Interview: Aerosmith's Joey Kramer

The Aerosmith drummer steps out from behind the kit to talk about his new book, Hit Hard .
By THE SANDBOX  |  June 24, 2009


 Photos of Aerosmith at the Comcast Center
The hard-living lifestyles of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry are well chronicled: the booze, the drugs, the long, flowing caftans. But the band is a quintet, meaning three voices of Boston's most famous rock group have had their mics turned off for too long. In a freewheeling memoir, drummer Joey Kramer finally steps out from behind his famous frontman's shadow and painfully recollects the mountains of drugs they consumed, the slow road to recovery from addiction, and a battle with depression, as well. What follows is a Kramer interview conducted by TheSandbox morning show of 101.7 WFNX (also owned by the Phoenix Media/Communications Group), plus an excerpt from Kramer's book, Hit Hard.

TheSandbox's Charlie: At what point did you decide that it was time to write a book?
Well, it all started about, oh, four and a half years ago, when I was telling people stories about being on the road and stories of my journey through life. And they said, 'Wow, man, you should write a book, you should write a book.' And, you know, being who I am, I didn't really think there'd be any interest in me writing a book — or that anybody would be interested in reading it.

TheSandbox's Special Ed:You talk about hitting rock bottom while you're at the top. Obviously, there's abuse in there. How many times did it take for you to go, "I need to change up things. I need to clean up my act"?
Well, about 20 years worth of drug and alcohol abuse. But what happened really was, when we were putting the band back together . . . well, not that the band had ever completely split up, 'cause Tom and I and Steven held it together. But when Joe and Brad came back into the band and we got Tim Collins as a manager, Tim told us, "Listen, I can help you guys out, but you have to clean up the drugs and the alcohol out of your life." That was pretty much the start of it. And coincidentally, at that point in my life, I was pretty much ready to do that. But I didn't know how . . . I needed the help and I didn't know how to ask for it. [Tim] was there, and fundamentally put us on the road to recovery.

The Sandbox's Fletcher: The book is full of fantastic stories, but did you have hesitations? Did it take some time to consider writing the book?
Not really, because I have this feeling in my heart that there's so many people that are able to relate to the story, and are able to identify with it, that that didn't really cross my mind. Really, my goal with the book is to help people. And, yeah, there are stories in it about the band and my journeys through life, but the thread that runs through the book is the confusion that people have between love and abuse. That is such a time-sensitive subject that so many people, I think and I hope, will relate to.

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Related: Aerosmith's Kramer put the 'Line' in 'Brookline', The end that could have been, The Big Hurt: Dispatches from Splitsville, More more >
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