Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe are in town tonight at the Smirnoff, and if the pairing seems a little odd, realize that the bands have more in common than decades of drug use.

They’re both old, they’re both ridiculous, and they’ve both made their livings off MTV and classic rock radio. The Crüe hasn’t cut an album of original material since the 1980s, but thanks to indie kids and their love of all things kitschy, the glam-metal band now gets to cash in on its cock-rocking stupidity. Aerosmith, as awful as Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and company may be, is a little more dedicated to the trade. They’ve released a couple of original albums since the ’80s and maintain a relatively steady tour schedule. They still suck and have done nothing but churn out, assembly-line-style, innumerable variations of two or three songs, but what Tyler et al. lack in style, especially as compared to the Crüe, they make up for in their ability to extort fans (and probably family members).

Not to get all philosophical, but a concert like this throws into relief everything that’s fucked-up about the music industry: We pay hard-earned American money to laugh at living jokes, who in turn take our hard-earned money and laugh all the way to the bank. Who’s worse, old men who whore themselves onstage in front of millions of people, or millions of people who pay to watch old men whore themselves? True, there are probably a lot of decent, honest citizens who genuinely enjoy the tunes — the Crüe’s “Live Wire,” “Looks That Kill,” and “Kick Start My Heart” ain’t Tchaikovsky, but as glam-metal pop songs, they’re pretty bad-ass. (“Back in the Saddle” may be the only Aerosmith song worth a damn. Some of the band’s other tunes are OK, but since they’re played every other second on classic rock radio, who can stomach them anymore.) Still, some of us wonder whether we enjoy the music ’cause we really like it or ’cause listening to it says something about us, like, “All of my friends like Radiohead, so just to be different, I’m gonna like the Crüe.”

Maybe? Probably.


Tonight (Wed) at Smirnoff Music Centre, 1818 1st Av, Dallas. $38.75-125. 214-373-8000.