Dream On: The Inspirational Story of Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer

October 12, 2023

When you think of the iconic beats that propelled Aerosmith to rock legend status, you’re tapping into the rhythm of Joey Kramer. 

But who is Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer, really? 

Beyond the drumsticks and the spotlight, Kramer’s journey is a symphony of passion, challenges, and unwavering dedication to his craft. 

Dive in and discover the man behind some of rock’s most unforgettable beats.

Early Life

Born on June 21, 1950, in the Bronx, New York City, Joey Kramer discovered his love for drumming in a city that pulsed with rhythm. From a young age, it was evident that Joey had a budding talent for percussion, even though his family wasn’t particularly musical. 

Regardless, they recognized his potential and supported his musical inclinations. Joey’s journey with drumming started at a tender age, and he was self-taught, learning and honing his skills through practice and determination.

Career

Before the fame with Aerosmith, Joey Kramer explored the music scene with various bands. In the early 1970s, he was a member of The Institution, a seminal New Jersey garage band. This band had the opportunity to play a gig where the early Bruce Springsteen band Steel Mill opened for them at Newark State College on November 25, 1970.

Joey is credited with originating the name Aerosmith, a name he conceived while listening to Harry Nilsson’s album Aerial Ballet in 1968, two years before Aerosmith was formed. And to clear the air, Joey insists there’s no connection between the name “Aerosmith” and Sinclair Lewis’ novel Arrowsmith.

Before his big break, Joey moved to Boston, attended Berklee College of Music, and even worked with Chubby & the Turnpikes, who later became known as Tavares, alongside Bernie Worrell. 

Then came the Aerosmith era, where he became the heartbeat of the band, contributing iconic beats to hits and earning accolades, including being instrumental in Aerosmith’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Notable Performances

Joey Kramer has had several standout performances, but his drumming at the 1994 Woodstock Festival was truly electrifying. 

He showcased his unparalleled skills, leaving the audience in awe and the beats resonating throughout the venue. Another remarkable performance was at the 2001 Super Bowl Halftime Show, where he had millions moving to the rhythm of his drums.

Notable Collaborations

The rhythm of Joey Kramer knows no boundaries! He has had the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of artists, infusing his signature drumming style into numerous tracks. 

A notable collaboration was with Slash and Alice Cooper, resulting in a legendary fusion of rock. But that’s not all! Joey’s work with Run-D.M.C. on the remix of “Walk This Way” was groundbreaking and continues to be celebrated in the music industry.

Awards & Accolades

  • Grammy Awards: Joey Kramer, as a part of Aerosmith, has won multiple Grammy Awards, showcasing the band’s musical excellence.
  • American Music Awards: The band’s contribution to rock music has been recognized with several American Music Awards.
  • MTV Video Music Awards: Aerosmith, with Kramer on drums, has bagged numerous MTV Video Music Awards.
  • MusiCares Person of the Year: Aerosmith was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year, highlighting their influence in the music industry.

Discography

  • Studio Albums: Aerosmith has released 15 studio albums, each contributing to their legendary status.
    • Aerosmith (1973)
    • Get Your Wings (1974)
    • Toys in the Attic (1975)
    • Rocks (1976)
    • Draw the Line (1977)
    • Night in the Ruts (1979)
    • Rock in a Hard Place (1982)
    • Done with Mirrors (1985)
    • Permanent Vacation (1987)
    • Pump (1989)
    • Get a Grip (1993)
    • Nine Lives (1997)
    • Just Push Play (2001)
    • Honkin’ on Bobo (2004)
    • Music from Another Dimension! (2012)

Live Albums: The band has 6 live albums, capturing the energy of their performances.

Compilation Albums: Aerosmith has 16 compilation albums, offering a diverse range of their hits.

Extended Plays: The discography also includes 2 extended plays, showcasing their versatility in music.

Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer

Aerosmith Drummer Joey Kramer Drum Kit

  • Joey Kramer utilizes three distinct drum kits: Masterworks Series, Crystal Beat, and Masters MCX, each with a unique finish and configuration by John Douglas.
  • The kits include a variety of components:
    • Bass drum size: 24×18
    • Tom sizes range from 13×10 to 18×16
    • Diverse snare drum options are available across the kits, including Hybrid Exotic Cast Aluminum, Reference Series, UltraCast, and Sensitone Elite brass snare drums.
  • He employs Avedis Zildjian cymbals featuring:
    • 15″ A Custom Rezo hi-hats
    • 19″ A Custom projection crash
    • 20″ A crash/ride
    • 21″ A mega bell bell ride
    • 14″ A Custom mastersound hi-hats
    • 19″ K Custom Hybrid China
  • Joey uses Zildjian Joey Kramer signature sticks in green dip.
  • The drum kits are equipped with a range of hardware, including P3000C Demon Chain pedal, H2050 hi-hat stand, S1030 snare stands, ICON Rack System, BC1030 boom stands, RH2000 remote hi-hat, D1000SPN throne, and UX80S universal clamps.

Influences

Joey Kramer’s drumming style has been shaped by a myriad of influences, stemming from a deep appreciation for rhythm and blues. He has cited artists such as Clyde Stubblefield, who played with James Brown, Mitch Mitchell, and Dino Danelli from the Rascals, as significant influences on his musical journey. 

These artists have contributed to the unique and powerful style that Joey brings to Aerosmith, adding a heavy rhythm and blues touch to the band’s sound.

Style

When diving into Joey Kramer’s drumming, one is met with a fusion of raw power and intricate finesse. His style, a blend of emotional feel and technical virtuosity, is unmistakable and has been influenced by rock legends and jazz maestros. 

Joey emphasizes the importance of feeling a connection with the drums, stating that drumming is not just about hitting hard and making sounds but about precise timing and solid grooves. This approach has led to his dynamic and versatile drumming style, which has had a profound influence on rock drummers worldwide.

Personal Life

Joey Kramer has experienced both joys and sorrows in his personal life. He was married to Linda Kramer, who he called “the love of his life.” Sadly, Linda passed away in June 2022 at the age of 55. 

The couple did not have any children together, but Joey is the father of Jesse Sky Kramer. Despite the challenges, Joey continues to find solace and expression in his music, sharing his passion and talent with fans around the world.

FAQ

Why is Joey Kramer out of Aerosmith?

Joey Kramer has taken a temporary leave of absence from Aerosmith. In 2019, he missed some shows during Aerosmith’s Las Vegas residency due to an injury suffered in a “minor accident.” 

In 2020, he sued the rest of Aerosmith for breach of contract, alleging he was being blocked from performing after suffering “minor injuries.” In 2022, he decided to sit out the band’s concerts to focus his full attention on his family and health. Source

How long was Joey Kramer with Aerosmith?

Joey Kramer has been with Aerosmith since its formation in 1970, enjoying a tenure that spanned more than 50 years. However, he will not join his bandmates for their farewell tour. Source

How much is the drummer from Aerosmith worth?

As of 2023, Joey Kramer, the drummer from Aerosmith, has a net worth of $100 million.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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