FMQB Retro-Active: Aerosmith's Joey Kramer Talks Donington DVD, The Beatles, and Rockin and Roastin Coffee
February 27, 2015
WATCH THIS WAYÖ More than 300 theaters across America hosted a special one-night-only concert event on Thursday, February 26for the premiere of Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014. Says Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler: "It's always an absolute hoot that leaves me howling at the moon, performing at Donington we couldn't have had a better time on stage that night. I could feel the vibes of all the greats pulsing through the stage like AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica and so many more." Adds Joe Perry: "We have played Donington many times but this performance was one of our best. Thanks to our fans who were there who helped us make it a night to remember. We are proud to have it be part of this theatrical series and it will give our fans who werenít there around the world a chance to relive an ass-kicking night of rock and roll."
Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014, also slated for DVD release, showcases the hard rock legends pummeling the vast festival crowd into submission with a flurry of signature 'Smith gems traversing their entire career, including "Walk this Way," "Mama Kin," "Dream On," "Same Old Song and Dance," "Eat the Rich," "Toys in the Attic," "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," "Sweet Emotion," "Last Child," "Love in an Elevator," "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," and a cover of the Beatles' "Come Together." Retro-Active correspondent Ken Sharp shared time with the band's master of the beat, drummer Joey Kramer.
Playing a massive outdoor festival like Donington, does the band change its approach compared to a show in an indoor venue?
Kramer: I can't say that we do. We do the best show that we can do every night. We might change things around a little but we do that night to night anyway. It was pretty much the same show we were doing all along but it's just a whole lot more exciting for us because when you look at 100,000 people you want to give it all you've got.
One of the tracks that was part of the band's Donington set is the cover of The Beatles' "Come Together." Bring us back to cutting that track in the late Ď70s with Beatles producer George Martin.
Thatís a really fond memory for me. We were in the Record Plant in New York City and George Martin was producing that for us, and not only was it an honor to work with him but it was a thrill. Itís something that Iíll never forget. It turned out to be the kind of thing where yeah, itís a Beatles song but there are a lot of people out there that like our version better. We were able to rock it up. I still hear it on the radio all of the time.
From a purely selfish standpoint, what Aerosmith song would you like the band to pull out from the catalog to perform live?
It's hard to nail it down to one. I'd like for us to play "Nobody's Fault" off of Rocks. "Monkey on My Back" would be another good one to do and "Girl Keeps Coming Apart" off of Permanent Vacation.
Joe Perry has his own hot sauce brand and you are joining in as an entrepreneur with you own coffee brand, Rockin and Roastin.
To begin with, I'm not the kind of celebrity that just sits back on my laurels and uses my name for products and waits to have money come pouring in. Just like the band, the coffee is not about the money. I enjoy bringing great things to people and although I have a great platform being in the band, that gets me going and gets peopleís ear attuned to what Iím saying and what itís about. But the fact remains that itís really good coffee. There are three different kinds of coffee: thereís Guatemalan, Sumatran and Ethiopian. I chose those three because those are my favorite countries to have coffee. Those are the three that I chose. Theyíre roasted to my specs and I go in and I cut the coffee. I designed the bag; my wife thought of the name. Iím hands-on with it all of the time and itís really my baby. Itís like the band; itís a labor of love. Itís not so much about the money as it is about bringing a great product to people and Iíll never let people down as far as the quality of what it is that Iím doing. I am who I am and I represent who I represent and it canít be shit. And if it was, people would find that out right away. But Iím getting great feedback about my coffee and people are loving it. The companyís doing really well and Iím as happy as I can be about it.
For many, Rocks is the bandís pinnacle as a recording act. Why is that such a significant album in the groupís catalog?
Well, first of all, what makes Rocks such a great album is the songs; songs like "Nobodyís Fault." There were songs on there where the band border-lined being heavy and that was one of them. The only band that I consider in my opinion to be heavy is (Led) Zeppelin. They were one of our mentors. I think the songwriting, the singing and the playing on Rocks is probably the best that we were at the time.
Aerosmith appeared in theSgt. Pepperfilm. Were there moments when you were doing that film where you went, "Holy shit, what the hell are we doing here?!"
It was an okay experience. To tell you the truth, I don't have that much of a memory of it. The '70s are pretty vague for me. (laughs)
Do you ever see photos of yourself with a celebrity back in the Ď70s and have no recollection that you met that person?
Oh yeah. I have those pictures and they're good reminders because they keep you humble and they keep you in line.
Once your bank account started having a few extra zeroes added to your balance statement, what's the first major thing you bought?
(laughs) Cars. Iíve always been a car guy since I was a kid. To this day, I love automobiles. Thatís the biggest weakness I have in my life - buying cars. The first expensive car I bought was in 1974, I bought a 1971 Corvette. As chance had it, Joe happened to buy the same car so we had twin Corvettes. Then right after that, the first brand new car I bought was a 1975 Corvette. I went into the dealership and paid cash for it. I laid out eighty one $100 bills and drove the car away.