UPDATED: There’s a big controversy in the Aerosmith camp as the Rock Hall of Fame band celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
The band reportedly will not let founding drummer Joey Kramer perform this weekend when Aerosmith is honored as the Recording Academy’s MusiCares Person of the Year in a fundraiser on Friday and again on Sunday’s Grammy Awards.
According to TMZ, Kramer suffered a shoulder injury last year that required him to miss several shows in April during Aerosmith’s residency in Las Vegas. His drum tech, John Douglas, filled in.
However, Kramer did perform with Aerosmith in July at the Twin Cities Summer Jam. No one seemed to complain about his performance.
This month, Kramer was required to “audition” for his own job by playing to a click track, and he apparently did not pass the test.
He has filed a lawsuit and issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:
“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 added: “Being prohibited from playing with a band that I have given 50 years of my life to supporting, is beyond devastating.”
Late Tuesday, the other four members of Aerosmith -- Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford -- responded with a statement:
"Joey Kramer is our brother; his well-being 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. 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. 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."
The band pointed out that Kramer filed a lawsuit on the Friday night of the holiday weekend before the Grammys, with a limited window to prepare for the Grammy-related performances. The band invited the drummer to join him on the podium but not for performance. "We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage," the statement said..
This may be the craziest development in the crazy life of Aerosmith since the impatient band auditioned potential temporary new singers in 2009 when Tyler was off in Hollywood being a judge on “American Idol.”
On Sunday’s Grammy Awards, Aerosmith is expected to play “Walk This Way” with Run D.M.C. The collaboration was a big hit in 1986.