Aerosmith​ Drummer Joey Kramer is Suing the Band

Published on January 22, 2020

Once again, there’s some bad blood in Aerosmith. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of rock group founded in Boston, and all these years later, they still can’t always get along. Now, longtime drummer Joey Kramer — who came up with the band’s classic name — is suing his bandmates. Why? For asking him to audition for a performance at The Grammy Awards. 

The Grammy Performance

The band is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award this year at the awards show. They’re going to perform without Kramer on drums. According to Kramer’s lawsuit, he’s being stopped from playing with the rest of the band, who claims his health is why he hasn’t been present for shows. Aerosmith has continued to tour prominently throughout the years and is currently still performing shows together in Las Vegas, but Kramer hasn’t been on stage with them for months. 

The Band’s Response to the Lawsuit 

Frontman Steven Tyler and bandmates Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton released the following statement to the lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts, claiming they still love Kramer but his health keeps him from playing with them: 

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.

Kramer Says Different 

Kramer’s health is just fine, according to the drummer. In his lawsuit and a statement to Entertainment Weekly, the drummer claims there’s no physical or emotional issues to discuss. He’s able and willing to play:

Ever since I was 14 years old, I had a set of drumsticks in my hand and a passion to create music,” he writes. “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.

Who’s exactly to believe, Kramer or the rest of the band? Hard to say, but it’s always unfortunate to see a band at conflict, especially after so much time together. It happens. It’s interesting that in Aerosmith’s statement, guitarist Joe Perry added nothing. It’s either Kramer’s word or the rest of the band’s that’s true…

What Else Will We See at the Grammys 

On a more upbeat note, we’ll see Gary Clark Jr., the Jonas Brothers, H.E.R., Alice Cooper, and Foo Fighters pay their respect to Aerosmith at the show. We’ll also still see Tyler belt out some of the band’s classic songs on the show, the most entertaining major awards show around solely because of the performances. The lineup this year is pure greatness ranging from Lizzo to Gwen Stefani to Billie Eilish. 

The Grammy Awards air on Jan. 26th.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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