Train Keeps A-Rollin'
Joey Kramer has been behind the drum kit for American rock and roll titans Aerosmith for going on 40 years. Few people may know that he dreamed up the Boston-
formed band's moniker about two years before Aerosmith's initial nucleus was even in place.
Kramer has been the band's silent but booming voice while lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, once known as the "Toxic Twins," assumed the roles of the colonies' own Mick and Keith. That duo's legacy of drugging and drinking is well known, but the drummer also had his share of missteps with powders and pills.
Last year Kramer released his memoir, Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top, which chronicled his New York City upbringing with a domineering father and mother and his rise to fame with Aerosmith. With the band's success came a debilitating cocaine habit and, later on, anxiety issues that brought him to the brink of insanity.
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It took him four years to get it all down on paper, and today Kramer says he looks back on his struggles with a new sense of purpose.
Chatter: The last proper Aerosmith album was Just Push Play in 2001. What's the status of any new material?
Joey Kramer: When we are done with this tour, we are going in and proceed on the new album. I think we are in the mode now where the band is really functioning well and the machine is well greased. Steven is singing great and everything is as good as can be, if not a little better.
Chatter: Any idea what could be informing the new songs?
JK: Nothing yet. I don't hear anything floating around. We are going to be starting from scratch, and I think everyone is actually looking forward to that.
Chatter: The band toyed with playing an album in its entirety last summer. Is there anything special on this tour besides the usual caravan of hits?
JK: Playing whole albums didn't really jell, and we tried. It's not every song on every record that everyone wants to hear. If you are listening to Toys in the Attic, everybody wants to hear "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion," and it's the same with Rocks.
It's the same thing all the way around; you can't please all the people all of the time. It's really difficult to write set lists now. Pass or fail, we will always try, though.
Chatter: Is there anything you love to play personally?
JK: I love playing "Lord of the Thighs," and in South America we pulled out that one, "Chip Away the Stone," "Kings and Queens" and some other things we hadn't done in years.
Sometimes when we are onstage, Joe will start a song we haven't played in 20 years, and everybody needs to know it and be on [their] toes and come in. A lot of the stuff we do is not planned, actually.
Two bits of big news last week. First, Free Press Summer Fest partners Omar Afra and Jagi Katial announced that they have bought Fitzgerald's – the business and right to use the name, that is; Sara Fitzgerald retains ownership of the building and the property – and will take over booking and operations of the historic Heights nightclub next month.
Also, Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth has dropped his lawsuit against local radio station 97.9 The Box and its parent company Radio One. Trae filed the suit in May, alleging that The Box's ban on his music and advertising any events where he was appearing was interfering with his livelihood. Neither the rapper, who is the special guest at Saturday's Houston Press Music Awards showcase on Washington Avenue, or his lawyers would comment, but Radio One attorney Victor Vital confirmed that the suit had been dropped in an e-mail to the Press's Shea Serrano. In turn, Vital added, Radio One has dropped its countersuit against Trae, but no agreement or settlement between the two parties was reached.
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1. Rick Ross, Teflon Don
2. The-Dream, Love King
3. Eminem, Recovery
4. Paul Wall, Heart of a Champion
5. Paul Hardcastle, Jazzmasters 6
6. Keith Sweat, Ridin' Solo
7. Drake, Thank Me Later
8. Usher, Raymond v. Raymond
9. David Brinston, Beat It Up
10. Scarface, Dopeman Music
1. Jack Johnson, "You and Your Heart"
2. Broken Bells, "The High Road"
3. Alpha Rev, "New Morning"
4. Sarah McLachlan, "Loving You Is Easy"
5. Greg Laswell feat. Ingrid Michaelson, "Take Everything"
6. The Dirty Edge feat. Rome Ramirez, "Lay Me Down"
7. Michael Franti & Spearhead, "Sound of Sunshine"
8. John Mayer feat. Taylor Swift, "Half of My Heart"
9. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers,
"I Should Have Known It"
10. One Eskimo, "Kandi"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)
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