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Aerosmith's Steven Tyler drops by former Allston home two days before special concert there

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  November 3, 2012 06:55 PM

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(Matt Rocheleau for Boston.com)

Across the street from 1325 Commonwealth Ave. is a sign that Aerosmith band members wrote in a book they would see when they walked out the front door of their apartment building during the early 1970s. That "Bottled Liquors" display is still there. A message was added there this weekend in anticipation of the band's return Monday.

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler made an impromptu stop Saturday morning at the Allston apartment building he and his band mates lived in when they started their journey to become one of the most successful rock bands ever, according to one of the rental property’s owners.

Tyler’s visit came two days before he and the rest of Aerosmith plan to perform a free concert outside of 1325 Commonwealth Ave. The band announced on its website Saturday that the event will be aired live on television channel AXS TV, formerly called HDNet. It will also be streamed live online on the rockers’ official website, aerosmith.com.

During an about 10-minute visit, Tyler spoke to maintenance staff there who let him in to look around the basement where his group used to practice, according to Boston landlord Earl N. Henry, one of two men who co-owns all but one of the building’s 21 units.

The landlord said Tyler did not go to any other part of the six-floor building. Henry said he heard about the visit from maintenance workers but was not there himself and did not know more about Tyler’s brief appearance.

“They recognized him but I don’t know what was said,” said Henry on Saturday evening. “They certainly got a little surprise this morning.”

For two years starting in 1970, the members of Aerosmith are believed to have lived in unit 31, according to Henry.

He said that third-floor apartment overlooking Commonwealth Avenue is currently occupied by young people who he believes are graduate students or working professionals.

“They’re quite excited,” Henry said. “I think they had known, but when they moved in we told them.”

Kevin Lehrer, who co-owns the 20 units with Henry, said Friday that there is also speculation that the apartment the band lived in was unit 41.

Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer are scheduled to perform a concert Monday at noon outside of the building, prompting temporary street closures, parking bans and a rerouting of MBTA service on the B branch. A plaque commemorating the band’s time there will also be dedicated at the building.

“We’re excited. I would imagine it’s going to be crowded,” said Henry. “Aerosmith got their start in the building. We’re excited it’s going to become a permanent part of Boston’s history.”

He said he even does not know all of the details for Monday’s show. He said band members are expected to have their handprints memorialized on the sidewalk out front, but he expects that will happen at a later date than Monday.

“A lot of my friends are asking for backstage passes. I don’t even have mine,” Henry said.

The announcement of the free, outdoor show’s location was supposed to be a secret that was originally scheduled to be unveiled Monday morning. But news leaked out Friday morning, sparking a mix of excitement and concern throughout the neighborhood.

“I’m going to assume that was not part of the plan,” Henry said. “The city asked us not to say too, too much, but obviously the cat is out of the bag now.”

He said he and his business partner were contacted by the city in August 2011 when they bought their 20 units for $4.2 million. At that point, planning for some sort of event to recognize Aerosmith’s former residence was already underway, Henry said.

“We weren’t aware of the concert until more recently,” he said.

Lehrer said Friday that planning had been going on for about three years and that last-minute touch ups were being made to the property this weekend.

Henry said the city recently helped the landlords remove graffiti from the building.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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