Although I've literally grown up on Aerosmith, and I love their music, Steven Tyler only really appeared on my radar when he became a judge on American Idol. I guess in the past, I'd just written him off as your typical drugged out rock and roller who lived on the edge. But when he actually opened his mouth as a judge and started to show his human side, I fell in love with him. And more than that, he seemed like he was clean. Well, maybe there is more to this guy, you know? I was pretty excited when I won this audio from Jen during Audio Book Week this past June. I was interested in what this guy had to say.
Synopsis: In a nutshell, this is the story of Steven Tallarico's life. A New York boy, he was the son of musical and beatnik parents, and started making music (and chemically altering himself) in his early teens. He tells it all, the highs and lows between he and his band over the 41 years they've been together, his marriages and kids, his drug addictions, and the process of making music and writing his incredible lyrics.
My thoughts: I had so much fun listening to this audio. Because I am a music lover, the very first thing that jumped out at me was that this was not just a walk though Tyler's life, but a walk through music history. Bands that came before him, and developed simultaneously with him, influenced the musician that Tyler was to become. Whether he was talking about Joplin, the Beatles, the Stones, the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin or even classical music that his father played, this was a ground level view of rock and roll as it was being birthed.
I was amazed at all the trivia and urban legends in here. In just about every conversation I had with friends, I had cause to pipe up and offer my little nuggets of wisdom. "Did you know it cost between $200K and $2 million for a camel?" "Did you know that Tyler was in rehab with The Kings of Leon's dad?" "Did you know that Tyler snorted Lunesta?" "Did you know that Jimi Hendrix used a microphone in unmentionable ways on a woman WHEN THE THING WAS ON?" On and on it went. I think I drove everyone mad.
The language used in this book is not for the faint-hearted, as I'm sure you could have guessed. He is one rude and crude guy. He loves his women and their private parts. He has an addictive personality that works against him in the case of drugs, but works for him when it comes to the high of making music. He is passionate about everything - an eternal optimist - but at the same time has the mentality of an 18-year-old. And he admits it - he is very forthright in his frailties. He is lovable, but only from a distance. It would be very hard to live with his narcissism and immaturity.
I will gladly continue to follow him if he remains as an AI judge, but after listening to his life and its patterns, will be watching with one skeptical eye. He genuinely wants to be clean, but he is still struggling and you can hear that in his words. So while this is undoubtedly a musical success story, it is more of an ongoing battle of addictions as well. I wish the best for him.
A word about the audio production: Tyler has such a distinctive voice, and he is always breaking out in song as he talks, so you'd think that anyone other than Tyler performing the narration would be disappointing. But Jeremy Davidson was INCREDIBLE. I suspect this guy spent considerable hours studying Tyler's vocal mannerisms, because he sounded just like him (He must be an Aerosmith fan). It looks like Davidson is Robert Ludlum's main man of narration, but I believe this project shows he could narrate just about anything. Bravo.
4 out of 5 stars