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By Sue Zeidler
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After 40 years with one of the biggest rock bands in the United States, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry are finally being honoured for their songwriting.
The duo, dubbed the Toxic Twins in their drug-fuelled early years, co-wrote many of the bands' biggest hits like "Walk This Way" and "Back in the Saddle," which catapulted Aerosmith to fame in the mid-1970s.
After winning multiple Grammys and other accolades, Tyler and Perry will be honoured on Wednesday with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers founders award for songwriting. They will be also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 13.
Tyler and Perry will miss the ASCAP ceremony because they will be on the Australian leg of the band's "Global Warming" world tour in support of their first album of new material since 2001.
The duo told Reuters ahead of Wednesday's ceremony that they draw much of their inspiration from each other, although Perry admits the process may be a bit tamer than in the 1970s and 1980s when he and Tyler turned out some big hits while under the influence of drugs.
"Taking drugs can be a shortcut to that place of creativity, but it will kill you in the end because it stops working," Perry said.
"We had to figure out how to change the way we did things," said Perry, 62, who is working on an autobiography and a solo record project.
Tyler, the son of a classical pianist, formed Aerosmith in Boston in 1970 after meeting Perry and bass player Tom Hamilton a year earlier.
They signed a record deal in 1971 and what followed were four often tumultuous decades filled with thousands of concerts, band break-ups, well-chronicled bouts of drug abuse, glorious comebacks and sales of more than 150 million albums worldwide.
"We all just get together in a room and inspire each other," said Tyler, 65, who at 17 wrote the signature Aerosmith hit, "Dream On," before meeting his future band members.
"The secret is to overwrite. I like to write 19 songs if I only need 12," said Tyler, who quit last year after two seasons as a judge on "American Idol" to refocus on Aerosmith.
Asked how his writing methods have changed over the years, Perry said he now loves composing songs with the help of his smartphone recording device.
"Bottom line, I always have a studio with me. It's called an iPhone," said Perry.
He said he also likes to have a guitar in every room of his home in case inspiration strikes, often pausing the TV while watching late at night to lay down a new musical phrase or riff that comes into his head.
"I just feel like that there are too many rhythms that haven't been explored in my head. Even in the narrow confines of rock 'n' roll, there's an infinite amount of places to go," Perry said.
Tyler said he has a lot of new material to work on, including some songs he began but did not complete for the band's November release "Music from Another Dimension."
"I have 30 thumbnail sketches I haven't finished, including four without any lyrics," Tyler said.
(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Mohammad Zargham)