Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer Drum Fill-In Reveals He Was ‘Not Prepared at All’ for His First Show
It's one thing to work alongside a musician throughout his nightly schedule, but it's quite another to be pressed into action when that musician is unavailable. That's something that Aerosmith's current Joey Kramer fill-in drummer John Douglas learned when he was called upon to take a seat behind the kit back in 2019. Douglas admirably stepped up in a moment of need, but admits he wasn't totally prepared for what was to come.
The drummer, who is currently behind the kit as Kramer has bowed out of Aerosmith's "Peace Out" farewell tour, told the Jeremy White Show podcast that while he had some inkling of what needed to happen on that 2019 night, he was not prepared as he would have liked to have been.
At the time, Kramer had suffered an injury leaving him unable to perform, while the band was in the midst of their Las Vegas "Deuces Are Wild" residency. “I never enter into a job like that thinking that that’s going to happen,” explained the drummer. “So I don’t purposely learn the show or anything. Now, the nature of the gig is you’re sitting back observing. And I am a drummer first, so it’s just kind of by osmosis that I learned the show without really intending on learning the show.”
Douglas recalls the tight timing of his sudden promotion, noting that he didn't have an official soundcheck and only was given a few hours to listen to the songs and get acquainted with the material.
As he explained it, “It’s a totally different animal, playing along to a record or tapping your steering wheel to a song on the radio that we’ve heard a million times. It’s a different thing when you’re in the driver’s seat driving a band – any band, but a band like Aerosmith for sure. So, I was not prepared at all and yet somehow I made it through and lived to tell about it.”
Douglas said that luckily things went well, with the band having a laugh about it afterward with Joe Perry joking about who was crazier for attempting to put him in that position with such little prep time.
In the time since, Kramer has been forced out of action on multiple occasions, with Douglas stepping in to help out. And earlier this year, when Aerosmith announced their "Peace Out" farewell tour, he was asked to take over drums again as Kramer would not be participating in the run. That said, Douglas makes no bones about his role with the group.
“Joey Kramer is still the drummer for Aerosmith. Was and always has been,” says Douglas.
As for what he's doing onstage, he adds, “Those parts that Joey wrote and played are iconic. There are places where I will inject a little bit of me, but not at critical ones like ‘Love in an Elevator’ or so many songs where to me it’s like, well that’s the fill. That’s the fill that should be there. That’s the one that’s there. As a fan, if I’m sitting in the audience, that’s the one I want to hear.”
Aerosmith's "Peace Out" tour picks up again next month, with a new tour leg starting Oct. 11 in Tampa, Florida. Dates will continue into mid-December, with the band also booking some year-end touring to start a new tour leg that carries over through the end of February. See all the scheduled dates, cities and venues listed here.