The Untold Truth Of Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton

Aerosmith has been playing on and off for more than 50 years. The band formed in 1970 and recently set up shop playing shows in Las Vegas as a way to keep plugging away on the music scene. Since their formation, Aerosmith has rocked out singles that many of us couldn't escape from even if we wanted to. "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" will be forever connected to Robin Williams's Mrs. Doubtfire. Steven Tyler's face will be cemented into American Idol until time fades out. Aerosmith is everywhere.

If you asked most people to name the members of the band, they'd probably start to stammer after mentioning Tyler, but if it weren't for the other co-founders of the band, like bassist Tom Hamilton, Aerosmith might not be around at all. While Tyler might be the most famous member of the group, Hamilton is just as interesting. Here's the run-down.

Tom Hamilton either has absolutely fantastic or downright crappy genes, depending on which way you look at it. For starters, the guy can pluck bass strings like few others in the world and, apparently, he can survive cancer — twice. In contrast, he — well — got cancer twice, but he's still alive and kicking, and that's pretty darned amazing.

He's a two-time cancer survivor

Hamilton's first bought with cancer was diagnosed in 2006, causing him to miss a hefty part of the Aerosmith tour that year as he underwent treatment. It's a good thing he wasn't the band's vocalist, because he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and tongue. Hamilton underwent radiation therapy, and the cancer seemed to respond to treatment. As NME reports, after treatment he announced to the world that he was cancer-free. And he may have been. But the clean bill of health only lasted a few years.

By 2011, the cancer had returned, only this time, it had spread to his voice box. (Another reason why it's a good thing Hamilton wasn't Aerosmith's frontman.) "My doctor thought I was pretty much done with the cancer that I had in '06 and then it came back a few years later," Hamilton told Long Island Pulse in 2015. "I was faced with losing my way of life ... if not my life." Luckily, the Aerosmith bassist found a surgeon who performed a radical laser operation that removed the cancer while leaving his throat intact.

Hamilton almost went into acting instead of music

There was time before Aerosmith, as hard as that might be to believe. There was even a time before Tom Hamilton had ever picked up a guitar. Of course, he was a kid then, but rock and roll stardom wasn't Hamilton's original career path. Instead, the future bassist wanted to go into acting.

As Hamilton told Rehearsal for Life this year, the plan was to attend drama school and make his name on the stage, or in front of a camera. According to Aerosmith Temple, he'd actually been accepted into two different acting schools, but in the end he decided to take the music route. "I told my parents instead I was going to join a band. ... They were not pleased."

His acting career did eventually happen, though not a lot, and will forever be overshadowed by his time in rock and roll. Hamilton joined the cast of Banned in Boston in 1996 and has been with them since. According to Rehearsal for Life, Banned in Boston is a once-per-year sketch comedy production fundraiser. Hamilton was ecstatic to join their production. "I loved the comedy. The first sketch I was ever in, I played the Unabomber. I hammed it up and really went for every laugh I could," he told the website.

Hamilton toured with Thin Lizzy

Hamilton joined his first band when he was only in the seventh grade. He also played in several other bands alongside Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who Hamilton met in high school, before the pair ever joined up Steven Tyler to form the rock behemoth we know today. In the time since Aerosmith got off the ground, Hamilton has only played with a couple of other groups. Even then, those were really just a guest performance of sorts.

In 2016, Hamilton joined up with Thin Lizzy to tour Europe for the summer. "The Lizzy tour was the first thing of any consequence I've ever done without Aerosmith," the bassist told The San Diego Union-Tribune that year. He was one of the few guest artists invited to join the band for that series of shows.

Shortly after returning to Boston from the Thin Lizzy anniversary tour, Hamilton was spotted on stage at a Pearl Jam concert in Fenway Park. The band was performing a cover of Aerosmith's "Draw The Line" as a tribute to Joe Perry, who had recently been hospitalized, and Hamilton sat in on the song, according to Live for Live Music. Luckily, Pearl Jam has a full band and we don't have to worry about them stealing up the Aerosmith bassist anytime soon. Aerosmith will forever be his home.