Tim Taylor of JAM Magazine Online recently conducted an interview with AEROSMITH drummer Joey Kramer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
JAM Magazine Online: It seems as though a great deal of the rock memoirs released today, from Nikki Sixx to Ozzy Osbourne, use the central of theme drug abuse and sex to tell their stories. What makes Joey Kramer's tales of drugs, sex and rock and roll any different from all the other sordid tales by rock stars?
Kramer: My story is different from the others you mentioned because it's not just a rock n' roll memoir. It's more about my life story, and the trials and tribulations of all the wonderful things that life has to offer. Alcoholism, anxiety and depression affect people in all walks of life. Surviving it is the key, and my book tells how I got through those very traumatic periods when I truly was living on the edge. Honestly, how I beat these addictions are the parts of the book that really seem to be helping folks the most. My story lets people know you don't have to be a rock star to crash and burn. People in recovery all have their own unique story's dealing with the dark side of life. The one thing we all have in common is the pain we share. My goal with the book is to show people that no situation is hopeless as opposed to your typical rock memoir that glamorizes the good and bad times of addiction.
JAM Magazine Online: One of the most intriguing aspects of your book is your relationship with Steven Tyler. You, Tom and Steven have been through hell and back the entire history of this band. You refer to your friendship with the band's only singer as one of a loving, brother type of situation that has its share of demons.
Kramer: Steven and I have a very "earthy" connection between us. Whatever it is he's become to me — it's because I allow it. I own up to that fact in the book. Has he taken advantage of friendship over the years? Yes. Has he abused our friendship? Yes. But bear this in mind. Whatever Steven and I have been through, I take the responsibility for allowing the bad, and the good, to have transpired between us. The only way to change that situation was to draw certain boundaries, and keep them up, when it comes to dealing with Steven — or anyone else in this band for that matter.
JAM Magazine Online: You seem a different person just making the statement you just did.
Kramer: If you let somebody take advantage of you — or if you let somebody make you a doormat — that's your own fault. Nobody else can fix that problem except you. I'm responsible for my own actions. Steven knew how to manipulate me, and he did it for years. It's those instances when he became my own personal demon. On the flip side, I have been very blessed to have Steven Tyler in my life. He taught me more about music, and myself, than you'll ever know. I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned about life itself from him. Pretty much from the beginning, Steven has been a very dynamic force in AEROSMITH. I just sort of sat back behind the drums and kept the music on track while he did his thing. Over the years, I finally came into my own, and I'm very grateful for Steven easing me into the role I've taken. I love him dearly, don't get me wrong. We are brothers to the end and get along famously despite the politics that's always going on in AEROSMITH. We love each other; we get mad each other. There are days we get along great, and times we need space from one another. The two of us have been through the ringer more times than I care to count the past 40 years. At this point in our lives, it has become almost comical to witness the ridiculous things that transpire in this band. But hey, it wouldn't be AEROSMITH if there wasn't some sort of drama swirling around us.
JAM Magazine Online: How difficult was it for you to watch your friend and colleague go through his recent troubles, to the point where you had to call him out in the press?
Kramer: Those problems Steven was having was the reason I called him out. Watching him trying to cope with his personal demons was a very difficult thing to do. However, I want to go on the record saying I'm really proud of him for doing what he did. Not a lot of people have the courage and strength to confront the problems he had. A lot of people would have just thrown up their hands, given way to temptation, and whatever happens, happens. Again, I'm extremely proud of Steven for tackling his problems head on, and for the band for standing behind him. At this point in time, I'm convinced the only thing that could get in the way of AEROSMITH continuing on is if somebody dies.
Read the entire interview from JAM Magazine Online.