It is a tad ironic that while CBS chased Charlie Sheen out of network town for his extracurricular shenanigans, Fox hired Steven Tyler as an American Idol judge in large part because of his bad-boy rep. Moreover, as this anecdote-packed memoir from the Aerosmith frontman reveals, not all of Tyler’s debaucherous days are distant memories.
Aerosmith’s 1997 autobiography Walk This Way ends with the once notoriously party-happy band transformed into poster boys for sobriety. This book concludes with Tyler securing the Idol gig last year, but the singer recalls how, less than 12 months before, he accidentally ruptured a package of his cocaine in the New York apartment of his (absent) daughter Liv. Drug addicts of a waste-not-want-not disposition — which is to say, all drug addicts — will be glad to know that Tyler “snorted it all up, off the counters and everywhere, and got a nice f—ing rail out of it.”
No, this book is most definitely not for young American Idol fans, and we haven’t even detailed Tyler’s many explicit ruminations on the subject of sex. Nor shall we. Suffice it to say, if young Idol fans did get hold of a copy, they might well deduce that the singer is a huge lover of cats, preferably shaved ones.
Even older readers may be left occasionally confused by Tyler’s shaky grasp of his own history. The singer says he snorted acid at Woodstock, and then wonders in the next sentence, “Can you snort acid?” He also opens the book with the claim that he was raised by foxes (and not of the metaphorical variety). Indeed, Tyler really does seem to have succeeded in mainlining the noisome contents of his noggin directly onto the page (with assistance from co-writer David Dalton). At one point the singer expresses his preference for a “f—ed–up” voice with a “ton of character.” While that may or may not prove useful to American Idol contestants, it is certainly a fair description of the authorial tone to be found here. B+
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