Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?, by Steven Tyler
This book is not a bad memoir as far as memoirs of rock stars go. If you have read this sort of material before , you know how this is going to. There is going to be a discussion of the author’s life in some sort of chronological fashion. There is going to be a contrast between the sort of glamorous life people expect of the stars and the reality of life as it is experienced by someone who is actually involved in the music industry. There is going to be some sort of attempt to explain mistaken views of the past as well as engagement in efforts of explaining and justifying oneself. All of that we find here, and a surprising amount of cattiness as much as it relates to Steve Tyler’s relationship with the rest of his Aerosmith bandmates and their efforts to give him the heave-ho during one of his efforts at rehab, of which there appears to be quite many. If this book is not a reliable history, it is at least interesting in providing the author’s view of himself and his own place in rock & roll history.
This book is almost 400 pages long and is divided into 17 chapters. The author begins with a prologue of sorts that demonstrates his scatterbrained approach. The first chapter then discusses the youth of Steven Tyler and the second chapter his troubled adolescence in trying to be a star. By the time one gets to chapter three, Aerosmith is beginning as a group, even if they haven’t made a lot of music together yet. After that comes a look at the dreams and poetry and fashion of the writer. There are a lot of chapters that deal with the egotism of being a rock star, the drama inside bands and how it is that songs and albums are recorded, or not, and the large amounts of drugs that are done and how that affects the relationships between people. After a discussion of the troubled early part of the 80’s, there is a discussion of Aerosmith’s second wind and the health woes and personal dramas that attacked just as the band was achieving success in album sales and high charting singles. By the time one gets to the end of the book, Steven Tyler is talking about American Idol, the bad relationship he had with his bandmates as the hits stopped coming, and the problems of aging when one has an addictive personality.
This book is as interesting in what it does not include as much as what it does. While the author is deeply interested in the lyrics to his songs and in his relationships with songwriters, including fellow bandmates as well as songwriters for hire like Diane Warren, who comes off as a frustrated romantic here, spending large amounts of space typing out the lyrics to such songs as “Dream On,” “Taste Of India,” “Pink,” and “Jaded,” among others, he shows comparatively little interest in the actual business of recording songs or going on tour, except to talk a lot about groupies. The author’s interest in rock & roll as a way of getting beautiful women and living a life of wealth and luxury and doing a lot of drugs shines through here, but the downside of such an existence is also clearly on display here as well. By the end of the book, a reader is likely to pity the author as much as envy him, and to realize just how many people there are for whom fame is their only chance to do something that they would feel as meaningful.
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