Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Rock Star Manual

I’ve never been much of a hard rock fan, but personality with the magnitude of Steven Tyler’s is hard to miss for even a lawn chair on the dark side of the moon. The hard rock band Aerosmith, with Tyler as its frontman has been around since 1970, and though he may be more familiar now as a judge on American Idol, the man has been a legend in the music business for over forty years. There’s talk about a “Back On the Road Tour” for late 2011, playing eighteen shows in Latin America and Japan and the sixty-three year-old Tyler says, “I’m looking forward to sweating up a storm with the crazy Latin American fans.”

No doubt many fans would laugh, but most of my exposure to the megastar rocker has been through his weekly appearances as a judge on American Idol this year. There is always something about his look and his comments to the young wanna-bes that I like, often wondering how far removed the Idol personality is from the rocker persona. Not long ago I saw that he had a newly released autobiography called, Does the Noise In My Head Bother You? in bookstores and I ordered a copy, eager to get a peek into the mind and personality of the always interesting Mr Steven Tallarico, aka Steven Tyler. (Should you ever meet the man face to face DON’T call him Steve.)

No attempt here to recount episodes from Tyler’s outrageous and wild and high speed life in the business of rock ’n roll stardom. Too many, too much and far too X-rated for any telling in the few lines permitted here. Easy to sum up however: Sex, drugs & rock ’n roll, more sex, more drugs, 24-7 rock ’n roll, rehab, sex, drugs, rehab, rock ’n roll and more rehab. From what I gather in the book, Steven is clean, sober and drug-free now, but until he achieved that stage in his life he was in rehab so often he even met Lindsay Lohan. Much of the book is an explanation of the process of writing hit songs, and there have been many over the years and reign of Aerosmith. Anyone who has seen Steven on American Idol has heard examples of his crazy word rhymes, and one of the pleasures of his book is the great number of rhymes and wordplay that he uses to describe his life. Near the end of the book he writes:

Ah, yes, it was the best of rhymes it was the worst of rhymes…

I’ve been mythicized, Mick-icized,

Eulogized and fooligized,

I’ve been Cole-Portered and farmer’s-daughtered,

I’ve been Led Zepped and twelve-stepped.

Tyler’s is a hard autobiography to read for a couple of reasons. The weight put on song lyrics gets to be tedious after a while, and while it is interesting to know how and where inspiration came from, complete lyrics of song after song begin to wear, especially for one unable to put a tune to those words. And then there is the relentless, but I mean RELENTLESS sex and drugs for year after year. You wonder how any of them are still alive today. The fact that Steven Tyler is alive today and looks as good as he does at sixty-three, well, that is some kind of miracle. Sure, all the money helps, but he is walking testimony to the bounce back quality of the human body.

I should make clear that in saying Tyler’s book is hard to read, it is still one that held me through the last page. Most of the book is interesting and the personality of the writer keeps the reader curious about how things turn out. But for me it was a slow read, meaning that I rationed the pages to about ten per day and that way got over the ‘hard’ parts. There is something to be learned from a book like this. Though Tyler and the others in Aerosmith have weathered the pressures of super stardom, his story makes it easier to understand what happened to those who didn't, the Jim Morrisons, Kurt Kobains and Janis Joplins. Let us not mistake it to be all roses, champagne and big paychecks. Tyler tells the other side as well.


  1. Since I"m not a rock star fan and not an American Idol fan, I can't make any comment on today's post.

  2. Like some, I suppose, I like many of the hard rock songs of Aerosmith but not one CD graces my collection. Like you, saw more of him on IDOL than anywhere previously and came to appreciate his humor and positive comments to the young singers. Changed the idea of him in my head. Plan one day to read his book. Days of woe always better read then experienced first hand.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America