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Drummers Centerfold
Drummer to Drummer Interviews
Steven Scott Fyfe talks with Joey Kramer

Molson Center Show, Montreal, Canada, Oct. 17, 1998

S.S.F.: You've given so much of your talent to the world and influenced many drummers, how would you define your own approach to drumming?

J.K.: Less is more. I had some great influences too growing up, Dino Denelly, Mitch Mitchell, John Bonham, Clive Bunker. I come from a rhythm and blues background. I play hard, but I like to play with feeling. I am more interested in the groove and what's going on time wise with the band. So my playing is based on feeling and emotion.

S.S.F.: How would you describe your working relationship with record producers?

J.K.: That depends on what you want. Being a drummer is a kind of a thing where you pretty much have to demand your respect and demand what it is that you want otherwise people will push you around. Having said this, it doesn't mean it's the same way with every record producer, some are interested in drums, and some aren't. A lot of record producers are interested in getting basic tracks so they can go on working on the rest of the album. It boils down to the individual and command what you want.

S.S.F.: You are not one who does solos. Why is this?

J.K.: Well I did solos every night for 18 years and I prefer to put my energy into the songs and keep them fresh for myself and for the band. There is some improvising that goes on. There is pretty much a shell of the show and we work within that confinement where we can change certain things around in order to keep it interesting it's pretty much up to each individual. If I can get the song to groove and swing, that's what I am looking for.

S.S.F.: After all these years, what has been Aerosmith's secret to success?

J.K.: I don't know if there is any secret to it really, I think it's just a common denominator of all of us loving to play live and getting up on stage and rocking out together. There is nothing else really in our lives that's going to take the place of that.

S.S.F.: Can you comment on the incident at the gas station in Boston?

J.K.: That was pretty much of freak accident. I was putting gas and the automatic shut-off valve on the hose didn't work, and so when the gas came up to the level where it should have shut-off, it didn't. It began to overflow out of the car to the tune of 14 gallons. They recovered 15 gallons out of my car but the pump registered that it pumped 29 gallons so eventually, the hose came out and was still pumping gas on the ground. What happened was a couple of drops of gas dripped back down to the catilitor converter and ignited it, and all that gas was burning around me and it engulfed my car in flames while I was inside so I had to go through the flames to get out and I got burnt doing it.

S.S.F.: Did you think your life was in jeopardy?

J.K.: I wasn't thinking anything. I was just reacting to what it was that was going on. I was strictly working on impulse because if I would have sat there another fifteen seconds, I probably wouldn't be talking to you right now.

S.S.F.: With your injuries, how long was it and was it hard for you to get back behind your kit?

J.K.: About one month. We had been off all summer and that was like another added three weeks added to the three months. We were already off and I hadn't played for three months so it wasn't more difficult than it was normally. I was really lucky, I had second and third degree burns and everything kind of healed up without scarring and there was no nerve damage. I was really lucky.

S.S.F.: What kit are you using for this tour?

J.K.: I always like to play something different from the next guy. I used to see this particular colour on Gretch sets, they called it satin flame. So I had DW dig up some of this stuff. I am using a purple satin flame and DW ionized all the hardware on the kit white. It looks pretty cool and I like it. As far as DW goes, it is without a doubt the best product of theirs and it's also American made.

S.S.F.: Any solo project in the future?

J.K.: There is so much going on with Aerosmith right now but I suppose somewhere down the line I would like to do something. I have a guy that I write songs with and we have quite a stockpile of songs and someday I would like these to see the light of day. I am not one to run off and do a solo project. My allegiance is to the band and Aerosmith is a full time job.