Judge denies Joey Kramer the right to play with Aerosmith at Grammys

Aerosmith (Image credit: Tommaso Boddi - Getty)

Joey Kramer will not be rejoining his Aerosmith bandmates this weekend for the group’s two shows after a judge in Massachusetts blocked his efforts.

It was reported earlier this week that the drummer had filed a lawsuit against his bandmates, claiming he’d been frozen out of the group after he was sidelined from the band’s Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency last year after a minor injury.

Kramer claimed that when he was fully fit and ready to rejoin Aerosmith towards the end of 2019, he was asked to re-audition and demonstrate he could play at "an appropriate level,” with the band responding to a statement from Kramer to say he had “not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last six months.”

And with Aerosmith set to be named MusiCares Person Of The Year on Friday evening and performing at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Kramer had hoped his legal move would open the door for his return.

However, at Plymouth Superior Court in Massachusetts on Wednesday, Superior Judge Mark Gildea denied Kramer’s breach of contract claims, saying in his ruling: “Given that Kramer has not played with the band in six months and the dearth of available rehearsal time before the upcoming performances, Kramer has not shown a realistic alternative course of action sufficient to protect the band’s business interests.”

I can hold my head high knowing I did the right thing – to fight for my right to celebrate the band’s success that I have dedicated the better part of my life to helping build

Joey Kramer

Kramer reports he’s “extremely disappointed” by the court ruling but says he respects the decision.

He adds in a statement: “I knew filing a lawsuit was a bit of an uphill battle considering that the corporate documents don’t reference any process for a band member returning from an injury or illness. However, the band waited until January 15 to tell me that they weren’t letting me play at the awards ceremonies this week. 

“I can hold my head high knowing that I did the right thing – to fight for my right to celebrate the band’s success that I have dedicated the better part of my life to helping build.

“The truth speaks for itself. Ever since I injured my foot last August and went through many hours of physical therapy to heal, not once did the band in its entirety offer to rehearse with me. That is a fact. 

"I was also sent the full rehearsal schedule on January 18 and flew to Los Angeles the next day to rehearse and have many texts and emails stating the band can’t wait for my return. That’s also a fact.”

Kramer's efforts to rejoin Aerosmith for rehearsals in LA were confirmed by TMZ, who shared a video showing the drummer denied entry to the venue by two security guards. Watch the clip below.

Kramer continues: “The band’s offer to allow me to participate in this week’s MusiCares and Grammy celebrations for red carpet photo ops only, is appreciated; however, with a fill-in drummer playing on stage at two events honouring our collective musical contributions, it is extremely hurtful to me. I am a professional musician who is eager to return to my rightful place with Aerosmith.

“I want to thank my fans for the incredible outpouring of support and for sharing my goal of taking my place on stage as one of the five founding members of Aerosmith and continuing to play the music I love.”

Kramer’s drum tech John Douglas has been behind the kit for recent Aerosmith shows and is expected to be with the band for their two weekend appearances.

In their original statement responding to Kramer’s lawsuit, Aerosmith called Kramer their “brother” and added: “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.”

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.