Friday, September 23, 2011

Does the Noise In My Head Bother You? - Steven Tyler (Audio)

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      

20 comments:

Nymeth said...

I'm not a Aerosmith fan myself, but the music history angle does sound very interesting!

Jenny said...

The part you wrote about him loving his women and their private parts made me laugh. Yeah I don't know much about him but had the same impression of him that you did. I didn't watch AI so I didn't get to see that human side of him. The book sounds entertaining!

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Very interesting. He's always been one of my favorites, going up in Boston and well, just being a child of the 80/90's.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

My husband is a lifelong Aerosmith fan so I bought him this as soon as it was released. He enjoyed it but said it was a little difficult to read bc the book is written the same way Steven talks...and even my husband was a little taken aback by some of the stories/language etc. Of course he expected that...it's certainly no secret that Tyler has lived life to the fullest.

bermudaonion said...

I know we talked about this some last weekend, but I couldn't help but wonder what Tyler would think if people talked about his daughters the way he talks about women. I agree with you on the narration - Jeremy Davidson did a wonderful job.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I would like to know more about him, but I don't know if I could listen to the language and the private parts stuff!

Zibilee said...

I really like Tyler, but have always gotten the impression that he was kind of a wild dude. It seems like I am right about that from what you say about the book. I haven't watched him on American Idol, but it might just be something worth checking out. I really need to read this one, but I have been sort of scared off by my experience with the Life by Keith Richards. It sounds like this was the more accessible book out of the two.

Trisha said...

Wow, I never even considered picking this up - even though I am an Aerosmith fan - until this post. Damn you Sandy. Damn you. Once again, you have added to the to-read list. :) Love you.

Meg said...

Very fun reading your review! I can't say I know much about Tyler, but this would be an interesting way to forge more of a connection. And he is very interesting and entertaining on "Idol"!

heidenkind said...

So what you're saying is, Steven Tyler is a horrible gossip? :p I do hope they wash that microphone...

softdrink said...

I was never much of a fan, either, but we saw Aerosmith in concert a couple of years ago, and they do put on quite a show!

Kathleen said...

I've been a fan in the past and I always thought he was a bit of a train wreck. I enjoyed seeing him on AI and realizing that maybe he wasn't as much of a crazy rock star as I thought. This book sounds good and I would enjoy hearing all of the wild rock star stories. It will be a nice balance to the AI judge!

Julie P. said...

Well said. I was walking/running while listening to this and I found myself cracking up all of the time.

Alyce said...

I'm interested in his life, but not really interested enough to brave all of the profanity. I think I'd rather just listen to his music now and then on the radio and call it good.

Jenners said...

Such a good review ... I almost want to run right out and listen to this. It is so weird that he doesn't narrate it himself. And if it was not rude and crude, it wouldn't seem real.

dog eared copy said...

I've been a long time fan of Aerosmith and when this became available for review (via Harper Audio) I jumped at the chance! At first, I was annoyed that Steven Tyler hadn't narrated the audio edition of his own memoir; but I could hear Steven Tyler's unique style through Jeremy Davidson. And then, after listening to Steven Tyler talk about the book itself at the end of the audio, I realized that while he might have added extra value to the audio as a celebrity-author-narrator, I'm not so sure he could have been tethered to the text even if it was his own book!

I wasn't bothered about the language or shocked at any of the accounts. Maybe because I've heard worse (cf Led Zeppelin's biography, Hammer of the Gods (by Stephen Davis))?

I'm definitely now interested in Joey Kramer's memoir, Hit Hard, narrated by Holter Graham and; Dream On: Living on the Edge with Steven Tyler and Aerosmith (written and narrated by Cyrinda Foxe) even though I heard that she was rather a bitter woman :-/

Marie said...

Sold! I've been wondering about whether or not to pick this up. I love Aerosmith & Steve so this is perfect for me!

natalie @ book, line, and sinker said...

i'm not really an aerosmith fan, but i did flip through this book at costco last week. i listened to ozzy osborne's audiobook this year and that was enough rock and roll hi-jinx for me for one year. glad you enjoyed this one and that it gave you some insight and perspective. :)

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

This sounds like an AWESOME production, although I don't think I'm interested enough in him or Aerosmith to actually check it out.

Luxembourg said...

Took a minute to get the feel of this book. However, I love his ' Steven-isms'. He's definately one of the rare ones in this world. I would love to spend a few hours picking his brain. There are too few like him! I feel like I understand him a little better. I'm so glad he exists in the universe with us!