Virtually every successful rock and roll band has had its internal squabbles. Now it is Aerosmith’s turn (it’s not their first rodeo either). Aerosmith has been one of America’s most successful bands of the last 50 years with hits like Sweet Emotion, Dream On, Walk this Way, and Love in an Elevator. My kids know them from the Aerosmith Rock’n’roller coaster at Walt Disney World.
While Steven Tyler and Joe Perry are the most famous and recognizable band members, Joey Kramer has been the band’s drummer since Aerosmith’s formation in the early 1970s. Now he and the rest of the group are in a dispute that has caused Aerosmith to kick Kramer out of the band.
This dispute stems from an injury that Kramer suffered in 2019 that required him to temporarily leave Aerosmith. He wanted to return for their Vegas residency shows in the Fall of 2019, but was not welcomed back by the rest of the band. Instead, Kramer claims in a new lawsuit that Aerosmith made him rehearse for the drummer role that he has held for nearly 50 years. He initially refused, but then did so with a “click track” instead of with the rest of the band. Aerosmith eventually determined that he was not playing at a level to allow Kramer to re-join the band.
Kramer believes that this is discrimination, that his drumming is the same as it has always been, and is an effort by Aerosmith to keep him from performing at the 2020 Grammy’s and at Aerosmith’s Vegas residency during the band’s 50-year anniversary.
Aerosmith says that Kramer is “Crazy” and claims that he has had many opportunities to rejoin the group but has backed out. They say that he just wants air time at the Grammy’s and that his drumming was not up to par.
Kramer has told Aerosmith to “dream on” and has filed a lawsuit against the band. He has asked for a difficult form of relief, namely for the judge to force Aerosmith to rehearse with Kramer. He wants his job back and wants it back now as he wants to perform when the Grammy’s honor Aerosmith (just a week after he filed the lawsuit). Kramer has said, “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 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 honors can ever be repeated. “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.”
The court likely will not force Aerosmith to let him back in. It is highly doubtful that any judge would require a band to perform with someone who they did not want to perform with.
Read more about this dispute here.