Tuesday, 4 September 2012
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
"Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile.” We’re not quantified; there’s no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. Hunch, conjecture, instinct…a blind allegiance to anything can get you killed, and always remember…sing as though no one can hear you; live as though heaven is here on Earth."
And so begins the greatest, most inspiring, 'live by these words' intro and the autobiography of one of the greatest Rock N Roll frontmen ever for one of the greatest bands of all time (if at times both a little too underrated and undervalued even with all their critical and commercial success). With the moves like Jagger, the swagger of Freddie, the charm of Michael Hutchence, the charisma of Prince and all the one of a kind, in a million traits that make him uniquely who he is the great Steven Tyler and his awesome American band Aerosmith have given us some of the best rock music from 'Dream On' to 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing'. It's about time beyond the press and beyond the stress we got a little insight and some of the greatest Rock N Roll tales from the horses lips.
"It's like Vuja De, and that's when the miracle manifests...you're trading faces, places, spaces, and graces,"
Read how Steve lays it down with sweet emotion, coming together in unjaded devotion. This memoir is one for the memory banks, existing in moments across the pages that will keep you turning like the band keeps rolling (there's a new studio album due very soon). Honest, heartfelt, poignant and perfect, this book is a classic. A lot of times these days-especially with disappointing autobiographies-you want to finish as quickly as possible and move on to something else.
"I've been...New Orleaned, collard-greened, Peter Greened and tent-show queened; woke-up-thus-mornin'ed and given' you a warnin'ed, Seventh sealed, cotton field; holler-logged and Yeller Dawged; sanctified, skantified, shuck-and-jived, and chicken fried; black-cat boned, rollin' stoned, and cross-road moaned; freight-trained, achin-heart pained, gris-gris dusted, done got busted..."
Not with this beautiful beast, you won't be able to put this animal down as you slowly absorb yourself in each chapter and their hilarious names (for reference 'Ladies and Genitals, I'm not arrogant, I'm just ego-testicle'). You'll want to get to the end of pages as quickly as you turn and burn through the paper, but when you do your disappointment will lie with the fact that it's over. Steve Tyler 'Jerry Maguire's' you on this one. He has us at the semi-prologue. SHOW US AN AFTERWORD!
"Not so in the woods. In that silence I heard something else there, too. I lost all that mystery when I was on drugs."
It's the vivid way he writes that really draws you into his Rock N Roll world, painting pictures like the pretty as a picture photo album middle. It's more than a fly on the wall experience, or a journalist on a tour bus one. It's more like you're on stage right there next to him from his country beginnings to taking over the whole, wide world. Sure this isn't Shakespeare (it's Steven) and at times our Boston boys frontman comes across incoherent but it's always, always inspired.
"And just then, the highway opened up-right at the junction, right at that spot on the highway where you see the skyline of Boston, and you go, "What!?" Because it suddenly goes from trees, woods, and crickets to cars flashing by and skyscrapers and apartment buildings...Just at that moment, I went "Oh, s***, the city""
His stream of consciousness flows like the purest water. Now that's what makes it just a great read. Plus unlike most fake memoir's at least you know its really him, writing beautifully from the paper to the spine, the woods to the stadiums with all his terrific Tylerism's. Telling us about his trips with L.S.D. (Lead. Singer. Disorder) and his golden rules including getting "nekkid". Most of all with all his fame and the great places he's seen this confident but humble straight-shooter tells us like it is with no chaser "New York City was filled with very odd folk-which I loved". Boom! Now I'll drink to that.
"My relationship with Joe is complex, competitive, fraught, really sort of fascinating in a hair-raising kind of way."
Of course everything from Aerosmith to American Idol is touched upon these pages but nothing brings more unflinching depth and honest beauty then his relationship with his family and his band and his friend and brother from another Joe Perry. Through the thickest and the thinnest these acid twins have bonded no matter how caustic the times or tides. It's an inspiring story that holds influence. It comes apart over the pages and comes together in real life. These guys who grew up on The Beatles are Rock N Roll survivors like Springsteen...tougher than the rest.
"First it' "Hey, jaded!" Which later on in a magic moment turns into "Hey, ja-ja-jaded," which puts it in a very rhythmic meter with a four-four time signature. It's a picture of my temperament set to music"
Not only that Tyler takes us vividly and coherently through the process of songwriting from the scraps of paper, right through to the melody and the final song. From 'Cryin'' to 'Hole In My Soul' the lyrics-which are just as quotable as the book itself-are all laid out bare and beautifully. These prose give further proof that in front of all the left behind critics, Steven Tyler is one of the deepest, greatest and again most underrated writers around. This is a songwriting master, detailing his craft. Take note. It might be time to really appreciate him. It doesn't get much more brutally truthful with all the comforting introspection than this.
"And everybody I know said the same thing except the one person that I wanted to say it to me, and she left me. So it's really lonely being who the f*** I am"
From the births and the marriages to the divorces and deaths it's all detailed here. The chapters of drug taking may be abusive and hard for some to take but there's substance behind the style Steven's writing. He gives honesty without asking for sympathy and still we feel sorry for a man so thankful. A man who was-at a time-so broken-hearted. It's just in the way he walks the walk and talks the talk. He just writes this way. It's the word of a lesson learned teacher that never turns preacher. It a frank but fantastic, dark but delightful reading experience that tells you all about life as you set out yours.
"'Hole In My Soul' was playing...Chelsea and Taj walked into the studio with Teresa. I looked over and I said to them, "Good night, Chelsea. Good night, Taj". Its whispered at the end of the track."
After all isn't that what autobiographies and memoirs of a life's story are supposed to do? It's clearly not all about him as he shows love and devotion to all those who helped him get to the place he is now from his parents to his kids. He even praises the ex's who he says would never give him "accolades"...hey, we all know the feeling. With some beautiful secrets shared outside the family, Tyler keeps it relative and real with what's most important.
"Liv called me and said she got offered a part in a movie with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck...Little did I know that Kathy Nelson, who was picking the music, would put it in the same Jerry Bruckheimer movie, Armageddon, that Liv was talking about."
The good times roll with the rock legend as he details his legacy. It's a refreshing read from a man who's personal life has been trashed by the press badly with little respect for the good...pardon me the great in him. The man who gave Aerosmith it's wings affords both sides of the coin for your dollar here. From breaking down rap/rock and cultural barriers with Run-DMC, walking the way for this generation to blowing up the world with 'Armageddon's' (Rest Peacefully Michael Clarke Duncan) 'I Don't Want To Miss A Thing' Tyler stands by it all for better of worse like he does with his band, his family and his fans. It doesn't come more devoted than this and to you Steven for the record on book or wax we thank you. The noise in your head broadens us. Thanks for bothering.
"I may not have been quite sure of what I was doing, but I was on to something. Just saying..."
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
It's 1992, the year of the Olympics 20 years ago. We're in Barcelona and Dream Team's and records are descending on Spain. An archer lights his bow with the Olympic flame, aims it at a cauldron and truly passes it, shooting towards the sky as he ignites the games with conviction and spectacle. The same conviction and spectacle that comes with the buzz and hype of a young runner by the name of Michael Johnson who's about to go the distance. Still some bad ham and some diminished speed and strength meant our Golden Shoes would have to burn through another four years before striking Gold in his home country in the '96 Atlanta games. After all, we all have a journey and a story to tell.
The 2012 London Olympics may nearly be over (Sigh! But at least the Paralympics are closing everything out perfectly) but that doesn't mean Michael Johnson's autobiography of sorts isn't still a great, inspiring read. In this 'Gold Rush' the record breaker and holder makes the case to answer the question 'What Makes An Olympic Champion'? Featuring testimony from the likes of Usain Bolt, Seb Coe, Steve Redgrave, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe (a young Thorpe's return from injury to Gold is truly inspired) and Johnson's own account of his success and failure.
If this years games has inspired you to take part in athletics or dust off that oar or cross-brow this motivating book would be a great start. From detailing his every move from out of the blocks to crossing the line head raised high M. Johnson takes us through the magic tricks of the trade that made him an Olympic champion and icon. Through "Olympic Fever" to the "Mental Games" and "Technique and DNA" Johnson chapter by chapter breaks down "Doing What It Takes To Win" in "The Heat Of Battle" with "No Shortcuts". Poignant and perfect this quick read (it really is a 'Rush') reads like Mike runs or pundits, quick, frank, detailed and to the point...the point of success.
This book served as the perfect warm-up for the buzz and excitement of this years games but still holds more than memory for the timeless quality after. This retired runner turned BBC pundit and honary Brit benefits us with inspired and intriguing interviews with the cream of the crop of Olympians, especially British ones as Sally Gunnell, Chris Hoy and Daley Thompson among others take part in this prose for positive reinforcement from the professionals.
When it comes to sport the stage doesn't get bigger than the Olympics and Olympians don't get much better than this 200 and 400 meter Gold crowned athlete. Therefore books about what makes an Olympic champion don't get bigger and better than 'Gold Rush'. The Times columnist whose first book-'How To Slay The Dragon' came with a forward from the greatest Muhammad Ali-writes another classic. From channeling the greats to drawing on his inner legend, Johnson's legacy extends from the track and field to the pen and paper.
The mind over matter man gives praise to everything including his personal life (one that makes a beautiful backstory) and scathes that, that is wrong (like cheating and drugs). Doing the right thing Michael Johnson gives us a memoir that serves as a manual to be the best and a true champion. It's a hard worked piece that mirrors his life and will have inspiration and influence for generations and Olympics to some. Now that's the gold.