Why were Aerosmith sued by their founding drummer Joey Kramer ahead of the GRAMMYs?

23 January 2020, 10:33 | Updated: 23 January 2020, 10:36

A judge has ruled against Kramer's lawsuit against Steve Tyler and co. Find out why the Walk This Way drummer sued them in the first place.

This week the strange news broke that Aerosmith were being sued by their founding drummer Joey Kramer.

Steven Tyler and co are set to celebrate a landmark weekend, where they will reunite with the surviving members of Run DMC at the GRAMMYs for a joint performance of their trailblazing Walk This Way collaboration.

As well as this, the band will play a medley of some of their most iconic hits to celebrate becoming the 2020 MusicCares' Person of the Year.

But one member of the band - original drummer Joey Kramer - was less than happy with how events unfolded and filed a lawsuit against is bandmates.

Find out why he's sued the band below...

Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Steven Tyler, and Joe Perry
Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Steven Tyler, and Joe Perry. Picture: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fes

Why did Joey Kramer sue Aerosmith?

Kramer has accused the band - who are also comprised of founding members Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford - of shutting him out of their performance at the awards ceremony, and the honour they will celebrate on the night.

"Being prohibited from playing with a band that I have given 50 years of my life to supporting, is beyond devastating," the Pink sticksman said in a statement to USA TODAY.

"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."

The drummer continued: "This is not about money. I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers, for our collective, lifetime contributions to the music industry. Neither … can ever be repeated."

"Other band members and their lawyers will likely … claim that I am unable to play the drums right now. Nothing could be further from the truth," Kramer said. "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: "I hope our fans can understand that all I’m trying to do is get back to playing with the band that they love – and that’s Aerosmith with all five original members," he added. "The greatest magic and success of Aerosmith happens when all the band’s founding members are together in the house."

What did Aerosmith say?

Steve Tyler and co responded to the suit, releasing a statement to People magazine, in which they call Kramer their "brother" and claim he is not "emotionally and physically" fit to perform with the band.

Read the full statement here: “Joey Kramer is our brother; his wellbeing 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.”

The statement continues: “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. Compounding this, he chose to file a lawsuit on the Friday night of the holiday weekend preceding the Grammys with total disregard for what is our limited window to prepare to perform these important events. 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.  We are bonded together by much more than our time on stage.”

What was the result?

A judge has sided with Aerosmith in the battle.

According to TMZ, the judge explained: "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 court ruled to deny his breach of contract petition based on a 1990 employment agreement for the band members, which does not specifically address temporary illnesses.

The 62nd GRAMMY Awards takes place on Sunday 26 January and will be hosted again by Alicia Keys.

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