Steven Tyler has lived the life of a hundred rock stars -- endless amounts of sex, drugs, insane behavior and ear-blisteringly awesome rock'n'roll. He's practically a rock archetype!
So I was expecting that "Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir" would be a pretty wild ride. Actually, it was more like being dragged behind a roller coaster on a little skateboard -- a wild, raucous, colorful explosion of Tyler's rock'n'roll life, constantly dancing between witty cleverness and manic exuberance.
Stephen Tyler had a fairly ordinary upbringing, which didn't stop him from being the mystical, mischievous wild-child of his New York family. And though his father was a pianist, he fell in love with rock'n'roll at an early age, cycling through several small-time bands and roaming through the wilds of 1960s New York City.
But his life REALLY changed when he met his "mutant twin," Joe Perry ("Joe is cool, Freon runs in his veins; I'm hot, hot-blooded Calabrese, a sulphur sun beast, shooting my mouth off"). And lo, rock history was made. Their band Aerosmith rapidly ascended to become one of the biggest in rock history, careening and soaring along with Tyler's own ups and downs -- marriages, children, drugs and the band's breakups and reunions.
"Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir" is very different from most rock memoirs, which are usually written when the rock star's brain has cooled down and grown up. Steven Tyler still seems to be shooting off crimson sparks in every direction, ranting and rejoicing with insane joy.
This is also how he writes. He rambles energetically about the events of his life with surprising clarity, but he often interrupts himself with weird asides ("No wonder I got Lead Singer Disorder") and meditations on sex, women, drugs, God, childhood... and of course, music ("The blues, man, the blues... the blooze! That achin' ol' heart disease and joker in the heartbreak pack, demon engine of rock...")
And yes, he has countless interesting stories to tell, whether it's searching for elves in the Sunapee woods or getting bawled out by Anita Pallenberg for buying a book on black magic.
Tyler himself comes across as a giant, exuberant man-child, still crammed with insane energy. He's obviously very clever and intelligent (he boasts about rigging up electric fences IN HIS BEDROOM), and he stirs in literary references with his rock'n'roll knowledge. But he also includes some wrenching moments that have obviously scarred him deep, such as when he learned of his daughter Mia's troubles with cutting and drugs.
There's obviously still a lot of noise in Steven Tyler's head, and his wild, deranged memoir sweeps you away and sinks you into the manic recesses of his brain. Warning: do not operate heavy machinery while reading this!