Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? (Audio)

Summary: Born Steven Victor Tallarico on March 26, 1948, in Yonkers, New York, Steven Tyler is the iconic songwriter, composer, and voice of Aerosmith—America’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band. 

After coming together in Sunapee, New Hampshire, in the late sixties, five musicians moved to Boston and became the band we know today as Aerosmith: Tyler as frontman, guitarist Joe Perry, bassist Tom Hamilton, guitarist Ray Tabano, later replaced by Brad Whitford, and drummer Joey Kramer. The band has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and won multiple Grammys, American Music awards, Billboard awards, MTV awards, and an Oscar®—and was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The band has memorably appeared in Wayne’s World, The Simpsons, at Superbowl XXXV and was immortalized in their own version of Guitar Hero. 

Tyler is considered one of rock’s most recognizable and dynamic frontmen. Rolling Stone has cited Tyler as one of the greatest singers of all time. In December 2010, he performed for President Obama and the First Lady in a special tribute to Sir Paul McCartney at the Kennedy Center Honors, and in January 2011, Tyler joined Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and host Ryan Seacrest as a judge on the Fox TV phenomenon American Idol. -- HarperAudio

As I was thinking about writing this review for DOES THE NOISE IN MY HEAD BOTHER YOU?: A ROCK 'N' ROLL MEMOIR by Steven Tyler, I began to feel very old! You see, I grew up being a fan of Aerosmith's music -- not the really early stuff, but I remember the songs, the videos, and the insanity surrounding the band. It was hard for me to believe that Steven Tyler is in his 60s, and only two years younger than my dad! If he's that old, then I'm not that far behind.....

Anyway, enough about my pity party and back to my review! Unfortunately, I never got to see Aerosmith live, but I did get to hear Steven Tyler at the 2009 BEA (he was the keynote speaker!) He was everything I expected and more. He was loud, brash, outrageous, unpredictable, larger-than-life, and even a little bit crude. And I loved every minute of it. After hearing him speak, I was very anxious to read his memoir that he was kind of/sort of working on. It only took another two years before it was published, but I think it was well worth the wait.

As a fan of Aerosmith and Steven Tyler, I was highly entertained by this book. I listened to it on my morning walks, and my neighbors probably think I'm crazy. I laughed and laughed at this book -- sometimes because the stories were outrageous, but mostly because I was shocked by what Tyler shared. Having said that, this book was exactly what I was expecting. It gives readers an inside look into the life of a big-time rock star -- you know, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. DOES THE NOISE IN MY HEAD BOTHER YOU? is definitely not for the faint of heart. It's really raunchy and has lots of foul language, but it's Steven Tyler -- up front and personal and very in-your-face.

I can't say that many of the stories in this book surprised me, although the manner and honesty in which they were told certainly did. I was somewhat familiar with the constant battles that took place between the Aerosmith members... talk about airing some dirty laundry. And I knew Tyler (and his bandmates) have been battling addiction issues for years. However, I found Tyler's version of events to be extremely interesting. In fact, I was blown away by Tyler's honestly (and even vulnerability) when talking about his relationships with his children. He really is a very emotional guy -- and that's probably why he is such a great artist!

So after reading DOES THE NOISE IN MY HEAD BOTHER YOU?, I admit that my image of Tyler is slightly different. There is no doubt he personifies everything about a rock star, and naturally some of that behavior doesn't exactly endear him to me, but that just seems to be what comes with being a rock star. What did kind of bother me, though, is how open he was about some of his female conquests. I mean, really, he has daughters for goodness sakes! In addition, I was also a bit disappointed in how he ripped on his bandmembers and their wives/girlfriends -- he is obviously very bitter about some of what went down. And finally, I still think that Tyler's stories glorified the good old days and drug use. But I am very much a nerd at heart!

The audio version of this book was read by Jeremy Davidson, and I gotta tell you, I think he did a fantastic job. I was a bit hesitant to listen to this book because I didn't know if I could get past hearing a voice that wasn't Steven Tyler's. I mean... Steven Tyler has a pretty distinctive and recognizable voice to me, especially after hearing him twice a week for an entire season of American Idol. However, Jeremy Davidson managed to capture the "feel" of Tyler perfectly. He had the "attitude" down and he was even able to do a convincing job with the rhythm of Tyler's lyrics and poetry as well as his unconventional scatting and alliteration (i.e. his wordplay.) Needless to say, I was highly impressed!

At the end of the audiobook, Steven Tyler chimes in with some of his own words, and I found that part highly enjoyable too. (It's a good thing that I read that on another blogger's review or I might have turned off my iPod.) As I listened to Tyler jump around on a variety of subjects, I was immediately reminded of the time I heard him speak a few years ago at BEA. In fact, one of his stories about how children learn was almost identical. One thing's for sure, whether you love him or hate him, he is truly a very unique guy -- part musician, part poet, and all-around artist!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me this audiobook.


Anonymous said...

I've always liked the man, both as a person and as a musician. I'll have to check this out though I'm not usually a memoir kid.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I like him too, but I think it would be too weird to hear someone else being him!

Kailana said...

Sounds interesting. I have had my eye on this, but I have to be in the right mood to read it.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Not only did I grow up with their music, I've come to see another side to him on AI. You can tell he has a pure heart, and that he is clean, but still has a crazy man inside of him! I have this loaded on my iPod, and intended to listen several weeks ago, but realized it didn't load right and was all out of order. I'm going to fix it and get back to it soon. I can't wait. Raunchy has never been an issue with me!

bermudaonion said...

I was never really an Aerosmith fan, but I did enjoy this audiobook. I wasn't crazy about some of the things he said about women either and couldn't help but wonder how he'd feel if people said those things about his daughters.