Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Jul 1st 2009 2:00PM by Marc Schneider
Only Kramer, the group's drummer, didn't set out to make your typical rock bio. His struggles with abuse aren't limited to drugs and alcohol, but range from physical and emotional relationships with his father, bandmates and spouses. It all led to years of depression and a nervous breakdown smack dab in the middle of the band's success in the 1990's.
"My main goal is to help people out," he tells Spinner.
The book gave Kramer a shot at tackling issues in his life which he had yet to deal. "The main one being the passing of my dad, who was my main abuser, and the time-sensitive problem I believe is the confusion between love and abuse," he says.
Kramer is the first member of the band to release a memoir, so he gets the first word on the band's infamous drugging and near-total collapse in the late 1970's. He tells Spinner the group became so preoccupied with achieving success, they let their vices (if the book had an index, "cocaine" would take up a page) eventually take over. "Drugs already played a big part in the band when we started, then when we hit it big, the drugs were still there. They became more of the focus than anything else."
"My drug and alcohol behavior was equal to [singer Steven Tyler's], but because he is who he is the spotlight was more on his behavior more than on mine."
In 'Hit Hard,' Kramer draws comparisons between his dad and the demanding Tyler, saying they were both abusive towards him. Instead of fists, though, Tyler would berate Kramer during the band's early days. Tyler hasn't read the book yet but has told Kramer he doesn't care what's in it as long as it's the truth. The legendary front man is also readying his own memoir.
"He's my brother, he's my mentor, he was my hero when I started the band," Kramer says.
An excerpt from Joey Kramer's 'Hit Hard'
When I stepped into the lobby, I felt my stomach rise up into my throat; tears started streaming down my face. This was the Marlin Hotel, a jet-set place a couple of blocks off Ocean Drive in South Beach. I was completely losing it. Surrounded by palm trees, Ferraris, halter tops and those exotic drinks with the little umbrellas, and there I was crying so hard I was barely able to stand. We're selling millions of records, playing sold-out concerts. Everybody loves us. Everything is great. But I am losing my mind.
It was February 1995, and a few weeks earlier the rest of the band had gone down to Florida and were getting ready to record, but I was still at home in a gray, cold, New England winter, so full of anxiety that it was all I could do to get out of bed each day. I was so afraid, and the anticipation that it would get worse was almost paralyzing. Every waking moment I was filled with dread like I was about to hear a fatal diagnosis. I just wanted to get this feeling over with, but the despair, the emotional weight and the anticipation of more of this misery had become misery itself.
After a while, the pressure got so bad that I drove to the airport and caught the next plane to Miami. I was hoping that throwing myself into my work might pull me out of this funk. I walked through the lobby and straight into the small sound studio inside the hotel when the pain took over. I started at the drums that were set up for me, but I couldn't even think about playing, so I stepped out of the studio, and a flood of emotion started to overwhelm me -- I could barely see through the tears.
Bob Timmins was standing just inside the door, talking to some guys from our crew. Bob was a well-known "rock 'n' roll therapist." Drugs and alcohol, a specialty -- a given with his kind of clients. He'd been working with the band to try to protect us from our collective insanity. He could see at a glance that something serious was going on with me, and he came right up and put his arm around my shoulders and sort of guided me away from the gawkers and reporters. "Let's go upstairs," he said. "There's somebody I think you should talk to. Come on up to my room and we'll give him a call."
A few hours later, Bob and I were on a plane to California. A guy named Dan met us at LAX, and Bob handed me over to him and got on the next fight back to Miami. Then Dan drove me about an hour up to coast. Dan didn't say much, and I had nothing to say anyway, so I just stared out the window, watching the people driving in their cars and going about their lives. I was empty. We had to go up the 405 through L.A., and then the 101 across the Valley, which meant that it was pretty late at night when we reached Oxnard. I checked into the mental-health facility where Bob had arranged to have me admitted. It was called Steps.