According to TMZ, founding AEROSMITH drummer Joey Kramer has filed a lawsuit against his bandmates, claiming that they are not allowing him to return to the group after a temporary disability.
Kramer says he suffered minor injuries in the spring of 2019 but was ready to return for the fall leg of the band's Las Vegas residency shows. But instead of being welcomed back as expected, Kramer claims he was subjected to a brand new band policy he did not approve of, where he would have to audition to prove he was "able to play at an appropriate level" in order to regain his drummer role.
According to Kramer, the band asked him to perform a series of solo rehearsals against a "click track" as his audition, after which they would listen to the recordings to decide whether he would be allowed to come back to the group. In the meantime, Kramer has covered the cost of a replacement drummer at a rate of $20,000 a week for performances and $10,000 a week for rehearsals. (According to Rolling Stone, AEROSMITH's contract states that all members are entitled to their full share of live performance income even if they're sidelined, although the replacement’s pay comes out of absent member's cut.)
Kramer says he finally and begrudgingly auditioned with the "click track" in early January, but was prohibited from rejoining because, as he was told, he "did not have enough energy" in the recordings.
He wants the court to order him back in the band to avoid "irreparable harm" to him.
Last year was not the first time AEROSMITH performed without Kramer. Back in August 2014, AEROSMITH canceled a California concert because Kramer was dealing with "heart complications" that required immediate surgery. The musician later revealed that he had an angioplasty, explaining that it was "just strictly a hereditary thing. There's a family history, and I was the victim. But no more."
Kramer missed a week's worth of AEROSMITH shows after his 2014 surgery — his son Jesse filled in on drums — before getting back to work.
"It wasn't my time," Kramer said at the time. "It wasn't time for my ticket to be punched. And so I got fixed, and I'm back 150 percent, and everything is as good as it can possibly be."
Last fall AEROSMITH's drum tech John Douglas spoke to Rock Titan about how he landed the gig as Kramer's temporary replacement. He said: "I'm a working drum tech, so I am teching for AEROSMITH, who, for most of , has been doing a [Las] Vegas residency at the Park MGM. And Joey Kramer, the drummer from AEROSMITH, who everybody knows, got injured, and so I got the call to jump in and play drums at the 11th hour. So I played a few shows with AEROSMITH, which is unexpected and exciting."
Asked if there was any reservation or reluctance on his part to take on the job when he was first approached about it, Douglas said: "Actually, I'm not even sure they even asked me — I think they told me. It's kind of a blur. It was a show day, and I was in the building. Obviously, the band doesn't do soundcheck typically, so the crew does — we do a crew soundcheck, a crew jam. So we had just started that when I got the phone call from Steven [Tyler, vocals], saying that Joey couldn't play. Yeah, I don't remember actually being asked. And I would have said 'yes.' Maybe I was [asked] — I don't know. I've done this before with other bands a couple of times, but it had been a while. And it's always, obviously, unexpected. So, it was just a matter of, 'Okay. Yeah.'"
As previously reported, AEROSMITH is among the artists that will perform at the 2020 Grammy Awards on January 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AEROSMITH will also be honored as the 2020 MusiCares Person Of The Year. The tribute will take place during the 30th-anniversary MusiCares benefit gala, two nights prior to the 62nd annual Grammy Awards telecast.
AEROSMITH recently extended its "Deuces Are Wild" Las Vegas residency with 15 more dates in early 2020 due to "extraordinary demand."