Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? - this reviewer responds a resounding Yes

Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? (Steven Tyler’s Autobiography)
HarperCollins (2011)

I finally finished reading Steven Tyler's autobiography, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? and I have to say at best I'm disappointed, at worst disgusted. Although I was filled with anticipation and excitement when I first saw the tell-all calling out to me on the shelf at Chapters, it took months to build up the stamina to get through more than one chapter in a sitting. Why you ask? Well, I guess you could say the level of his debauchery TRULY knows no limits.  

I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised. He is a “rockstar” after all – whatever the hell that means. I guess I just don’t see how being a celebrity of any sort excuses one from acting entirely without any sense of decency toward others. But, I should mention Tyler wasn’t shy about letting fans in on his number one motivation in life: money. Music was a close second.

Now in my experience, a band’s unique sound is accomplished NOT by a Hitler-like dictator attempting to well “dictate” and take credit for everything, but rather through the textural blending of each member’s unique influences and inspirations. In two words, it’s called “creative collaboration.” Even after a laughable solo career, moreover a failed attempt to launch the short-lived “Aerosmith Version 2” without his Toxic Twin in the 80s, Tyler’s memoir reveals a man who remains unbelievably ignorant of this fact or for ego reasons (which really wouldn’t be a stretch), has conveniently chosen to rationalize otherwise.

Chapter upon chapter reveals how the frontman was the “golden boy” from the start and the rest of his bandmates should consider themselves lucky to have been afforded the opportunity to bask in his presence. In between potshots (primarily directed toward Perry), we learn that apparently his bandmates learned ALL they know from him: without Tyler, Perry would have never even learned how to properly tune a guitar and Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to come up with such driving percussive rhythms. Clearly, humility wasn’t on the singer’s “teachables” menu.

If Tyler's narcissism weren’t enough to dissuade a reader from delving darker into the depths of his rather surface-level soul, his unabashed promotion of drug use and clear lack of self-growth, introspection and maturity certainly turns one off. You’d think after enduring rehab more than a handful of times, seeing friends/lovers of yours die from OD-ing, and discovering one of your kin has followed in your self-destructive footsteps, you’d devote fewer pages to the glories of getting/being high. Oh, but he managed to skirt death and escape his fate as a shoe-in member of the “Dead at 27” club, so I guess it’s okay…

Perhaps Tyler’s biggest offense though is his blatant misogynistic attitude. It’d be hard to believe a female audience (even in part) was in mind when he wrote this. He not only attempts to blame ALL of the near band breakups on gossip from band wives (obviously his ridiculous antics and ego had nothing to do with it!), but goes so far as to make the claim that his ex-wives agreed to the premise "til death do us part", so how dare they move for divorce on the grounds of his adultery? They "knew" after all what they were getting themselves into and he's a "sex" icon - that's what people expect from him right? Did I mention he says all this as he simultaneously remarks he “loves” women, especially his late mother, and claims unlike his male counterparts, he’s deeply in touch with his feminine side. Right…

The raving reviews cited on the covers of Tyler’s book undoubtedly were written by sexist immature foul-mouthed “users” or at the very least critics who couldn’t stomach getting all of the way through and just figured, “Ah well, it’s Steven Tyler’s book, it’ll be a best seller no matter what I say.”

The saddest part of all about this view into Tyler’s psyche?  Ostensibly, the fact that he’s 60+ years old, has lived a life that many admire, if not lust after, YET hasn’t learned a damn thing. I suggest Tyler get back in touch with that “blind man” who allegedly “taught him how to see.” He’s still looking at the world and himself through highly distorted glasses.

Truly, the only redeeming moment in this 400 page paperback was when Tyler revealed some unusual and highly creative studio tricks utilized by the band to produce interesting effects on their records, such as the “horse hooves” on Back in the Saddle. At least he got a decisive answer from this reader to his title’s hypothetical inquiry: a resounding yes.

Rose Cora Perry is a London singer, songstress, and freelance writer. Visit her at http://www.rosecoraperry.com/


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