Joey Kramer’s Replacement Was ‘Not Prepared’ for Aerosmith Debut
In 2019 Kramer suffered an injury that left him unable to perform. Aerosmith was in the middle of their Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency and turned to Douglas, Kramer’s longtime drum tech, as a replacement.
“I never enter into a job like that thinking that that’s going to happen,” Douglas admitted during an appearance on the Jeremy White Show podcast. “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 recalled he didn’t have an official soundcheck, though he did have a few hours to listen back to songs and reacquaint himself with the material. Still, he felt woefully underprepared for the gig.
READ MORE: Aerosmith's 10 Most Memorable Concerts
“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,” the drummer explained. “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.”
After Douglas’ first performance with the band, guitarist Joe Perry joked that it was crazy he said yes without time to prepare. “And I’m like, ‘I don’t know who was crazier, me for doing it or you guys for letting me,” Douglas responded. “Because it could have been [an] epic disaster.”
‘Joey Kramer Is Still the Drummer for Aerosmith’
As fate would have it, the 2019 accident was the first in a series of problems for Kramer. Douglas ended up playing multiple dates on Aerosmith’s Vegas residency and even performed with the band during the 2020 Grammys. More recently, Aerosmith launched their Peace Out farewell tour. The band announced that Kramer would not be taking part in the trek, with Douglas once more filling his shoes. Still, Douglas is clear about his role in the band.
“Joey Kramer is still the drummer for Aerosmith. Was and always has been,” he explained, noting that he’s “not there to make a personal statement or shoehorn [his] ideas into their music.
“Those parts that Joey wrote and played are iconic,” Douglas continued. “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.”