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Steven Tyler writes a great rock memoir? Dream on

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tylerbook050311.jpgSteven Tyler's new memoir, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, is filled with lame puns, stolen jokes, colorful words -- Tylerisms, as they've come to be known on this season of "American Idol."

In describing his heyday leading the band Aerosmith, he says, "We were all gacked to the gills back then."

The word "gacked," he explains, defines a drug-addled state when one is "babbling, speaking in tongues, rattling on about nothing. ... You get to the end of some insane rant and go, 'Wait a minute, did I just say that?' "

His memoir, out today, is similarly gacked. If you have the stamina to reach the end, you may say, "Wait a minute, did I really read that?!"

Smith Westerns spotlighted in two film projects

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Spend some Saturday time hanging with the Smith Westerns in the studio toward the end of recording their sophomore album "Dye It Blonde" -- in this short promo film (about 10 minutes) called "Die With Your Chin Up," from New York director Ray Concepcion ...

Smith Westerns: Die With Your Chin Up from stereogum on Vimeo.

In concert: The Smith Westerns are back home May 11 at Lincoln Hall.

The Chicago rock band is popular on that side of the lens lately. The Smith Westerns also appear in a new documentary about the latest generation of garage rockers, "New Garage Explosion!!: In Love With the Times" ...

Memphis? Where the hell is Memphis?

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Joe Jackson couldn't sing that line much anymore -- Memphis is everywhere.

Wednesday at the House of Blues, for instance, Cyndi Lauper is performing. She'll do her big hits, no doubt, but she'll also be peeling songs from her new album of -- get this -- Delta blues classics. "Memphis Blues" is her latest CD, released last week, and it features Miss She Bop playfully reading tunes such as "I'm Just Your Fool," "Early in the Morning," "How Blue Can You Get" and "Crossroads," with an impressive array of guests including Allen Toussaint, B.B. King, Charlie Musselwhite and Jonny Lang. "I knew from the moment Allen Toussaint hit the keys in 'Shattered Dreams' that we were creating something really special," Lauper said upon the album's release. The disc closes with "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues," a recording that must become a bookend to her most famous hit, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."

Here's a sampler:

In other Memphis assaults on pop culture ...

Book report: The British zombie invasion

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I get it now: All those screaming Beatles fans -- they were terrified.

21_paul-is-undead4.jpgIn Alan Goldsher's new illustrated novel, Paul Is Undead, the current turn-classics-into-zombie-stories fad catches up the Fab Four, rewriting rock history to cast the Beatles as walking dead.

John Lennon, for instance, is turned into a zombie by another hungry zombie shortly after his birth. He then meets Paul, realizes the only way to secure him as a bandmate is to make him a zombie, too, and does the deed. (The description of the zombie transformation involves tongues and necks and it's way homoerotic.)

They tour the world, eating fans' brains an pursued by Britain's greatest zombie hunter: Mick Jagger.

Book report: Exploring the sound all around

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Intriguing new book alert: Weeks back, when I wrote my obligatory introductory column, I mentioned how saturated the average American is these days with music, sound and noise. It makes it challenging to focus on the good stuff and really savor a song when we're being force-fed tunes all day long, from the CTA platform to the frozen foods aisle. Brandon LaBelle is "an artist and writer working with sound and the specifics of location," and his new book, Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life, explores this noise "pollution" beyond music, including the sounds of the street, the home, even the sky.

'Blues With a Feeling' photo exhibit

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The Chicago Photography Collective has pulled together an exhibit of music-themed images. "Blues With a Feeling" opens tonight, 5-8 p.m., at the collective's gallery, 29 E. Madison.

The showing runs through June 30 and features shots of Chicago's blues history by several local photographers, including a couple who are no stranger to the Sun-Times pages (print and online): Paul Natkin and Michael Jackson.

Driveshaft could have covered it

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A great missed opportunity in TV-local music history: They shoulda played the Smoking Popes' "Follow the Sound" over the closing credits of the "Lost" series finale ...


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