Friendship is a complex relationship, and perhaps the most ambiguous interpersonal one we encounter as humans. In most cases, you are not living with or sleeping with a friend, but also, a friend is someone you might feel comfortable loaning 50 bucks. There’s a real gray area there that gets more fleshed out with time. When you’re friends with someone for, say, 50 years, there are some things you come to expect: no one on your ass if you forget to Venmo, an automatic person to watch your dog when you got on vacation, not getting kicked out of your goddamn band.
This week, after a fraught summer (and fall, and winter), Joey Kramer was allowed to rejoin Aerosmith, performing with the guys at the band’s Vegas residency on Monday for the first time since April. The reunion comes after Kramer exited the band, following a minor injury to his shoulder. But, according to Kramer, when he healed and was back in drumming shape, the metaphorical locks to the band had been changed.
Aerosmith didn’t allow the drummer to rejoin. Then they made him re-audition for his spot and still didn’t allow him to rejoin. His drumming job instead went to one of their drum technicians. Then he sued the band, and even a judge said he couldn’t rejoin Aerosmith. Then he missed out on performing at the GRAMMYs for Aerosmith’s own tribute performance. And now that all that hullabaloo is over and the super cool stuff has finished, Steven Tyler and company were kind of like, “Ok, you crazy shit. Come back.”
Sure, it’s probably nice to rejoin the band you’ve spent your entire life drumming with, but to what end? Scene: In high school, I wasn’t just nerdy. I was prominently uncool. I chased a group of popular-adjacent AP students around and did anything they wanted so I could hang out with them. Then senior year, I thought to myself: wow, this kind of sucks. I mean, this wasn’t even the kids who had parties with alcohol. I was essentially debasing myself in pursuit of the B-team—the Aerosmith of friend groups, if you will. There will always be temporary highs.
Below, find a video of Kramer’s return, with Steven Tyler announcing Joey first. First. What a dream! But these moments of ecstasy fade. When you’re boxed out of a band, you don’t just forget that.
To Joey I ask, is it worth it? You’re still making royalties off of “Walk This Way,” and surely you still got some of that Armageddon money. There has to be a time when Good Guy Joey Kramer says, “Hey, I’ve tried to be friends with you for naught. I sued you guys to be friends with you, and that didn’t work either. So I’mma take my sticks and go home.” And that’s called leaving with your head held high. And when he gets home, takes a nice bath or something, and reflects on all of this, he’ll remember that he’ll always have the legacy of being a kickass drummer in a rock band without ever doing anything embarrassing like becoming an American Idol judge for a stint.