scars. I’m proud of them. Look, I’m always ready to take it up a notch. But now I’m addicted to adrenalin. Do you feel adding someone of your stature gives the show an extra layer of credibility it might not have had before? I like to think so. It’s interesting; I was just saying I’m not bringing some grumpiness or something in my life that’s not been good. I’m not bringing that to the table and letting that cloak my judging of these kids. I’m taking what they give me, cutting it up in three different pieces: One is can they sing? Are they in pitch? Two, do they have character? Three, do they have a star quality about them? Kind of folding that all into one but that would be my expertise, and J.Lo’s got her own singing style. Where do you see yourself ending up? Someday I’ll have my own show . . . a different type of Survivor. It’ll be called Message in a Bottle. They’ll put me in a giant bottle and see what shore I land on. Then I’ll marry the person and we’ll see what kind of kids look like. I don’t know, but I’m ready for anything. — MADELEINE MARR
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