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Drummer Joey Kramer files lawsuit to enable him to continue to play with Aerosmith

Click to play video 'Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer sues band' Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer sues band
Longtime Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer has filed a lawsuit against his bandmates after claiming they have excluded him from playing alongside them at some of their upcoming performances – Jan 22, 2020

Longtime Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer has filed a lawsuit against his bandmates after claiming they have excluded him from playing alongside them at some of their upcoming performances.

The legal documents were filed in Plymouth Superior Court in Massachusetts last Friday, according to a representative of Kramer.

If successful, Kramer’s suit will enable him to play with Aerosmith again as they are recognized as MusiCares Person of the Year at the MusiCares Gala and again at the Grammys’ over the course of the weekend.

Though the 69-year-old musician has been a member of the legendary rock band since its formation in 1970, he was forced to sit out of Aerosmith’s then-upcoming Deuces Are Wild residency shows in Las Vegas, Nev., after suffering a minor injuries in the spring of 2019, as shown in the legal filing which was obtained by Global News.

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AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File
AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File. AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File

While Kramer took time off from touring to recover, his drum tech, John Douglas, was asked to fill in for him and play the residency shows.

Later that fall, Kramer claimed he was ready to return to his drum throne and rock out again with Aerosmith, however, the suit alleges he was rejected by the band as a result of some inconsistencies in their overall contract.

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Kramer’s representative provided Global News with a statement from the drummer himself. He wrote:

“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.”

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Kramer claimed that if he were ever to be considered by his bandmates as an adequate drummer for Aerosmith again, he was “required to audition for [his] own job” and “demonstrate that [he could] play at ‘an appropriate level’” or “better than [his] temporary fill-in.”
“I did everything they asked,” wrote the drummer, admitting he videotaped himself auditioning for the band again. “[I] jumped through hoops and made both a recording of playing along solo to a recent live recording of the band,” he continued. “One I had never heard before.”
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“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,” said Kramer. “But I did it, and I did it well.”

Furthermore, Kramer pointed his finger at his bandmates claiming that they, along with their attorneys, would “likely attempt to disparage [his] playing and claim that [he is] unable to play the drums right now. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he concluded.

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On Wednesday, Aerosmith responded to Kramer’s lawsuit in their own statement — which was provided to Billboard. It read:

“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 rejoin us to play many times but apparently he has not felt ready to do so.”

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The Steven Tyler-fronted band alleged that Kramer had “waited until the last moment” to accept their invitation to join them at rehearsals ahead of their big Grammys performance.

In this April 8, 2014, file photo, Steven Tyler, left, and Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, Calif.
In this April 8, 2014, file photo, Steven Tyler, left, and Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform at the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, Calif.

“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,” the statement continued. “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.”

Aerosmith concluded: “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.”

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Furthermore, Kramer addressed his dedicated supporters, writing, “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.”

Click to play video '22-year old Aerosmith fan from Norwood gets to share the stage with the band' 22-year old Aerosmith fan from Norwood gets to share the stage with the band
22-year old Aerosmith fan from Norwood gets to share the stage with the band – Oct 8, 2019

“Ever since I was 14 years old,” continued the drummer, “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.”

Whether it’s with Kramer or not, you can catch Aerosmith’s Grammys performance live on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET.

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Following the ceremony, the Rag Doll rockers will return to Las Vegas to continue the critically acclaimed Deuces Are Wild residency.

Additional information, tour dates and updates can be found through the official Aerosmith website.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca