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Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer sues his bandmates

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Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer has slapped his bandmates with a lawsuit for allegedly excluding him from returning to the band ahead their Grammys performance on Sunday night (26th January).

Kramer was initially sidelined from performing with Aerosmith in April 2019 when he suffered a “shoulder injury.” His drum tech John Douglas temporarily filled in for him. 

According to the lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone, Kramer has now commenced legal action against Aerosmith for refusing to let him return to the kit for their performance on Sunday night's Grammy Awards telecast. 

Alongside their Grammys performance, there is also tribute show in Aerosmith’s honour on Friday night (24th January) to celebrate their prestigious MusiCares Person of the Year award.

Kramer, Aerosmith’s drummer of 50 years, has issued a full statement explaining his actions and has strongly insisted “it’s not about the money.” He also alleges he is being asked by Aerosmith to audition to return to his "own job." 

"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,” Kramer said. 

"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 honours 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 © PA Images

Countering Kramer’s claims, Aerosmith have issued a statement to People, alleging he has not been “emotionally and physically able to perform.” 

Claiming they have invited him back on numerous occasions, Aerosmith criticised Kramer for choosing "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.”

Aerosmith’s statement in response reads: 

"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 honour. We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage." 

Following the Grammys, Aerosmith continue their epic Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency at the Park Theater at Park MGM on Wednesday 29th January. 

Aerosmith hit the UK this summer for shows at The O2 in London and Manchester Arena on 15th and 18th July respectively. Head to Planet Rock Tickets to check ticket availability.  

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