Steven Tyler on Cocaine, Acid, Weed, Alcohol and Other Diversions

An excerpt from Tyler's new memoir, 'Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?'

May 16, 2011 5:21 PM ET
Steven Tyler on Cocaine, Acid, Weed, Alcohol and Other Diversions
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Those were the days when AIDS was not yet in the world. You couldn't die from getting laid. Those were different days. And cocaine! Doctors said it was not addictive . . . it was habituating. They didn't know at the time that the drug would eventually take a sharp turn after a certain day. Blow, once the life of the party, became the stuff of fear and loathing, the source of devious and secretive behavior, and the mother of all lies. "What, me? No, I don't have any!" "Sorry, ran out, bummer, man!" "Nope. Hey, I gotta go to the bathroom." And that's where the rock 'n' roll bathroom came from. That's when people started keeping stuff in two pockets — you had your courtesy bindle you'd share, your sock. And thus sin and doubt entered our happy world.

Fame derails people — not to mention the drugs. But drugs were nothing new to me. I'd had a lot of practice with drugs; I'd been getting high since I was sixteen. I was getting high all the time back then. It was part of my education. Ray and I would set our alarm for four o'clock, drop acid, go back to sleep, and then wake up at five thirty or six just slammin'. It really started before that with speed, so much so that I wrote a poem . . .

Set your alarm, it'll do you no harm to get off while you're asleep
You'll get off so fast, with the next hit you blast
You'll do in a day what you could in a week

With speed your brain knew you took it and you were up. But acid, you could take it and go back to sleep. We'd get up and go to high school tripping our brains out. I used to smoke pot and listen to the Beatles, trying to decipher their lyrics. With grass you could read between the lines . . . with acid there was nothing but between the lines — both essential talents of the times. "Norwegian Wood," now what could that possibly mean? Today, it would be as obvious as the balls on a tall dog. Smoking pot was so much better than drinking — which I also did, of course. God, a couple of drinks and you go to that same old place, but smokin' the good stuff and you're up in your fucking way-out-o-sphere.

The great red hash was hard to come by, as were Thai sticks and Nepalese temple balls . . . real round ones. It had such a sticky, resiny, sweet, tangy taste. It's a real dream-inducing high. People would tell you it was laced with opium, but why would anyone lace a common drug like hash with something as expensive and rare as opium? Another urban legend gone wild. Not too different from the one where the girl supposedly fucked herself to death on the gearshift knob. That one we wanted to believe.

From the book DOES THE NOISE IN MY HEAD BOTHER YOU? by Steven Tyler. Copyright © 2011 by Steven Tyler. Published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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