Joey Kramer Reportedly Sues Aerosmith After Grammy Ban
TMZ reports that it all stems from a shoulder injury Kramer suffered last April -- described at the time as "minor" -- which caused him to miss the last few dates of the first half of Aerosmith's Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency. His place in the band for those shows was taken by his drum tech, John Douglas.
According to the report, Kramer was required to audition earlier this month by drumming along with a click track to show he was "able to play at an appropriate level" -- something no other Aerosmith member has ever had to do after an illness. After listening to the tapes, the other band members determined that the drummer "did not have enough 'energy' in the recordings."
As a result, Kramer will not be performing with the band in the near future. That includes the MusiCares Person of the Year benefit concert this weekend, the Grammys telecast -- where Aerosmith are scheduled to perform "Walk This Way" with Run-DMC as part of what's believed to be a career-spanning set -- on Jan. 26 and the next leg of the group's Vegas residency, which begins on Jan. 29.
TMZ notes that in addition to Kramer being required to pay his replacement $10,000 a week for rehearsals and $20,000 a week for performances, the drummer has experienced "significant repercussions" to his health from all the stress, which led to a hospital stay in November. He's hoping the lawsuit will return his place back in the band and prevent "irreparable harm" to his career.
UPDATE: In a statement provided by publicist Tara Goodwin, Kramer says, "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."
Aerosmith have issued a statement of their own, saying that although Kramer "is our brother," by his own account, "he has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band ...for the last six months." They claimed they unsuccessfully tried to get him to rehearse on several occasions, and that they invited him to participate in the events of this weekend, just not on stage.