Lifelong Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer has filed a lawsuit against the rest of his band after he was told he needed to re-audition in order to perform with the group. The news comes ahead of this weekend’s Grammy Awards, where Aerosmith are set to be honoured as the recipients of the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year award, and perform live.
Last year, Kramer suffered some injuries which put him out of action just prior to the band starting their Deuces Are Wild residency in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The way Kramer tells it, upon his recovery a few months later, Kramer was told he had to prove he could play “at an appropriate level”, playing along to a click track. When he did re-audition, earlier this month, Kramer alleges Aerosmith voted against him rejoining the band, citing a lack of “energy”.
Part of Kramer’s unhappiness stems in particular from not being able to play as part of Aerosmith’s Grammys performance this weekend. The band have asked him to join them to accept the honour, but not to perform live with them.
Kramer is asking a judge to allow him back into the band, who celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, in order to avoid “irreparable harm,” claiming that he’s being put to a higher standard than the rest of Aerosmith.
Kramer claims there’s no provision in the band’s contract requiring a member to prove their ability to play in order to rejoin the band after suffering injuries.
In response, the rest of Aerosmith have released a statement to People, saying they don’t feel he’s ready to perform with the group again, and it would be a “disservice” to play with him this weekend.
“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,” reads the statement.
“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 honor. We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage.”