Just three weeks ago, relations between Aerosmith and their drummer Joey Kramer were so strained that security guards refused him entry to their Grammy rehearsals.
But Monday night in Las Vegas, they welcomed him back onto the stage for a full set at their ongoing Deuces Are Wild residency at the MGM Grand. It was his first appearance with the band since he was sidelined by an injury in April 2019.
The situation between Kramer and his bandmates got so bad last month that he took them to court to try to force his way back into the group. “This is not about money,” Kramer said in a statement. “I am being deprived of the opportunity to be recognized along with my peers for our collective lifetime contributions to the music industry. Neither the MusiCares’ Person of the Year Award nor the Grammys’ Lifetime Achievement honors can ever be repeated.” Aerosmith were given both honors sans Kramer.
The lawsuit revealed that Kramer was forced to play along to a click track in rehearsals to prove his abilities and that the band voted four to one to keep him out. They even made him pay for his replacement, John Douglas, from his cut of their profits from the Vegas show.
“Joey Kramer is our brother; his well-being is of paramount importance to us,” the band said in a statement. “However, he has not been emotionally and physically able to perform with the band, by his own admission, for the last six 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.”
Kramer appeared with the band at the MusiCares ceremony for photos but wasn’t allowed to perform. It made for what seemed to be a rather awkward situation, but the band has a long history of overcoming tension. Joe Perry quit the band in 1979 and Brad Whitford followed a couple of years later, but they both returned in 1985. Twenty-four years later, tensions with Steven Tyler were so bad after he fell off the stage at a South Dakota show and derailed a tour, the band openly discussed the possibility of hiring a new singer.
Despite all that turmoil, the band has somehow held onto the same five-man lineup that recorded its first LP back in 1972. This was a particularly ugly chapter in the group’s saga, but it seems that, at least for now, all is well again in the world of Aerosmith.