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Judge rejects Joey Kramer’s bid to rejoin band for Grammys

Drummer Joey Kramer, singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform together in 2018. A judge has denied Kramer’s bid to rejoin the band for Grammy week (Charles Sykes/AP)
Drummer Joey Kramer, singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform together in 2018. A judge has denied Kramer’s bid to rejoin the band for Grammy week (Charles Sykes/AP)

A United States judge has rejected Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer’s bid to rejoin the band when they perform and accept an honour during Grammy events this week.

Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Mark Gildea on Wednesday denied Kramer’s request to order the band to let him participate in an award celebration in Los Angeles on Friday as well as in Sunday’s prime time Grammy Awards show.

“Given that Kramer has not played with the band in six months and the dearth of available rehearsal time before the upcoming performances, Kramer has not shown a realistic alternative course of action sufficient to protect the band’s business interests,” the judge’s decision reads in part.

Kramer said in a statement he was “extremely disappointed” but respected Judge Gildea’s decision.

“I knew filing a lawsuit was a bit of an uphill battle,” he said.

“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.”

Aerosmith Drummer Lawsuit
Joey Kramer said he wanted to be recognised along with his long-time bandmates (Jeff Christensen/AP)

The 69-year-old Magnolia, Texas, resident had argued the band, which he helped found in Boston 50 years ago, was in breach of contract because it required him to re-audition for his job after an ankle injury last year which caused him to miss a period of the band’s residency at a Las Vegas casino.

Kramer said in his suit that the band required him to earn his job back by performing a series of solo rehearsals to prove he could play “at an appropriate level”.

He argued the “artificial, made-up and undefined” requirement was “insulting and upsetting” because no other member of the band had been asked to do it before.

Singer Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Bradley Whitford, and bassist Tom Hamilton have all been recently sidelined with injuries and illnesses and weren’t asked to re-audition for their jobs, Kramer noted in his suit.

“This is not about money,” he said in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s hearing in Plymouth, Massachusetts. “I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognised along with my peers, for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry.”

Representatives for Aerosmith did not comment on the judge’s decision.

The band had said previously in a statement they had invited Kramer to join them for the Grammy events, but there was insufficient rehearsal time available for him to play on stage.

“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,” the statement read.

“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.”

Kramer said after Wednesday’s decision he appreciates the band’s offer, which he said amounts to “red carpet photo ops.” But he said it’s still “extremely hurtful” to know someone else will be playing in his place.

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