Reviewer’s Suggestion: R Rated
When I first mentioned that I was reading this memoir to a friend of mine she said, “Oh you’ve GOT to review that for the community newsletter.” I said I’d have to finish the book first because what I was reading at the time definitely isn’t for everybody’s consumption. I was in my teens during the 60’s and definitely have been to my share of rock concerts throughout the 70’s and 80’s. And I’m a real classic rock and roll kind of girl. So, the autobiographies of some of the “greats” of rock roll are always on my list to read. But I’ve found most of them to be very boring including that of Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. How in the world can autobio’s by these two guys be boring? I don’t know but they were. But Steven Tyler has such an “out there” BIG personality that I figured I’d give it a try. After reading the first two pages, I asked myself, did you understand any of that? And then I understood the title. As Tyler himself says, ”What did you expect, the book to be linear?”
Let me say this about the memoir and why I gave the above warning. Tyler holds back on NOTHING when it comes to his sex life and describes in DETAIL many parts of the female anatomy using a variety of colorful adjectives. Read more… He also doesn’t hold back on his heavy abuse of drugs which began at the age of 15 with the approval of his parents. With Tyler being such a large part of American Idol and with Idol having a much younger audience than the mainstream, I just felt that parents ought to be aware that the Steven Tyler their kids see on Idol is NOT the Steven Tyler of the rock band Aerosmith. Ryan Seacrest asked Tyler, “This book is not for the faint of heart. You’ve really exposed yourself here. Is there an area you haven’t touched?” (The Reviewer to Seacrest, that is one LOADED question!) Therefore, if you watch what your kids read, just know that this book is full of sex, drugs and rock and roll. And if your kids read this first, they’ll run out and buy the book!
That said: The Memoir. Steven Tyler was born Steven Tallarico in 1948 in the Bronx, NY. (He never explains how he came up with the name Tyler). He actually had a pretty normal childhood. Every summer he and his parents would vacation at their family home in Sunapee, NH. He says he was, “ a mountain boy, barefoot and wild.” But by the time he was 15, he already knew he wanted to be a rock star. People thought, because of his mouth, that he looked like Mick Jagger and so began to dress like Jagger so he could say he was Mick’s brother and pick up chicks. When he was in his 20’s, he saw a beautiful girl in the front row and decided to “pick her up”. Tyler’s description of the pick up is a little more colorful. She turns out to be 16. He actually talks the girl into going to meet her parents, they love him, and he gets them to turn their daughter over to his custody so he can take her across state lines and follow him on tour. And that, ladies and gentleman, is just the beginning.
There was Mick and Keith and John and Paul all, as Tyler would call them, the “Toxic Twins.” And Tyler found his toxic twin in his relationship with his lead guitarist, Joe Perry. Tyler describes in great detail and with an uncensored voice, the ups and downs and crashes and hate that can sometimes rail road a successful band. I heard an interview with Tyler on Fox and Friends and he said he wrote the book because (I’m paraphrasing) he wanted the folks in the Midwest to understand the ins and outs of a rock and roll band, the dealings with lawyers, taxmen, managers, hangers on etc. I had to laugh at that. It seemed absurd to me. That is a small portion of the memoir and I don’t know if the breadbasket is ready for Tyler’s tell all. What Tyler really is saying is that he became what he wanted, a BIG rock and roll star, but it didn’t lead him where he thought it was going to go. It led him to making millions of dollars but as he says,”I snorted my plane, I snorted my house”, which led to 10 rehabs, the last of which was last year for addiction to sleeping pills. He also gets hepatitis C. He discusses with sensitivity the women he loved and married and divorced, but then says he can’t understand why women don’t understand that a man is a “Man” and that when a beautiful woman wants some, it’s his obligation to give it to her. Unfortunately for him, most of the women in his life were also drug addicts which left them both co-dependent. He talks about life on the road and all he did was write, rehearse, record and tour and, of course, all to the detriment of family life. He has 4 children by three different women. He writes that his daughter, Mia, has written a “tell all” book and he was shocked to learn she was a “cutter”.
As far as American Idol, he got the call just as he gets out of rehab. He doesn’t discuss it with the band because, once again they’re fighting, and Aerosmith is looking for a new lead singer. So, in other words, he’s saying to his band mates, up yours…
Let me just end with one vignette that Tyler recounts. It’s probably the only time a woman turns him down. He’s on tour with Joan Jett and he makes a pass at her. She rejects him so he shows up at her hotel room door, naked, and knocks. Jett rejects him with one of the best comeback lines in history: Referring to Aerosmith’s song Big Ten Inch, Jett says, “I’m not into (insert song), honey”, and closes the door. Dream on, dream until your dreams come true…