Steven Tylerâ€™s Does the Noise In My Head Bother You? is, as anticipated, the story of sex, drugs, rock and roll, more sex, and more drugs, all of which was interspersed with eight stints in rehab (well, thatâ€™s how many times he remembers going at least). Even though this rock and roll clichÃ© has been told countless times before, itâ€™s never been told quite the way Steven Tyler does. A self-described â€œEternal Adolescentâ€ and bipolar ADHD-case, there is never ever a dull moment in the story.
Tyler recounts his decades of living on the edge, beginning with his childhood in the Bronx, where street fighting was common, through Woodstock (â€œI was tripping my brains outâ€) and the 1960â€™s club scene where he played with his original bands, Chain Reaction and The Strangeurs. He describes meeting guitarist Joe Perry as being like the day the Miracle Worker was able to communicate â€œwaterâ€ to Helen Kellerâ€”it was that epic. But he admits that, â€œMy relationship with Joe is complex, competitive, fraught, really sort of fascinating in a hair-raising kind of way. Thereâ€™s always going to be an undercurrent, ongoing tension, periods of homicidal hostility, backstabbing jealousy, and resentment. But hey, thatâ€™s the way the big machine works.â€
He describes a day in the life on the road (both sober and not-so-sober), his two failed marriages, four children and one grandchild, and how â€œIâ€™ve been misquoted as saying Iâ€™m more female than male. Let me set the record straightâ€”itâ€™s more half and half.â€ He recounts the drugs heâ€™s takenâ€”endless lines of coke, heroin, and tabs of LSD that he would take in the middle of the night, go back to sleep, and then wake up tripping on. He describes the fans and critics, the groupies and The Glitter Queen. He talks about his idolsâ€”Janis Joplin for her howling vocals and all those hippie scarvesâ€”and of course Mick Jaggerâ€”he admits to faking a British accent one summer in upstate New York and telling people that heâ€™s Mickâ€™s brother â€œChris.â€ And after all of this, he admits, â€œIâ€™ve lived through the changes of not knowing ANYTHINGâ€¦to knowing EVERYTHINGâ€¦and now at sixty-three Iâ€™m back to NOT KNOWINâ€™ NOTHINâ€™.â€
Tyler describes how quickly Aerosmith took off in the mid-70â€™s and how, â€œWeâ€™d gone from being nobodies to being a multiplatinum band with four albums in the space of three years. Weâ€™d play to as many as half a million people at one time. And we had addictions to match. In the early days we were seen as cash cowsâ€”we were worked to death. We did three shows a week, and we were kept going on blow. Do you know what a treadmill is? Well, we spent the whole of the 1970s on one. It was tourâ€”albumâ€”tourâ€”albumâ€”tourâ€”album. No breaks. Everybody knew what we were doing, and we were a mess. No one ever said, â€˜You guys had better take a break.â€™ I was having seizures and passing out on stage.â€
Overall, Does the Noise In My Head Bother You? is simply just an entertaining read. It does expose a few truths about Aerosmith from over the ages, but mainly itâ€™s just a funny string of quoteable Steven Tyler-isms, tangential thoughts, obscene observations and even some life advice. The manâ€™s a lunatic, but a damn entertaining one.