Aerosmith in Turmoil: Rolling Stone's 2009 Interviews

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Joey Kramer

What's the current status of Aerosmith?
Steven actually was quoted as saying that he wants to do what he's calling "brand Tyler." And his management contacted us and told us that he wanted to take two years to do that and we really haven't heard anything to the contrary so that's all we have to go on at the moment. But at the same time, we're not gonna... two years is a long time.

How long have you guys not been speaking to Steven?
Well, the reality of it is that it's been going on basically since Sturgis but I have reached out a number of times to call Steven or text him and I haven't gotten any reply from him. So they only contact that we've had has been via e-mail from his management and that's the way that it is.

How did you feel about Steven getting his own management?
I wasn't really happy about it because it just kind of splits up the tribe, you know, and then you have two different camps to go back and forth from and it really confuses things.

Are you guys thinking about hiring a new singer?
Um... well, yeah. It's hard to imagine getting onstage without the guy. And you know make no mistake about it, I love the guy, Steven's been my brother for 40 years and I've always been there for him and I'll always be there for him and you know, I can only hope and pray and you know... I'm sorry, this is kind of emotional for me. But you know I hope that Steven takes the time to put the focus on Steven and get healthy and take care of himself.

What do you mean by "get healthy?"
Well, you know, really the truth of that is something that only Steven can answer and I'm not really at liberty to discuss it, you'd have to speak with him or his management.

Is the rest of the band on the same page about hiring a new singer?
Yeah, it's the kind of thing where writers write and dancers dance. Playing music is what we do and it's what we want to continue to do and it's who we are. We have a 40th anniversary coming up and we all would like to celebrate that with our fans out on the road and everybody deserves to take part in that, and that's what we've been talking about. There's really no way to replace Steven but like I said, Joe and Brad and Tom and I plan to, we want to continue to tour. And we have a real milestone coming up and we want to celebrate it.

Do you think you'd hire somebody famous?
It's hard to even imagine getting up there without Steven but... I don't know, there's people that we've been kicking around but it's really a difficult thing.

Are the people that you have been talking about, are they known people or are they more unknown people?
Yeah, they're known people. They're famous singers.

How did you interpret Steven's surprise appearance at Joe's solo gig?
I think that was very self-serving and I think that... first of all I know that Joe didn't know anything about it and Steven just kind of popped up onstage and he left just as fast as he got there. So what do you make of it? He was just confusing the issue about the band breaking up or him leaving.

How would you describe the songs you cut with Brendan O'Brien last year?
The closest thing I could say is they were probably closer to old school Aerosmith stuff like Toys or Rocks — the older stuff.

Did Steven and you guys argue over the sound of the album?
Well yeah, man, we're brothers, we're 40 years, there's always going to be disagreements. There have been musical differences since day one that this band started, that's a big part of what makes this band happen the way that it does. It's 40 years of insanity and a big part of it is musical differences but that's that's what makes it Aerosmith — the pushing and the pulling and everybody's different opinions and how they feel, that's what makes it go down the way that it is. That's what Aerosmith's all about. And the fact that we can find ourselves and relate to one another inside of that insanity for all of this time. I found my sanity inside the insanity which is what my book is all about.

Steven likes stuff that's a little bit more pop and radio-oriented and I do too, and I like all the other stuff as well. Like I said that's what we're all about. But at the same time, you know, you gotta make it work.

Joe told me he didn't like Just Push Play.
Well. I'm gonna go against my brother and say that I like that record. I like the songs on it. I happen to have worked really hard on that record and changed a lot of my style of playing and learned about a lot of new things and new ways of playing and I had a really good time with Marty Frederickson doing it.

More Q&As:

Joe Perry

Brad Whitford

Former Aerosmith A&R Rep John Kalodner

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