Aerosmith’s drummer, Joey Kramer, participated in the Rock N’ Roll Fantasy camp program with a virtual Master Class via Zoom on 2020/08/31. He interacted with +25 fans from around the world for 120 minutes, including drumming advise, inspiration for young musicians, stories about the writing process of Aerosmith‘s songs, a potential follow-up to his 2009 autobiography, his involvement in co-writing songs with the band, new details about his 1981 band “Renegade” and, what’s most important to us, new details about the upcoming boxset of unreleased material.
The BackBurner: Our question is about your unreleased work, over the last few years we’ve become increasingly interested in this topic but there’s very limited information about it on the internet, so we wanted to maybe ask you to share a little bit more details about them. We’ve heard that songs like Meltdown, Loretta and Yo Mama were outtakes that you really liked, and there’s also a rumor that you still have the master tapes from the 1981 band that you started, Renegade, and recently Tom Hamilton shared that the band was starting work on a box set, so my question is, is it true? are you gonna push for one particular song that you really like? or that you worked on that you wrote? and what about Renegade? if the recordings are done why not just release them and start collecting royalties?Conversation with Joey Kramer Rock N’ Roll Fantasy’s MasterClass 2020/08/31
Joey Kramer: From Renegade?
The BackBurner: Yeah, I mean, it can happen, fans are interested, I can tell you that.
Joey Kramer: Yeah I’m surprised, that’s a pleasant surprise that you even know about Renegade. That was at a time when Joe first left the band and then Brad left and Jimmy Crespo replaced Joe yeah and then things were beginning to get a little flaky so I decided that I didn’t want to stop playing and I didn’t want to stop doing what I was doing, so I recruited Tom on bass, and Marge Raymond, who’s singing I always loved, and Jimmy on guitar, and Bob Mayo, for those who don’t know who Bob Mayo is, he was Peter Frampton’s right-hand guy and um and he played with uh foreigner for years, we lost Bob a few years ago to his addiction, he was unfortunately a drug addict for many many years and he’s one of us that didn’t make it.
As far as stuff that’s gonna be released or not gonna be released, you know we’re like kind of sorting through all of that stuff now, there’s so much of it man, there’s so much footage of us playing live and recordings of us playing live, in outtakes from albums and, all the amount of stuff that’s around, it’s difficult to go through and it’s difficult to decide.
It’s like trying to decide and put a set together at night before you go on stage, you got like 125 songs to choose from and you got to play the best 18 of them, how the hell do you do that? that’s why we switch stuff up sometimes at night and that’s why it’s so hard it’s really hard, and i hate it when people are disappointed because we didn’t play the song that they wanted to play and I argue with my partners all the time about, you know, we need to play these songs and this song and this one because that’s what the kids want to hear, they’re paying their money to come and listen to us play the songs that they know the words to and that they can sing along to and that they enjoy, we’re not there to play songs that we like, I mean it’s great if we like them but that’s not, I never felt as though that’s what the whole thing was all about, I always felt as though it was about giving to our fans, what it is that they wanted, that’s why we’re there, because of the fans, because of you guys, and that’s what I’m grateful for all the time, where would we be without our fans, nowhere, absolutely.
The answer answer to your question is I don’t really know, you know we’ve been in in the process of sorting all that shit out for a long time, so the answer to your question is I don’t know, I don’t really have the answer, I’m sorry that I don’t, but that’s kind of just the way it is.
The BackBurner: It’s fine, I hope it really happens, we fans really want to get some more Aerosmith released officially, and about Renegade, it would be like a hidden gem in the box set if you include maybe one of them.
Joey Kramer: Yeah, the Renegade stuff the renegade stuff I don’t even know if it still exists, I would have to get in touch with…
The BackBurner: Well, Marge has a recording of demos in a tape, that she said, I heard you speaking in in an interview with Eddie Trunk and you mentioned that you still have the master tapes, so I thought, well if he has the master tape, why not just get it digitalized and…
Joey Kramer: Well I don’t have the master tapes in my possession, but they may very well be around, although at the same time, you know, if the tape wasn’t converted to digital, if it wasn’t digitized the molecules start falling off the tape and the tape starts to disintegrate after a certain amount of time, and that was quite a while ago.
The BackBurner: Absolutely, I understand, the final thing I wanted to share with you it’s Tom recently also played a bass riff that he was playing that he was working on I figured out how to play it and I put some of your drum loops, the one from Round and Round, and it yeah, it’s amazing, so i’m just gonna leave the link on the on the chat, maybe it’s something that you want to revisit with him or the band, but I mean it would be amazing if you get that recorded because it burns, and it’s you playing, it’s just you don’t know it. Anyway, thank you so much, it’s gonna be amazing.
Joey Kramer: You’re so welcome, thank you man.
Later on he also talked about the song “Tramp”:
…there was another one that I wrote with my friend called Peppy, Peppy Castro, we wrote a song together called “Tramp” that Steven always loved, and we were going to do it, but it never got done. There’s a basic track of it someplace, we did a basic track of it when we were in Little Mountain, doing Permanent Vacation and Pump, but the song never got to see the light of day.
- His drums during the recording of Pump were placed in a truck loading dock, this helped the sound, but it was uncomfortable. He was probably using a DW or Ludwig drum-set, but he is now using a Pearl set
- Vancouver’s “Little Mountain” studio, used for recording Permanent Vacations and Pump doesn’t exist anymore.
- One of his favourite albums is Pump.
- The wardrobe style of the band has been independently developed according to each band member. They only use a cloth designer if they are recording a video, for which special cloths get designed according to the them of the song. Joey uses 2 layers, a vest and a colourful shirt, with nice shoes. He has used “Yellowman” tattoo shirts for many years.
- He went to Berkeley only for a about 2 months, only because he wanted to play with a grip. He meet Joe, Tom and Raymond there. He advises young musicians not to loose their “feel” if they attend a music school.
- He considers himself a “street” player, he learned everything he knows by watching other. He doesn’t do a special workout to strengthen his left arm for drumming.
- His favourite band is “Tower Power”, a soul band, “Step-up” is their latest album, the drummer is David Garibaldi.
- He is thinking about the possibility to do a second book. He still has a lot to say. He feels like the reconciliation and recovery topics covered in his books are still relevant today. He wrote his book with his friend “Keith”. Being in Aerosmith and his love for music and drumming was part of his recovery from depression. The original manuscript for his book was about 1000 pages, and the first draft of the book was 250 to 260 pages, so there’s material left and other things that have happened to him since 2009. His book came out the same week of Michael Jackson dead and was overshadowed by this in the news. He is very grateful that his book has helped others.
- His favourite song to play live is “Lord of the thighs”.
- His favourite deep cut is “Girls keep coming apart”.
- His advise to young musicians is the same he got from his mentor: “don’t ever give up on your dreams, always believe in yourself, and if there is something you want to do and its coming from your heart, don’t ever give up”.
- He doesn’t remember why Aerosmith re-recorded the first album for Guitar Hero in 2007. He thinks they re-recorded Sweet Emotion and a couple more. (At the time the band reported that the record company had lost the original multi-track master tapes of the first album, so they had to re-record the first album to be able to use them in the game).
- He goes to the gym every day to do cardio and TRX. He takes care of his diet.
- About his drum-set little character is almost the band’s mascot, it’s been with him in every set he’s ever had. During the time he filled for the Joe Perry Project, people recognised it was him playing because of the character in his drums. Bobby Darrin from the band “Just in Time” gave it to him.
- The Aerosmith band members are not talking often because they are always on the road, but everyone is enjoying taking time with their families. He does talk to Tom once in a while.
- He would like to see Aerosmith release some new music too.
- The band’s original van was originally a flower truck. It would lean heavily every time taking a corner. In the early days, someone in the band would have to sleep in the van with the equipment when they were touring. They would draw a straw to pick who would sleep in the van. They would sleep on top of the equipment with a knife. He would put straws together, and he never had to sleep in the van. The rest of the guys don’t know.
- His favourite guitar player is Jeff Beck.
- He thinks guitar players should be more concerned about their feel, and playing the right notes, rather than “too many” notes.
- He is surprised fans knew about Renegade. Renegade happened during the time Joe and Brad were away and Jimmy Crespo replaced Joe. Things were slow and he wanted to keep playing, so he recruited Tom, Marge Raymond on vocals because he’s always loved her singing, Jimmy on guitar and Bob Mayo. He doesn’t even know if the 1981 recordings still exist (Marge has a copy of a live rehearsal). He confirmed that he does NOT have the master tapes in his possession, but agreed that they might still be around, however, if the tape was not converted to a digital format in time, the molecules of the tape start to disintegrate.
- About the potential new Aerosmith box set with material that will or wont be released, he doesn’t really know when its going to happen because the amount of stuff they have is massive, including live footage and outtakes from albums, its difficult to choose. They have been in the process of “sorting that shit out” for a long time, he doesn’t know when.
- Its hard for them to choose the set lists, he knows they need to play the popular songs, not the songs that the band members like.
- He used to have a bigger drum kit, but he likes to play his 4 piece drum since after the Just Push Play tour. He doesn’t think a double drum would fit him.
- He received massive support from fans during the recent drama from early 2020 when he was not allowed to play with the band in a couple of award show and was asked to re-audition. Drama is part of every band, bands need to work through it.
- The band doesn’t really do soundchecks anymore. They all rehearse by themselves.
- It’s the first time in their career they’ve been able to get a stage like the one in Las Vegas, but its been very very expensive to produce.
- The sound system in the venue is outstanding.
- Once the band was in Virginia, but that day Joey had a root canal, and the dentist gave him Novocaine, but the pain would come back every couple of songs, so the doctor would give him a new fill of Novocaine.
- Aerosmith did not party with Motley Crew during their tour together to avoid falling back in to drugs, but they would hangout.
- His favourite song in Done with Mirrors is “My fist your Face” (but he mistake it for Shame).
- He only took drumming seriously after meeting Steven in Woodstock ’69. He left 2 musics schools because he had meet Tom an Joe. They played for a while and they called him saying that they didn’t think they could still play together because “a friend” coming from NY that was also a drummer, and it was Steven. They didn’t know each other well, but they knew of each other’s reputation.
- Once his father punished him by taking away his drum kit. Steven lent him his so Joey could play in a contest, “the battle of the bands”, where at one point Steven played drums and Joey did vocals on a song.
- Steven had to say a lot of what and how Joey played his drum, even now, but now he knows how to handle it. He learned from Steven. Drumming needs to feel good, like sex.
- Putting a set list together is very difficult because there are songs that “have to” play. He also know they should play singles that had popular videos like “Janie’s got a Gun”, the band should always play the songs the fans want to hear, but you can’t please everyone all the time. They can’t play just to please themselves.
- In 1984 Joey was asked inf Steven had ever played drums in an Aerosmith song but he didn’t say witch. The song was “Push Comes to Shove”. He was ok with it.
- He is 70, he feels still like when he was 19. Ageing as a drummer he accepts he cant do certain things any more. He like to change small details in songs so they are not played exactly the same all the time. He accepted that he was not going to be able to play a few Vegas shows because of his ankle tendinitis. It was very painful and frustrating, because it was only his ankle, he got though it with a laser treatment. He keeps a positive mentality.
- They play a few tracks with a click track, but they sound too fast. He doesn’t mind using them, but they don’t feel right. He needs to still make the song “breath” even when the tempo is all the same. It was a challenge, but he was able to do it.
- Kings and Queens was written during a group handout while they were living in a mansion having fun an getting high. He doesn’t remember much details about what his exact involvement in writing it was.
- “Closer” from “Music From Another Dimension” was written with Marti Frederiksen in his garage, Marti was playing guitar. The original demo had a different drum feel with the hi hat. Marti was very encouraging for him to write. He was very prod out if, but it didn’t get the attention that it needed, maybe if it had had a few more overdubs it could have been better.
- He wrote the Pump outtake “Tramp” with his friend Peppy Castro. Steven always loved that song, but it was never finished. There’s a basic track of the demo out there (possibly the very same instrumental leaked years ago) recorded in Little Mountain studios. It could be included in the upcoming box set.
- A mentor told him “understanding something is only the bobby price”. He does what he does from his heart, and it just works, its how he feels. His playing complements Aerosmith like it does, but he doesn’t know how or why, it just comes from his heart and his body, its the only way he knows how to play.
- He said that “Music from Another Dimension” didn’t “have it”, there were songs that didn’t need to be there. He again said that there will be new music, and a new album that fans will enjoy.
- “Pandora’s Box” was written with Joey playing the opening riff on guitar, Steven directed him to play different sections to expand the arrangement. This happened in Vermont in the living room of a house that all the band members would often visit, that day it was only Steven and Joey. They took it to the band, and the song developed from there. That musical connection between Steven and Joey has not been sparked again ever since. He mentioned multiple times that the band will VERY likely be played live again soon.
- He would also love to play “Monkey on My Back”.
- He was very pleased to be part of this event and said he loved his fans very much, that he felt very loved and supported during the time he was to be off stage in 2019/2020. He mentioned wanting to do more of this kinds of event s to interact with quality fans and hear feedback directly from them.
The fan community should continue to engage with him and the rest of the band via social media asking them to release specific songs to secure their inclusion in the upcoming box-set, it seems to be working
A video update exploring all the details of Joey’s MasterClass will be coming soon.
Please help us grow with a like, share and a comment or question to get the conversation going for the band to notice our request and release the songs!