For more than 30 years, Joey Kramer, drummer of Aerosmith, has successfully combined emotion with technical virtuosity to convey the musical ideas of his band mates. His meticulous timing and solid grooves have contributed to the sound of Aerosmith albums such as Toys In The Attic, Rocks, Permanent Vacation, Pump, and Just Push Play.
Aerosmith has accomplished tremendous world-wide success with over 100 million albums sold and sold out shows all over the world. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001; they’ve received two People’s Choice Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, eight American Music Awards, 23 Boston Music Awards, 12 MTV Video Awards, four Grammys, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing." They were also selected as one of the Best Rock Bands by Rolling Stone and Hit Parader magazines and were chosen as the first rock band to be honored as MTV Icons.
Blast got a chance to talk to Joey Kramer who disclosed his personal breakthrough to success by releasing his own autobiography last year.
BLAST: You released your autobiography "Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top" last year. In the book, you mentioned many issues, such as your drug abuse problem, relationship issue with your father, and the battle with Steven Tyler. When confronting all these issues, what did you try to let the audience know?
JOEY KRAMER: Well, you don’t have to be a rock star to crash…and you know, those things can happen to anybody. And they happened to me and I had to deal with them.
BLAST: Aerosmith released the autobiography "Walk This Way" in 1997. What made you want to write your own autobiography as "Joey Kramer" not "Joey Kramer of Aerosmith"?
JK: Well because I wanted people to know about all the stuff I had gone through and combination with what life is like being in the band, being in Aerosmith. So the combination of the two I thought was interesting to read. And that’s why I wrote it.
BLAST: You’ve talked about that your father’s strict attitude towards you really gave you an opportunity to play the drums because you can actually hit the drums. Could you tell me how influential he was?
JK: Yeah, because of the way he treated me, the drums became the outlet for me. And that was the fuel, that I was abused, to play the drums because you know, the way he treated me was a bad way and I needed some place to go with it. So when I discovered the drums, that was my cynical outlet for the abuse that I took from my father.
BLAST: So would you say it ended up being positive?
JK: Ummmmm, well, yeah, I would say so, yeah. Definitely. I think so, yeah. The way ended up being positive even though it was, you know, the father’s attitude was mean. You think it’s as an outlet, you know, for my aggression and my anger but it definitely…end[ed] up being a positive thing.
BLAST: When your father passed away, Aerosmith was making the album "Nine Lives" and you took a break because of too much depression and anxiety. But you overcame the situation and came back. What would you want to say to those people who have been suffering from the similar problems?
JK: Well, yes, do stick with it and you have to have a desire to wanna get better, you know. A lot of people are lazy about that and complain about what is wrong, but a lot them are not willing to really do anything about it.
BLAST: Parents tend to say something like "do this" or "do that" to their kids when they are young. And they really struggle and suffer but they do not always find the solution like your drums and they might shut them down.
JK: Oh yeah. Well, if you have a dream, I would say, "Go for it." And then you can make dreams come true. But you have to really have a desire and believe in yourself. And you know, that’s basically what I had when I was a young kid. I was awakened enough to believe what it is when I was doing. You know, I would rather attribute it to being a young kid because I didn’t know about the stuff that I know as an adult.
BLAST: You revealed your personal fragile side in the book. People might tend to see you as "Joey Kramer, a drummer of a monster rock band Aeromsith." But how would you define your identity as "Joey Kramer"?
JK: Umm, you know, I think of myself as just a man, an ordinary man, just, you know, try to make my way in the world. And, I don’t consider myself to be anything special.
BLAST: Your iPhone app just came out!
JK: Oh yes!
BLAST: Are you an iPhone user yourself?
JK: As a matter of fact, I am really not! I am just a drum user.
BLAST: How is it different to do a show with another band as you did with James Montgomery Blues Band two weeks ago?
JK: Well, it’s definitely lots of fun just because of the fact it’s different. You know, I just need to do something that’s fun when we all too often don’t do anything.
BLAST: It was great, by the way. I had so much fun.
JK: Oh exactly. You were there?
BLAST: Yes I was in the front row.
JK: Oh great!
BLAST: When Tom Hamilton was singing, I was like "Wow." Yes, it was. He just came by without a bass guitar and I wondered what he was gonna do, and he started singing so I was like, "Oh my gosh."
JK: Yeah, right! (laughs) That was pretty funny.
JK: Yeah. (Laughs)
BLAST: Aerosmith just announced a tour in South America, Europe, and the UK this summer. Aren’t you excited to be back on the road?
JK: Oh yes, really. I am looking forward to be out there and playing again.
BLAST: What’s the theme of "Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock" tour? Who named it?
JK: Ah, Joe. Oh just we are ready to go, ready to get out there and kick some ass.