Do you remember when the Aerosmith song "Janie's Got A Gun" came out? I most certainly do, because I'm of a certain age where I now remember old things from the first time around. Also there was something incredibly special about that song and the story behind it. Something unique and empathetic and sad. Steven Tyler clearly remembers the song pretty well himself, not to mention the sad story of Janie. Because years later, he has done something so moving and empowering it will make you tear up. Steven Tyler opened a home for abused girls, and the name is especially significant. It's called "Janie's House."
For those of you who might not be acquainted with the classic Aerosmith tune "Janie's Got A Gun" (from their 1989 album Pump), here's a little background. The song revolves around the story of a girl named Janie who, you guessed it, has a gun. But it's not what you think; it seems Janie's father has hurt her in some way that is never made clear beyond the fact that it's something awful. And Janie can't take it anymore. She gets a gun, goes after her father, and it's "Janie's last I.O.U." The bridge of the song encourages Janie to "run away, run away from the pain."
And now it looks like Steven Tyler is going to give real girls the chance to do exactly that.
On Tuesday, Tyler was on hand in Tennessee to officially open Janie's House, a home for girls who have been abused or neglected, as per WREG Memphis. He initially signed on for the project in December 2018. The home is actually located in Bartlett, Tennessee in the Youth Villages, a place where families can go for support if they are experiencing abuse, trauma, or neglect. (It's also the second Janie's House location, according to The Boston Globe; the first opened in Atlanta in 2017.) The Aerosmith lead singer helped to renovate the facility, which will be able to house up to 30 girls in need at a time. Tyler and his philanthropic organization Janie's Fund did more than put money into the house (a total of $500,000, according to Fox 17) and show up for a "scarf-cutting," his original take on the ribbon cutting ceremony. As per a press release by Youth Villages, Tyler was on hand to make decisions about the interior design and even sat in for a therapeutic drumming session with some of the girls.
At Janie's House, residents will have access to round-the-clock care and therapy sessions. And Tyler is doing his level best to make sure this important house gets all the support it needs. On Feb. 10 he will be hosting a Grammys viewing party and inaugural Janie's Fund gala at RED Studios in Hollywood. All of the proceeds from the benefit, which will be attended by celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg, Britney Spears, Sir Elton John, Jim Carrey, Joaquin Phoenix, and Yoko Ono, will go directly to Janie's House.
This is a beautiful thing. For Steven Tyler, now a grandfather and all-around family-type guy, to make helping young girls such an intense, important mission is inspiring. Of course, he gets a little something in return. As he told CBS News, "This does my heart and my soul good. This is real."
And as he told an audience at the opening of the first house in Atlanta, according to the Independent, this issue is something that's been on Tyler's mind for a long time:
“This has been something I’ve thought about since writing ‘Janie’s Got a Gun.' I didn’t know who Janie was or why she had a gun, but the voice inside my head said keep going. For this place to be here and for it to be called Janie’s house, it’s just a dream come true. When I said ‘Janie’s got a gun’ — she doesn’t need that gun now. Janie’s got a fund.”
In a perfect world, Janie's House would never be necessary. But since it's not a perfect world, at least we know there are men like Steven Tyler out there trying their hardest to make it better. Janie's got a fund, indeed.