Released: 2008, Piatkus
This year is the 40th Anniversary of the release of Aerosmith’s debut record. I’ve been on a bit of an Aerosmith kick lately, so the timing is good. While I believe they are not ‘Metal’, the band has inspired legions of Metal artists. Many Metal bands such as, Testament and Metal Church have covered Aerosmith songs and some of us here at the Metal-Rules Global Command Center have a soft-spot for the pioneering bands of the 70’s. That is why you will occasionally you will get a review of a Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rush and yes, Aerosmith. So to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the band I’ve whipped up four quick reviews of a couple of books, a box-set and the last studio album. Enjoy.
Laura Jackson is a celebrated and popular author from the UK, (England or Scotland, I’m not sure which) who has been doing celebrity biographies for over 20 years. Her books have been translated into many languages and in addition to STEVEN TYLER she has written about Bon Jovi, Freddie Mercury and Brian May and a host of less important non-rock people. Stephen Tyler is her 16th book.
Published in 2008, to the best of my knowledge, hers was the first biography of the lead singer of Aerosmith. This 232 page paperback has a couple dozen colour photos printed on glossy plates from his teens years up until 2007. Jackson does a good job but I get the impression that like most celebrity biographers she may not be writing from a fans perspective. While the prose is engaging and entertaining it is also written in a sensationalistic fashion. She tends to over-emphasize the sex, drugs and rock and roll aspect and have a mellow-dramatic tone. She is sympathetic and favourable to her subject, perhaps too laudatory at times.
One strength of STEVEN TYLER is that Laura has some great technical information. The 1997 Aerosmith biography, ‘WALK THIS WAY’, always reviewed here back in April of 2012, was a combo of oral history and interviews and focused on the drama. Tylers own autobiography, DOES THE NOISE IN MY HEAD BOTHER YOU? (also reviewed here in April of 2012) also lacked focus and technical detail. Jackson book bridges the gap very well with lots of detail on chart placements, tour dates, album release dates, she really did her background research because for the band members all that info is likely lost in the mists of time and the drug-addled haze of days of yore.
Steven Tyler is a light easy, summer read, I enjoyed sitting in the sun on the porch reading it. Many of these sort of mass-market, generic rock biographies can be pretty weak and for a die-hard Aerosmith fan I can’t imagine this offering anything new, however I liked it, learned a lot as it provided a balanced perspective to Tyler’s own autobiography.