Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer Will Not Be Allowed to Play at MusiCares, Court Rules

Michele Amabile Angermiller

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Drummer Joey Kramer, a founding member of Aerosmith who’s been with the band for five decades, will not be joining his groupmates onstage at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala on Friday, Jan. 24, a Massachusetts court ruled today (Jan. 22). Kramer sued the band — comprised of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford — for not allowing him to play following a temporary disability.

Kramer argued that he had healed enough to play the band’s Vegas residency by Fall, but according to documents filed, the band members decreed that his playing level wasn’t in top form and insisted on at least two weeks of rehearsals. In July 2019, the band opined that Kramer was not able to properly operate the pedal on his bass drum and he hasn’t performed with them since. Furthermore, the filing discloses, Kramer entered a rehabilitation clinic for dependency issues but left early “against the recommendation of his addiction counselor.”

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The court ruled to deny his petition based on a 1990 employment agreement drawn up with the members of Aerosmith which does not specifically address temporary illnesses so as to negate his breach of contract claim.

Further, since Kramer as a member of the band shares in its earnings — and MusiCares is a benefit concert to raise funds for musicians in need of health assistance — to not perform at the event does not impact his finances negatively nor does it create new rights, the Commonwealth decided.

Kramer had previously told TMZ, “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 traveled to Los Angeles in time for a Jan. 20 rehearsal but was turned away by security, states the decision by Justice Mark C. Gildea. Kramer is however invited to join the band on the red carpet and to pose for photos. It’s as yet unclear whether he’ll attend.

Slated to pay tribute to Aerosmith at MusiCares are Gary Clark Jr., Foo Fighters, H.E.R., John Legend, John Mayer, Alice Cooper, Jonas Brothers, Emily King and Yola, among others. 

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