Mike Portnoy has blasted AEROSMITH for not allowing drummer Joey Kramer to perform with the band at this weekend’s Grammy Awards.
Earlier this week, Kramer sued his bandmates, claiming he is being blocked from playing at the Grammys.
An original member of the legendary rock group, Kramer last performed with AEROSMITH in April 2019 before suffering what was described at the tume as a “shoulder injury.” Other reports have indicated that he also injured an ankle.
For the past eight months, AEROSMITH has been performing with a stand-in drummer, Kramer’s drum tech John Douglas.
Portnoy weighed in on the AEROSMITH drummer situation during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation” on Tuesday (January 21).
“I think it’s ridiculous — ridiculous,” the former DREAM THEATER and current SONS OF APOLLO drummer said. “Where’s the loyalty? You’ve seen ’em recently. Joey seemed — maybe he’s not the way he was when he was in his 20s and 30s, but he seemed like he was pulling his weight.
“We’ve seen this with Bill Ward not being allowed to do the [BLACK] SABBATH tour and Peter Criss not being able to do a KISS tour,” he continued. “So, yeah, there’s something to be said if somebody physically can’t do it, but I think Joey’s saying that he can. That’s all AEROSMITH is gonna do if they have a big event — they’re gonna do ‘Walk This Way’ or ‘Dream On’ or whatever. You mean to tell me Joey can’t play that? There’s gotta be loyalty. I think there’s something to be said for loyalty to an original member.”
After celebrity gossip site TMZ reported on Tuesday that Kramer had filed a lawsuit against his bandmates claiming they are refusing to allow him to perform with them when they appear on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast, the drummer issued a statement, saying that being “removed from his “rightful place on stage to celebrate” AEROSMITH’s success “is just plain wrong.”
AEROSMITH members Steven Tyler (vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass) and Brad Whitford (guitar) later responded to Kramer’s suit in a statement to People, saying Joey “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. 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.”
A source close to the band confirmed to People that Kramer had to “test” for AEROSMITH’s performances this week, but says it was a result of the drummer failing to attend multiple planned rehearsals.
“They had been inviting him to come back for the last six months since he’s been away for whatever medical situation he’s been dealing with,” the source says. “He said, ‘Yes, I’ll come and rehearse’ and kept not showing up. On the eve of the Grammys and MusiCares, he wanted to be back.”
According to the source, the band felt Kramer “wasn’t capable” of performing at a level their fans were used to after listening to his demo.
AEROSMITH will perform at the 2020 Grammy Awards on January 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AEROSMITH will also be honored as the 2020 MusiCares Person Of The Year. The tribute will take place during the 30th-anniversary MusiCares benefit gala, two nights prior to the 62nd annual Grammy Awards telecast.
AEROSMITH recently extended its “Deuces Are Wild” Las Vegas residency with 15 more dates in early 2020 due to “extraordinary demand.”
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 30 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
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