Joey Kramer is suing his Aerosmith (opens in new tab) bandmates, claiming he’s being frozen out of the group.
The drummer says he’s being excluded from playing with Aerosmith at Sunday’s Grammy Awards and at the Recording Academy's Aerosmith tribute show, which will take place on Friday night and see Aerosmith receive the 2020 MusiCares Person Of The Year award (opens in new tab).
Kramer was sidelined from the band’s Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency last year (opens in new tab) after suffering minor injuries, with drum tech John Douglas stepping in behind the kit.
However, Kramer claims that when he was fully fit and ready to rejoin Aerosmith towards the end of 2019, he was essentially asked to re-audition and demonstrate that he could play at "an appropriate level.”
In a statement, Kramer stresses the legal move “is not about money” with his goal simply to get back behind the kit.
Kramer's statement reads: “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 recognised 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, demonstrates 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!”
Kramer adds: “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.”
Steven Tyler and co. have now responded to Kramer’s lawsuit in a statement to People (opens in new tab), saying the drummer “has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last six months.”
Aerosmith say: “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.
“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.”
Aerosmith are being recognised at the MusiCares ceremony for their “considerable philanthropic efforts over five decades and undeniable impact on American music history.”
Artists including Foo Fighters, Alice Cooper and Gary Clarke Jr, will take to the stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center to perform a selection of Aerosmith’s best-loved songs, led by musical director Greg Phillinganes.