By Rick Coates
Aerosmith is on a touring hiatus as frontman Steven Tyler has taken on
a judgeship with American Idol. Theres no word on the rock legends
camp if they will tour this year, but no worries; there is always
Aeromyth. One must look and listen closely when at an Aeromyth concert
as this tribute band has the sights and sounds down.
They will perform Saturday, January 22 at the Little River Casino in
Manistee. Look for Aeromyth to perform all the Aerosmith classics from
Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way, Dude Looks Like a Lady, Toys,
Jaded and more.
The band is fronted by Chris Van Dahl. If that name sounds familiar,
its because Van Dahl, originally from Detroit, was a former lead
singer with the L.A. Guns (the band that morphed into Guns N Roses).
He also spent some time living in Traverse City where he set up a
recording studio and fronted Kenny Olsons first band project, Pack of
Wolves, after the guitarist departed Kid Rocks Twisted Brown Trucker
When Pack of Wolves came up short of expectations, Van Dahl headed to
Austin in search of new musical opportunities, but his likeness to
Steven Tyler brought another opportunity.
Ironically the calls started coming when I still lived in Traverse
and was doing Wolves with Kenny Olson, said Van Dahl. Neal Shelton
(who performs as Aerosmith rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford) in Aeromyth
got my number from a mutual friend and started hounding me about the
band which was called Pump back then. The funny thing is I laughed
because I was 3,000 miles away and Id been trying to escape the Tyler
comparisons my whole life.
Long story short, I guess it was meant to be because Neal never gave
up and I eventually made my way back to Cali which is where the band
Aeromyth with Van Dahl fronting the band is now considered the number
one Aerosmith tribute band in the world and are in demand playing
concert venues, casinos, festivals, motorcycle rallies, nightclubs,
private events, and cruise ships around the world. They have also
found themselves popular with the celebrities.
I love these guys, said Dave Navarro (Janes Addiction vocalist).
When I hear them, it sounds like I am listening to an Aerosmith
Aeromyths mastermind is Neal Shelton. Shelton manages and books
several tribute bands and also performs in Pyromania, a Def Leppard
I started this Aerosmith Tribute 10 years ago and I had a different
singer when we began. He was very good, but nothing like Chris. The
original singer had to leave the band due to personal reasons about
six years ago, said Shelton. So I was on the hunt for a new Steven
Tyler, and a customer of my music store referred me to Chris Van Dahl.
I was told to look at his MySpace page, and when I did, I couldnt
believe what I saw. Chris has an amazing likeness to Steven Tyler, and
what a performer he turned out to be.
For Van Dahl, who continues to pursue several projects in the music
industry, his likeness to Steven Tyler has opened many doors. Jay Leno
saw Van Dahl walking down the street one day and had him sing on the
Tonight Show and Aeromyth has made several TV appearances, including
most recently on Regis and Kelly along with Entertainment Weekly. But
meeting Joe Perry and Steven Tyler have been the highlights to date.
Ive met both Steven and Joe at separate times. Steven tripped hard
and went back into rehab the day after we met. Coincidence? But we
hit it off and while he didnt personally say anything to me about
what he thought of the band, he has commented to others that he feels
we have them down back when he was 27. When I met Joe Perry, he gave
me a dirty look when his security opened the gate and let me in. I
pointed to my face and said, hey its not my fault. He laughed hard
and we were cool from that point forward.
Shelton sees the success in Aeromyth and the other tribute bands he
represents as a result in a shift in the industry and the aging rock
I think it really comes down to supply and demand. For example, you
just cant see or book Led Zeppelin anymore, but you can see and book
Led Zepagain, said Shelton. Tribute bands are great entertainment at
a very reasonable price. Compared to ticket prices to see the original
bands costing hundreds of dollars that often dont have all the
original members, you can go see a quality tribute band at a fraction
of the cost.
Some of the better tribute bands feature musicians that have performed
in national acts.
Recently Aeromyth joined Led Zeppagain in Las Vegas and sold 35,000
tickets at $20 a piece.
The critics have raved about Aeromyth, not only in that all the band
members look like those in Aerosmith, but they sound and act like them
So does Van Dahl study Tylers flamboyant stage presence?
I think Aeromyth works so well not because I study Tyler so much as
because its not such a stretch for me to do what I do. For me it is
the more the attention to all details. Everything from from the
buttons on a jacket to which guitars are being played through which
amps, said Van Dahl. We work really hard to recreate the entire
experience for the people coming to our concerts and that makes it
about so much more than just one guy that looks like the singer. The
entire band is eerily similar but its all by design.
For Van Dahl this will be his first visit back to the region since
leaving in 2005.
I have a lot of friends in the area still, so I am excited to get
back and get caught up with everyone. Hopefully it will not be so long
the next time.
To hear and see the work of Aeromyth check out Aerosmithtribute.com.
Aeromyth will perform this Saturday night at the Little River Casino
in Manistee. Tickets are available online at
www.littlerivercasinos.com or by calling Star Tickets plus at