Aerosmith drummer and founding member Joey Kramer will not be performing with his bandmates at the group’s scheduled Grammy events this weekend, a Massachusetts court ruled on Wednesday. Kramer filed a lawsuit against the rest of the band, which claimed they unfairly excluded him from rejoining the group following temporary injuries he suffered.
In Wednesday’s court ruling obtained by Rolling Stone, the judge denied Kramer’s breach of contract claims, ruling that he will not be allowed to perform with the band at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala on Friday or at the Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday. The ruling cites, “As Kramer concedes, nothing in the parties’ Agreement creates specific rights or obligations with respect to the procedures to be followed when a member of the band desires to return from a temporary incapacity or disability. The Agreement is simply silent on that issue.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Kramer acknowledged the suit was “a bit of an uphill battle,” but he “did the right thing.” “Although I’m extremely disappointed by the Judge’s ruling today, I respect it. I knew filing a lawsuit was a bit of an uphill battle considering that the corporate documents don’t reference any process for a band member returning from an injury or illness,” Kramer said. “However, the band waited until January 15th to tell me that they weren’t letting me play at the awards ceremonies this week. I can hold my head high knowing that I did the right thing — to fight for my right to celebrate the band’s success that I have dedicated the better part of my life to helping build.
“The truth speaks for itself. Ever since I injured my foot last August and went through many hours of physical therapy to heal, not once did the band in its entirety offer to rehearse with me. That is a fact,” Kramer continued in his statement. “I was also sent the full rehearsal schedule on January 18th and flew to LA the next day to rehearse and have many texts and emails stating the band can’t wait for my return. That’s also a fact. When I showed up to rehearse, I was greeted by two security guards who prohibited me from entering.”
Kramer’s lawsuit claimed he had incurred a few minor injuries last spring, which sidelined him from participating in the band’s Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency. By the fall, Kramer claims, he was ready to rejoin the group, but the suit alleges he was rebuffed in ways that were inconsistent with the terms laid out in Aerosmith’s band contract. This included him essentially re-auditioning for the band by recording himself performing solo to a click track, something that was never required when other members had suffered injuries that kept them from the stage.
In the court ruling, the judge wrote, “Notwithstanding Kramer’s assertion that the band’s past practice has been to permit a member to return with no questions asked, the parties’ affidavits suggest a good faith dispute whether it’s in Aerosmith’s best interest to allow Kramer to participate in the unique MusiCares and Grammy Award performances, which will occur in mere days. The defendants have expressed a willingness to allow Kramer to return to the residency performances in the spring, following an adequate opportunity for the band to rehearse.”
In response to Kramer’s lawsuit, the other members of Aerosmith said in a statement that there was not enough time for the drummer to adequately rehearse and rejoin the band for the Grammy performances. “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,” they said. “We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage.”
Kramer also addressed his bandmates’ response in his statement on Wednesday. “The band’s offer to allow me to participate in this week’s MusiCares and Grammy celebrations for red carpet photo ops only, is appreciated; however, with a fill-in drummer playing on stage at two events honoring our collective musical contributions, it is extremely hurtful to me,” Kramer continued in his statement. “I am a professional musician who is eager to return to my rightful place with Aerosmith.
“I want to thank my fans for the incredible outpouring of support and for sharing my goal of taking my place on stage as one of the five founding members of Aerosmith and continuing to play the music I love.”
Aerosmith is scheduled to perform at the 2020 Grammy Awards this Sunday, January 26th, as well as during a tribute show in their honor, January 24th, as they accept the MusiCares Person of the Year award. They are also set to resume their Las Vegas residency later this month.