Aerosmith Founding Member Joey Kramer Sues Bandmates After They Force Him To Re-Audition For His Job

The original drummer failed to pass an audition for the job he held for 50 years.

(L-R) Brad Whitford, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith attend Steven Tyler's Second Annual GRAMMY Awards Viewing Party.
Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images

The original drummer failed to pass an audition for the job he held for 50 years.

Aerosmith’s original drummer is suing his longtime bandmates. Founding member Joey Kramer, who first formed the Boston based music group with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, and guitarist Ray Tabano in 1970, claims he has been stopped from returning to the band as a drummer following a temporary disability leave he took last year.

Kramer filed the suit after allegedly being told he will not be a part of Aerosmith’s highly-anticipated performance at the Grammy Awards next week, after the band is presented with the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year award.

In court documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Kramer claims the band’s contract does not state that a member must “‘prove’ or otherwise demonstrate his ability to perform after a period of temporary disability.”

In the lawsuit, the 69-year-old drummer stated that when he took a few months off in 2019, he was made to pay for his own replacement, John Douglas. Kramer was also told he would have to audition to get back into the group to make sure he’d be able to “play at an appropriate level” following his disability leave.

Kramer’s “re-audition” earlier this month had him playing a “click-track” without his bandmates present. The founding Aerosmith rocker was then allegedly told his performance wasn’t “technically correct” and that he did not “demonstrate he is able to perform as well” as the replacement drummer who had been working with the band during his absence.

The rock star told Rolling Stone that the re-audition for a job he has held for five decades was “insulting.” Kramer added that in Aerosmith’s 50-year history, no other band member “has ever been subjected to this scrutiny let alone be asked to audition for his own job.”

In the comments section to an Instagram post about Aerosmith’s Grammy Awards rehearsals, fans were outraged over the drama and demanded that Kramer be allowed to play with the group he has been a part of for 50 years.

“NO JOEY, NO AEROSMITH!” one fan wrote. “No one in the band is at the top of their game, Joe’s play is sloppy and Tyler can’t do the higher notes anymore.”

“Bring JOEY BACK!” another wrote.

“Where’s Joey? Why the bullsh*t with an original member of 50 yrs? Loyalty? Wtf!!” a third Aerosmith fan added.

“Get a grip and sort this Joey sh*t,” another wrote.

In a statement to Page Six, Aerosmith bandmates Tyler, Perry, Hamilton, and Brad Whitman described Kramer as their “brother.” The Boston rockers went on to say that Kramer has been unable to perform with them for six months and that they have “missed him” and have encouraged him to rejoin, but he has not been ready to do so.

Aerosmith added that Kramer was originally invited to be with them for both the Grammy Awards and their MusiCares honor, but he accepted at the last minute and there is now not sufficient time for him to rehearse.