Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer had to “Draw the Line” when bandmates asked him to audition to perform at the 2020 Grammy Awards and at MusiCares. Kramer filed a lawsuit on Friday in Massachusetts claiming he is being prevented from performing with his bandmates on stage when they’re honored by the Recording Academy with the Lifetime Achievement Award and by MusiCares as their collective Person of the Year.
Aerosmith released a response to Kramer’s claims, saying it’s the drummer’s health that prevented him from playing and nothing else. They call Kramer “our brother” and state that above all, “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,” reads the statement from Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, and Tom Hamilton. “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.”
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They add, “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.”
Kramer released a statement and court documents to EW explaining why he felt the need to file legal documents against his bandmates. He also slams claims that he is not healthy enough to perform.
“Ever since I was 14 years old, I had a set of drumsticks in my hand and a passion to create music,” he writes. “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.”
He adds, “The fact that I would be asked to audition for my own job, demonstrate that I can play at ‘an appropriate level’ and play better than my temporary fill-in with a moving target of made-up standards is both insulting and upsetting. Other band members and their lawyers will likely attempt to disparage my playing and claim that I am unable to play the drums right now. Nothing could be further from the truth. I did everything they asked — jumped through hoops and made both a recording of playing along solo to a recent live recording of the band — one I had never heard before, and that process was videotaped. But I did it, and I did it well.”
Kramer was a founding member of Aerosmith in 1970.
The Grammy Awards will air on Jan. 26, 2020, here’s how you can watch it.