Steve Tyler's memoir includes story after story from the “most decadent, lecherous, sexiest, nastiest band in the land”.
Tyler, 63, reels off anecdotes, such as that night in 1978 when he blacked out on stage while singing 'Reefer-Headed Woman'. Or when he and Aerosmith visited the White House on the day Bill Clinton was impeached. Or that weird weekend with Keith Richards at Bing Crosby’s old house on Long Island. Everyone, Tyler writes, “was gacked to the nines on coke”.
The now-sober Tyler has been in rehab often enough that he lists the treatment facilities, eight of them, from Hazelden to the Betty Ford centre.
He said drugs were bad for his health, his spirit and his wallet. “I snorted my Porsche, I snorted my plane,” he confesses.
He cleaned up a few years ago but relapsed after the death of his beloved mother Susie in 2008.
Tyler gives a “moment-by-moment” recap of the summer night in 2009 when he fell off a stage in South Dakota (“I zigged when I should have zagged.”) His bandmates did not call him for 27 weeks and looked for a new singer.
“I got chastised for falling off the stage high,” he remarks.
The Associated Press purchased a copy of 'Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?' - due for release next week. Explicit and filled with expletives, it reads like an even wilder and louder version of Richards’ best-selling 'Life'.
As Tyler states it: “To snort or not to snort. That wasn’t even a question.”
A native of Yonkers, New York, Tyler was born Steve Victor Tallarico in 1948. He remembers hearing Elvis Presley as a child and feeling like he was “bitten by a radioactive spider”.
By 15 he knew he wanted to be a rock star and he knew he liked to get high, mastering the art of rigging his bedroom door so he would not get caught smoking pot.
At 16, lightning hits – someone tells him he looks just like that rubber-lipped singer from the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger. By the late 1960s, he has met the other members of Aerosmith and hung out with them at the Woodstock festival. They get their first record deal in 1972. Their self-titled debut album comes out the following year.
The band’s name was suggested by drummer Joey Kramer. They had considered Stit Jane and the Hookers (Tyler’s idea). Kramer mentioned “Arrowsmith”. Like the novel by Sinclair Lewis? No, Aerosmith, a-e-r-o. Perfect, “The name evoked space – aerodynamics, supersonic thrust, Mach II, the sound barrier”.
Tyler describes working on such classics as 'Dream On', written at a Hilton Hotel near the airport in Boston, and Sweet Emotion, inspired by the “anger and jealousy” over guitarist Joe Perry’s moving out to live with his girlfriend.
Tyler is open about his battles with Perry, a bond “fraught to say the least”. They are “soul mates” who might not speak for months, brothers caught up in “moments of ecstasy and periods of pure rage”. But that is OK with Tyler, who reasons that all rock stars are egomaniacs and that you would not want to be stuck with “clones of yourself”.
He writes briefly about joining American Idol. He was touring in France in June 2010 when he got a text from Idol judge Kara DioGuardi wondering if he wanted to give the show a try.
“Like a dummy,” Tyler recalls, he asked only how high were the show’s ratings. Very high. His inner voice tells him “Yeah, I’ll do it”.
Tyler signed on before telling the band and remembers Perry barging into his dressing room, furious that he learned about it from the media. But that is all “water under the bridge”, Tyler says.
The tour was “beyond successful” and if he bombs on Idol he still has a day job, “and, boy, what a day job I got!”.