(Rolling Stone) -- Steven Tyler walked up the driveway to the entrance of the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles like it was a second home.
Surrounded by a large entourage as he was led to the red carpet, Tyler stopped to bare a Cheshire Cat's grin as he looked at the four lovely Playboy Bunnies waiting to pose for pictures with him. The rock star and the equally iconic home that has hosted thousands of parties seemed made for each other, but this was Tyler's first visit ever to the Holmby Hills grounds.
How was that possible that in all the years of Aerosmith's success, the frontman had never been to one of the famous Halloween parties or a Midsummer Night's Dream? "I was too busy in someone's bathroom getting high," Tyler told Rolling Stone. "I was too busy on tour, I was too busy writing songs. We were just busy."
While he had never been to the house that Hef built, Tyler has crossed paths with the famed Lothario, Hugh Hefner. And Tyler is a big fan.
"I love people that are committed to their crimes of passion and he is the gentleman of all time," Tyler told us. "He's been on every man's mind around the world at least a hundred times in their lifetime for what he did. So he signifies the joys of womanhood and not the degradation . . . and even women love Playboy."
What finally brought Tyler to the mansion after more than 40 years in the spotlight was Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp, a program that allows people to live out their rock and roll dreams and spend four intense days training with counselors to play with Tyler or other superstars, such as Kiss' Gene Simmons, who will be the headliner at an upcoming event in Las Vegas from October 10 through 14.
Tyler got involved with the camp last year through Mark Hudson, a counselor in the program who co-wrote Aerosmith's "Livin' On The Edge." "We spoke last year, I was doing a book, and they asked me here and I said I would, and I spoke in front of the whole camp. It's called just being a mentor, if not to incite a riot," he says.
Tyler had a challenge for this week's campers, who joined him on stage at the mansion last night. "I just dared them all to learn an Aerosmith song to see how good they can do it," he says. "If they do it good, which I'm sure they will, I'm gonna pick the best group of them all, we're gonna pick straws and the best one out of that gets to ride around in my car and hear the new Aerosmith album."
When Tyler says, while speaking of the upcoming record, "I'm on fire, as you can tell," he is not exaggerating. Despite being pulled away by several handlers, he doesn't want to stop talking about the new music, which is now in the mixing stages. "It's one of the best Aerosmith albums ever," he says. "I'm one of the worst judges of my own music because I'm very harsh, highly critical. [But] we waited until we had at least four really good songs that were representative and we got 19."
Copyright © 2011 Rolling Stone.