Looks like more drama in the Aerosmith camp. After a few good years within the Boston bad boy's club — trouble has reared its head in the apparent ousting of drummer Joey Kramer. TMZ broke the report that Kramer was filing suit against the band for forcing him to audition to re-join the band following what he describes as “minor” shoulder surgery last spring. In his absence of the end run of the band's Las Vegas shows, his drum tech, John Douglas, sat in for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
The report stated that Kramer's bandmates forced to him to perform along with a click track to see if he was “able to play at an appropriate level” — something the drummer maintains none of the other members were forced to do upon returning from medical leave.
Upon listening to Kramer's performance, the band claimed he, quote, “did not have enough 'energy' in the recordings.” Kramer claims he has been forced out of the band — including appearing at such high-profile upcoming gigs as the group's MusiCares honor and a Grammy performance.
Joey Kramer has issued a statement on the matter, which reads:
Ever since I was 14 years old, I had a set of drumsticks in my hand and a passion to create music. Being prohibited from playing with a band that I have given 50 years of my life to supporting, is beyond devastating.
This is not about money. I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers, for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry. Neither the MusiCares’ Person of the Year Award nor the Grammys’ Lifetime Achievement honors can ever be repeated.
The fact that I would be asked to audition for my own job, demonstrate that I can play at ‘an appropriate level’ and play better than my temporary fill-in with a moving target of made-up standards is both insulting and upsetting. Other band members and their lawyers will likely attempt to disparage my playing and claim that I am unable to play the drums right now. Nothing could be further from the truth. I did everything they asked — jumped through hoops and made both a recording of playing along solo to a recent live recording of the band – one I had never heard before, and that process was videotaped. But I did it, and I did it well. In Aerosmith’s 50-year history, no other band member has ever been subjected to this scrutiny, let alone be asked to audition for his own job!
I hope our fans can understand that all I’m trying to do is get back to playing with the band that they love — and that’s Aerosmith with all five original members. The greatest magic and success of Aerosmith happens when all the band’s founding members are together in the house. To be removed from my rightful place on stage to celebrate our success – a success that acknowledges my own life’s work, is just plain wrong.
Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, and Tom Hamilton responded to Kramer’s suit, posting a statement to People, which read:
Joey Kramer is our brother; his wellbeing is of paramount importance to us. However he has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last 6 months. We have missed him and have encouraged him to rejoin us to play many times but apparently he has not felt ready to do so.
Joey has now waited until the last moment to accept our invitation, when we unfortunately have no time for necessary rehearsals during Grammys week. We would be doing a disservice to him, to ourselves and to our fans to have him play without adequate time to prepare and rehearse. Compounding this, he chose to file a lawsuit on the Friday night of the holiday weekend preceding the Grammys with total disregard for what is our limited window to prepare to perform these important events.
Given his decisions he is unfortunately unable to perform but of course we have invited him to be with us for both the Grammys and our MusiCares honor. We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage.
An inside source told People: “They had been inviting him to come back for the last six months since he’s been away for whatever medical situation he’s been dealing with. He said ‘Yes, I’ll come and rehearse’ and kept not showing up. On the eve of the Grammys and MusiCares, he wanted to be back. They all got on the phone with him after they heard the demo and talked it through with him. They voted as a band, which they do with every decision, and it was four to one. They said ‘Please come to MusiCares and Grammys. We’ll take photos and celebrate. You’re our brother.' They just don’t want to risk a performance because he hasn’t been with them in six months.”
Not too long ago, during better days with the band, Joey Kramer told us that playing live with Aerosmith still means everything to him: “Absolutely, positively, without a doubt. More than anything else that I do in life itself. 'Cause what it's about for me is being behind my drums, seeing those four guys in front of me, and playing for two hours. That's it — that's what I live for.”