AEROSMITH drummer Joey Kramer says that he is feeling "better than ever" two months after undergoing a "minor medical procedure" to remove blockage from inside a coronary artery, forcing him to sit out two of the band's concerts and be temporarily replaced by his son Jesse.
The musician, who had no history of a heart condition prior to this past August's medical scare, told VH1 Classic "That Metal Show" co-host Eddie Trunk during an appearance on the "Eddie Trunk Podcast" ( listen here): "Look, shit happens, and you've gotta make the best of it.
"It wasn't my 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."
He continued: "I used to come off stage fairly winded. Not to say that what I do is easy, but now, I come off stage, and because of all the working out that I do and the time that I spend in the gym, it's really to my benefit, because now I'm flowing a hundred percent, whereas I had some blockage before — they fixed that — and it's better than it ever was."
Asked what symptoms he had that made him seek out medical attention, Kramer said: "I thought that I had what they call acid reflux, and I kept getting this burning sensation in my chest, and that's what I thought it was. So I kept taking antacids. And, finally, my GP [general practitioner] said to me, 'Just to make sure and rule out that it's anything cardiac related, go and take a stress test.' So I went and took the stress test. I got through the echogram [echocardiogram] with flying colors. He said that my cardiovascular system looked like that of a 48- or a 50-year-old, and I'm 64. And then I got on the treadmill, and when I got on the treadmill, it started to bother me a little bit. And so he said he wanted me to go do what they call 'imaging,' and that's what showed the blockage. And then I had an angioplasty done, and they put two stents in my heart. And now I feel better than ever. And so, thanks to modern science, I'm back. My 'recupe' time was, like, five days, and I took seven, and I was back on stage. And now it's better than ever. I feel great and the playing is great. And that's the story."
Kramer also sought to correct erroneous reports about previous heart-related issues, telling Trunk: "The likes of TMZ and some other [media outlets] out there said that I had previous problems, that I had existing heart problems from the past and it was something that I always had, which was just completely not true. I've never had any problems in the past. It's just strictly a hereditary thing. There's a family history, and I was the victim. But no more."
While Joey was recuperating following treatment for a blocked coronary artery, AEROSMITH played two shows with Kramer's son, Jesse Sky Kramer, filling in behind the kit for his father.
"[Jesse] had been teching for me for, like, two years, [since] the tour before last, so he actually sat and got a lot of that stuff by osmosis and hadn't been playing for about a year, so he was kind of out of practice," Joey said. "But he did really well. They had one day's rehearsal in L.A. and they went out on the stage and he knocked it out."
AEROSMITH's decision to use a fill-in drummer for two concerts provided Joey with a unique opportunity to witness one of the legendary group's performances without being up on stage alongside his bandmates.
"I saw out in the audience and watched AEROSMITH live," Joey said. "I'm the only member of the band that's ever gotten to do that." He went on to describe the experience as "pretty strange. But it sounded great, and I was thoroughly impressed with the lights and the sound and everybody's playing. And it just made me proud to have a son that could do that, and it made me proud to know that I was a part of what was happening on stage and that that was my spot. It really brought me to realize what my place is in life, and that's where I'm meant to be, and that's where I'm supposed to be, and that's my seat, and nothing will ever change that. And it became very clear to me when I sat in the audience and watched that… But it was also really good to realize and understand the amount of support that's out there, and the amount of strong love and support that comes from the fans and from all the people that I communicate to on Twitter. And it made me feel so good that it really gave me a lot of strength."
AEROSMITH bassist Tom Hamilton recently told GMI Rock that "[Jesse] did a fantastic job" filling in for his dad. "He's really familiar with our material, because he works for Joey as Joey's drum tech.
"We rehearsed Jesse two years ago, when Joey had another problem with his shoulder, and we thought we'd not be able to have him play. Jesse stepped right in there; he was a little rusty, and there were some pretty funny moments during the show. But it all went through, and he basically saved our ass."
Guitarist Joe Perry told The Pulse Of Radio that he and the rest of the guys in AEROSMITH realize that age is a tremendous factor in the professional decisions they make. "You realize you're not an immortal, and you don't have this 22-year-old feeling of 'this thing can go on forever,' and y'know, 'I can do whatever I want, I can go for three nights without sleep and everything will be fine,'" he said. "You start to realize that it's a very delicate thing, life is a delicate thing, and being able to perform at the top of your game is a delicate thing. And it's one of those changes, y'know, that comes over. I'm still amazed that we can put on the kind of show that we put on. Every night could be our last."