Aerosmith drummer: Rocker life not that glamorous

By Jenny Kringen

eing a rock star isn't as glamorous as it's made out to be, but Joey Kramer isn't complaining.

Kramer, 46, has been the drummer for rock legend Aerosmith since 1971 when the band came together. Twenty-seven years later, Kramer said if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn't change a thing.

The biggest challenge as the drummer of a several generation-spanning, rock and roll group is keeping the ball rolling.

"Since I'm the engine in the car I've gotta have a full tank all the time," Kramer said, noting it's his job to help keep the band members on their toes.

Kramer said he has always had a strong comraderie with fellow band members Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton.

Even though life with Aerosmith has been rocky at times, professionally and personally, Kramer said he wouldn't change a thing.

"If I hadn't done it then I wouldn't be where I am now."

The "glamorous" day in the life of Kramer while on the road starts with breakfast, a few telephone interviews, leaving the hotel and heading to the airport where the band flies to the next town for the next show, performs then leaves and repeats five or six weeks in a row. The group then takes a few weeks off to relax before the next tour.

Kramer said he enjoys using his free time to work out at the gym and spend time with his wife and two children, aged 16 and 24.

Being on the road is a hard way to raise a family, Kramer conceded.


"But you've got to deal with it," Kramer said. "That's what daddy does."

Kramer also enjoys driving his cars, including his prized twin turbo Porsche. "I just like to pretty much hang out — spend time with friends."

"Work is work," Kramer said of the hectic schedule. When addressing the issue of burn out, Kramer said he couldn't deny it happens from time to time.

"I'd be lying if I said no. You just have to figure ways around it."

A big obsticle Kramer overcame was the death of his father shortly before Aerosmith began recording "Nine Lives." According to the March 1997 issue of Replay magazine, Aerosmith's lead singer Tyler said Kramer was going through a "blue-funk period." With the studio booked and recording sessions pending, the group went ahead without Kramer to record much of its current album.

But Kramer returned and has been hard at it ever since.

"We're going strong," Kramer said of Aerosmith, noting he doesn't see an end of the group any time soon. "I don't know if we've done our best record yet." But of Aerosmith's 12 records, Kramer said his personal favorite has to be "Pump" — a record, he believes, was his best work thus far.

Kramer said he's having more fun now than he has in his many years with Aerosmith.


"Now I know what I'm doing," he said. "Before, it was just a lot of guess work."

Aerosmith was scheduled to visit the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" last weekend for a May 2 concert at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D., May 3 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and today at Mankato until lead singer Tyler hurt his knee forcing the band to postpone the performances.

But Kramer said his band always looks forward to coming to Minnesota.

"It's always been good," Kramer said of Aerosmith's reception in Minnesota. "We like it there. A lot of people probably don't know it, but Minnesota's a pretty rocking state."

Concert cancelled
I had planned to fill this space with the glorious details of Sunday's Aerosmith concert at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

I had worked through Aerosmith's New York office to get press passes to the concert and cover it for the Tempo cover story but something went wrong.

Late last week, Aerosmith's lead singer, Steven Tyler, got a little overzealous or something at a performance in Anchorage, Alaska. During the encore of the band's second sold-out show at the Sullivan Arena, Tyler fell, twisting his knee and tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and some of the surrounding cartilage.

In layman's terms, it was bad news.

Tyler apparently finished the rest of the gig using his microphone stand as a crutch and was rushed to the hospital for an MRI of the knee.

The following morning, Tyler flew with his four band mates to Minneapolis where they are scheduled to be shooting a video for their upcoming single, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," set for release to radio May 13.

While in Minneapolis, Tyler was taken to an orthopedic specialist who confirmed the diagnosis and recommended several days of complete rest to allow the knee inflammation to die down.

The four postponed shows — May 2 at the Fargodome, May 3 at Duluth, May 5 at Mankato and today at Omaha, Neb. — will be rescheduled for later in the summer or early fall. Details are expected to be released within the next few weeks.

According to officials at the Fargodome, ticket holders are encouraged to keep their tickets which will then be honored on the rescheduled date. For patrons who choose not to wait for the postponed date, ticket refunds may be redeemed at the point of purchase.

So, the concert cancellation was a bleak spot in my weekend but I will try again for the next concert and maybe even an interview with Tyler himself.

Yeah, right.