Aerosmith Drummer Returns to Berklee

By
Brenda Pike
November 6, 2008
Kramer recounted his most memorable concert—his first drum solo, at Pontiac Stadium. He was scared, but took advice from Aerosmith’s former guitarist Raymond Tabano on how to build the solo, then stop when you reach the climax, rather than drawing it out.
“I fell victim to the lie that I was going to lose my fire if I got sober. It’s bullshit. It’s just an excuse. I enjoy my playing more now.”
“I never allowed myself to play while under the influence of drugs. I was an active drug addict and alcoholic for 20 years of my career. I went after sobriety the same way I went after music. I surrounded myself with the right people and worked the shit out of the program.”
For general practice, Kramer puts on headphones and plays along to Tower of Power; Earth, Wind & Fire; and James Brown. He practices time with a Michael Jackson record: “You’re automatically on time because it’s all machines.”
John DeChristopher, VP of artist relations at Zildjian, handed out Zildjian Joey Kramer Artist Series drum sticks and T-shirts to students who asked questions.
Advice for drummers: “Hit 'em hard. Have fun. Follow your dream.”
Kramer hung out after the clinic to talk to students and sign autographs.
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell
Photo by Bill O'Connell

Aerosmith dummer and Berklee alumnus Joey Kramer visited Berklee's David Friend Recital Hall for a Q&A session with students.

Kramer attended Berklee in 1970, and, like many students in those days, left before finishing his degree in order to go on tour. Students asked not only about his practice techniques and advice for up-and-coming drummers, but also about the life experiences he gleaned from decades of performing. 

Zildjian, Kramer's sponsor, had a representative on hand with free merchandise for students. Click on the photo at the left for a slideshow of the clinic.

For more on Aerosmith's relationship with Berklee, read about Steven Tyler's 2002 clinic and 2003 commencement address.