A judge has told the Aerosmith’s drummer Joey Kramer to dream on if he hopes to rejoin the band as it prepares to perform and be honoured at Grammy events this week.
Massachusetts superior court judge Mark Gildea denied Kramer’s request to order the band to let him participate in an award celebration in Los Angeles on Friday as well as 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.
Kramer said in a statement that he was “extremely disappointed” but respected 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.”
The 69-year-old had argued the band, whose first hit single was 1973’s Dream On, was in breach of contract because it required him to re-audition for his job after an ankle injury last year caused him to miss a chunk of the band’s Las Vegas casino residency.
Kramer, who helped found Aerosmith in Boston 50 years ago, said in his lawsuit 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. The lead singer, Steven Tyler, the guitarists Joe Perry and Bradley Whitford, and the bassist, Tom Hamilton, have all been recently sidelined with injuries and illnesses and weren’t asked to re-audition for their jobs, Kramer said.
“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 didn’t comment on the judge’s decision.
The band has previously said it had invited Kramer to join it for the Grammy events. There just wasn’t enough time to rehearse together for him to play on stage, the band added.
“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 band’s statement reads.
“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 appreciated the band’s offer, which he said amounted to “red carpet photo ops”. But he said it was still “extremely hurtful” to know someone else would be playing in his place.
In his lawsuit, Kramer said his fellow band members deemed his “try out” was not “technically correct” and lacked “energy” – an assessment he strongly disputed. He added it was “devastating” to miss out on being honoured on the music industry’s biggest stage.
“The greatest magic and success of Aerosmith happens when all the band’s founding members are together in the house,” he said. “To be removed from my rightful place on stage to celebrate our success – a success that acknowledges my own life’s work – is just plain wrong.”