Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith
by Joe Perry with David Ritz
Simon & Schuster, 2014
Aerosmith is one of the greatest American rock bands, led by singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry. The group has seen many ups and downs over the years, playing through drug addictions and inner turmoil, but today are still regarded as one of the most legendary acts to come from the United States and has a feverish fan base. In Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, Perry relives his early years and influences that led him to a relationship with Steven Tallarico, on through the gigging and recording and eventual touring. Financial problems, leaving Aerosmith and creating the Joe Perry Project, and his return to the group in the mid-1980s, renewed success, and renewed band infighting are all focuses of the book.
Perry doesn’t pull any punches, especially when it comes to his tumultuous relationship with Tyler. The guitarist paints the picture of a front man with severe lead singer disease, who seems to be out for himself instead of the best interests of the group. From his constant addiction struggles to his secret audition with Led Zeppelin to his role on American Idol, Tyler kept information from his bandmates that would affect their future. It seems those problems will never go away, but Perry and the rest of Aerosmith continues to put up with the erratic behavior.
Perry’s autobiography may be a tell-all book, but there is not really a whole lot to tell. Aside from the drug abuse, he did not live the stereotypical rock star lifestyle. He stuck with one woman at a time, had major financial troubles because of mismanaged money, and focused on his work more than might be expected of someone who has fame thrust upon him. The most interesting parts of the book, for me, are Perry’s recollections of the 80s comeback albums Permanent Vacation and Pump albums, as well as the 70s classics including Toys In The Attic and Rocks.
Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith currently sits at #8 on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list for Hardcover Nonfiction. It is a well-written autobiography from one of rock’s greatest guitarists, and will be enjoyed by fans of Aerosmith and Joe Perry.