Aerosmith drummer sues to rejoin band for Grammy honors
BOSTON — Aerosmith’s drummer, Joey Kramer, is suing his bandmates because they won’t let him play as the band is set to perform and be honored at Grammy events this week.
Kramer, a founding member of the band launched in Boston, said in a lawsuit filed this month in Massachusetts Superior Court that he has been kept out of the band after he hurt his ankle last year and missed shows, including part of the band’s lucrative residency at a Las Vegas casino.
The 69-year-old Magnolia, Texas, resident says his bandmates required him to earn his job back by performing a series of solo rehearsals to prove he could play “at an appropriate level,” according to his lawsuit.
Kramer says the band is in breach of contract, arguing the requirement is an “an artificial, made-up and undefined standard” that no other member of the band has been asked to do.
He notes in his lawsuit that singer Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Bradley Whitford, and bassist Tom Hamilton have all been recently sidelined with injuries and illnesses and weren’t asked to re-audition for their jobs.
Kramer wants a Massachusetts judge to order he be allowed to participate in two upcoming music industry events.
Aerosmith is slated to receive the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year award on Friday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Alice Cooper, Foo Fighters, Jonas Brothers, John Legend and John Mayer are among the artists slated to perform as the band is recognized for its philanthropic work by the Recording Academy, which awards the Grammys.
Aerosmith is also set to perform a “career-spanning medley” at the Grammy Awards show Sunday night at the Staples Center, where the band is expected to be joined onstage by hip hop’s Run-DMC, with which it has had collaborated.
“This is not about money,” Kramer said in a statement ahead of a court hearing on the suit in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Wednesday. “I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers, for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry.”
Aerosmith’s lawyer and manager didn’t respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday,
But the band, in a public statement Tuesday, said it has invited Kramer to join it as it is honored at the Grammy events, saying there just not enough time to rehearse together.
“Joey Kramer is our brother; his well-being 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,” the statement reads.
“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,” the statement continues. “Joey has now waited until the last moment to accept our invitation, when we unfortunately have no time for necessary rehearsals during Grammys week.”
In his lawsuit, Kramer says his fellow band members deemed his “try out” wasn’t “technically correct” and lacked “energy,” an assessment he strongly disputes.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said in his statement. “I did everything they asked.”
Kramer also says it’s “devastating” that he is being prevented from being honored on the music industry’s biggest stage.
“The greatest magic and success of Aerosmith happens when all the band’s founding members are together in the house,” he said in the statement. “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.”