Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer won’t be performing with group at the Grammys, judge says

Drummer Joey Kramer, a founding member of Aerosmith who has played in the rock band for 50 years, won’t be allowed to reclaim his spot when the group is honored at Grammy events this week, according to a Massachusetts judge. 

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Mark Gildea denied Kramer’s right to play alongside Aerosmith at Friday’s MusiCares Person of the Year gala and the  Grammys on Sunday after Kramer sued the band over breach of contract for shutting him out following an injury. 

“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,” Gildea wrote in his decision. 

Kramer said he’s “extremely disappointed” with the judge’s ruling.

“I knew filing a lawsuit was a bit of an uphill battle,” Kramer said in a statement to USA TODAY Wednesday. “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.” 

It’s ‘devastating’: Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer sues band after getting shut out ahead of Grammys

Aerosmith founding drummer Joey Kramer will not play with the band at Sunday's Grammy Awards. (Photo: Christopher Polk, Getty Images for Clear Channel)

Kramer claims he was required to audition for his drumming job to prove he could play at “an appropriate level” after suffering “minor injuries” that forced him to miss several shows in the spring, according to the lawsuit. 

“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,” Kramer said Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, Kramer said that although the band invited him to participate in “red carpet photo ops only” at the MusiCares and Grammy celebrations, “it’s extremely hurtful” that a “fill-in drummer (is) playing on stage at two events honoring our collective musical contributions.”

Kramer added that he was turned away from Aerosmith’s Los Angeles rehearsals over the weekend by two security guards “who prohibited me from entering.”

Aerosmith (L-R) Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford. (Photo: NORMAN SEEFF, GEFFEN RECORDS)

The band’s other founding members – Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford – has said previously they invited Kramer to join them for the Grammy events. There just wasn’t enough time to rehearse together for him to play onstage, the band maintained.

“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 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,” 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.”

USA TODAY reached out to Aerosmith for comment. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band will be honored as the 2020 Person of the Year for MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s charity for musicians in critical financial need, and will return to the Grammys stage in honor of their 50th anniversary.

It’s not clear if Kramer will attend Grammy Awards events. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

More: Aerosmith to be honored as MusiCares’ 2020 Person of the Year

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