Review: Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? By Steven Tyler

This is how a memoir should be done.  It’s raw, brutally honest and goes deep into the reasons why anyone would buy it in the first place – the band and the man who started it.  

Love them or hate them you can’t deny Aerosmith has had a level of success few other American bands have enjoyed.  And Tyler has been the man out front.  He’s the face, the voice and the lips behind the band.  The highest compliment I can pay his book is to say that even though it was ghost-written, reading it is like having Tyler sit across the kitchen table from you and answer your questions.

On their own, couple of tidbits Tyler shared about my all-time favourite Aerosmith song, Dream on, made it worth buying the book. My jaw hit the floor over one of the song’s lyrics that I have misinterpreted all of these years!  I’d bet that most people have.  He doesn’t hold back about his own drug use, estimating he spent $20 million over the years on chemicals that went straight up his nose.  He strips bare all of the in-fighting and blow-ups that caused Aerosmith to collapse here and there over the years.  As if we didn’t already know it, people who are using lots of drugs don’t tend to have the healthiest relationships or make the best decisions!

Book cover: Steven Tyler "Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?"

Tyler has been obsessed with lyric writing and as a drummer, he admits he was really tough on the band’s drummer Joey Kramer.  Kramer’s own book titled Hit Hard, blamed Tyler for a lot of his own troubles with and without drugs. What a mess these guys were!  On a fairly recent tour they performed night after night and Tyler never spoke one word to any of the other band members throughout the whole thing.  It’s a crazy way to live.  Tyler married and divorced fellow drug addicts and his current girlfriend is as clean as a whistle but awfully high maintenance.  I guess that’s the rock star life.

But there’s another side to Tyler.   The one who adores his children and grandson and would spend the rest of his life on the water in his canoe if he was given the choice.  He’s sensitive and smart despite making some incredibly dumb decisions while he was high.  He also genuinely cares about the audience.  He agonizes over cancelling a show if he’s sick, unlike, say, Axl Rose who kept crowds waiting for hours every night.  His well worn body is also breaking down.  You may have seen his gnarled toes on a grocery store magazine rack.  He’s got terrible problems with his feet and sometimes his back and other body parts.  We’re talking about a 64 year old man who still leaps off amplifiers and runs around on stage, screaming into a microphone.   Of course, he’s also sitting comfortably a lot of the time now as one of the judges on American Idol.  He explains how that came about as well.  Tyler’s story is well worth reading if you have any interest in music and the lives of some of those who make it.