Many were surprised when Steven Tyler announced his decision to record a country album. But according to the singer, the public's reaction doesn't compare to Aerosmith's. In a new interview, he defends the decision by saying that he's entitled to step outside the band once in a while.

"I'm sure they're not happy," he told Rolling Stone. "But Joe [Perry] has done five solo albums. I just thought, 'Hey, it's my turn in the barrel.' This is a side project, which has now turned into a love of life. I think we got something here that the radio would love to play. Look, that's why I'm in it. I love to take the f---ing power to wow to the 100th degree. It's just what I do."

Despite that, Tyler says Aerosmith are getting along "[b]etter than ever. There's always the past, but we try and keep the past out of it. When Joe gets up in my s--- about something, I say, 'Don't squat with your spurs on.' It's a band, and it's a family. I'll do it until I come screeching to a halt, all broken and battered and can't stand up anymore. I'll scream, 'Yee-haw, what a ride!'"

Tyler, who calls country "the new rock n' roll," released the first single "Love Is Your Name" a month ago, and it debuted at No. 33 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. He hasn't completed the album, however, which is something he plans to do once Aerosmith finish their summer tour, which begins tomorrow (June 13) in Glendale, Ariz. But don't expect Tyler's newfound interest in country to affect the band's arrangements of their classic material. As he says, "'Walk This Way' with banjo is ridiculous."

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