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Aerosmith drummer sues his bandmates ahead of Grammy Weekend appearances

By | Published on Wednesday 22 January 2020


Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer – a founder member of the band – has sued his bandmates over allegations that they are excluding him from re-joining the group after taking time off to recover from some minor injuries.

The drummer’s lawsuit comes as the band prepare to play this weekend’s Grammy Awards and attend a tribute show in their honour as they are named Persons Of The Year by music industry charity MusiCares.

Kramer says that he suffered some minor injuries last spring as the band were preparing for a Vegas residency. A fill-in drummer was recruited for the start of the Vegas run, paid for out of Kramer’s cut of the fee. But by the autumn Kramer felt he was ready to return to performing.

However, he says, the band said he’d have to audition to re-join the outfit, so to prove he was still up to the job of being their drummer. This demand was in breach of a band agreement, he claims, and had never been made when band members had previously taken time off due to injury.

Nevertheless, he ultimately agreed to make an audition tape as requested by his bandmates. But, he says, they kept changing the parameters of that test, subsequently rejecting him on the basis he didn’t display enough “energy” in his audition recording.

In a statement about his lawsuit, Kramer said that he was particularly upset that the dispute meant he would miss out on this weekend’s Grammy-related festivities. “Being prohibited from playing with a band that I have given 50 years of my life to supporting is beyond devastating”, he told reporters.

“This is not about money”, he added. “I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognised along with my peers, for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry. 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”.

He concluded: “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”.

The rest of the band, however, tell a slightly different story. They said in a statement: “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 six months. We have missed him and have encouraged him to re-join 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”, the band went on. “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”.

Although all that means, the band say, that Kramer can’t join them on stage this weekend, that doesn’t mean he isn’t welcome to join them at the Grammys show and MusiCares tribute. “We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage”, they added.