It's the name that makes your ears tingle in ecstatic pleasure. The name that makes you want to boil your sneakers and defy every authority figure insight.Its the raging fire that is in the heart of every child that was born to rebel. Its name is Aerosmith, and it's drummer is a special man named Joey Kramer. Recently , Kramer published a a tell all memoir in which he recounted the stories and hurts left and caused by the road rash left from playing rock n' roll for 40 years now. But its not just the rock n' roll lifestyle that causes this hard to kick condition. As Nikki Sixx words it "The worst rashes, the ones that are most likely to leave the uggliest scars are the ones from our childhood and families.When you boil it down, it always goes back to that- the family;and until you dig that wound, you're destined for a life of agony-the highs are never night enough, and the lows are not unlike the depths of hell" (Sixx wrote the forward to Hit Hard). Joey recounts tales of his childhood, mared and damaged by an abusive father. Kramer recalls tales of his father beating and whipping him with a leather belt on one occasion simply because he stayed out an hour past his curfew, which was 10 oclock."...and then he had me cornered, whipping me with this heavy leather strap". On another occasion, his mother, angry at him for talking back, came up behind him and smashed a mirror over his head. Ultimatley, this led to Kramer using and abusing drugs, to escape these emotions and the ones that would come along later in life . Throughout the book, Kramer describes how he suppressed the anger he felt towards his parents, and how this ultimatly led to his drug use and deppression. He says in the introduction " .... I had never felt anything like the depression that brought me to Steps ( a clinic )....This time, there was only me and my pain, and I didn't see any way out". Through intense and riveting therapy described in the book though, Joey began to heal. He forgave his father before he died for all the things he had done to him, and he also forgave his mother. This book is one of recovery , one of hope , and the promise of a new day . Its not a book that can easily be put down, nor is it one that will leave you little-moved or little-impacted. As you turn the final pages of it, you breath a sigh of relief, because you know his story ends happy. Through all the pain, through all the tears, and all the emotions, it ends happy. I had the privelage to meet Joey a few months back at his book signing in Hyannis, Massachusetts ,about a half hour from were I live. I walked into the bookstore and almost passed out because I couldnt wrap my head around the fact that one of my heros was standing 15 feet away from me, smiling and signing copies of his book in purple sneakers, a black shirt, jeans,a black leather vest, and the same necklaces that were visible on the cover shot of Hit Hard. When my turn came I walked up to him and he smiled."Hi Joey"! I said , excited out of me shoes. "Hi, how are you"? I replied"I'm good , what about yourself"? "Im great" he replied , shaking my outstreched hand. I looked down at our hands,looked up at him and said "I was wondering, shaking your hand is great, but could I give you a hug"? He laughed along with everyone else waiting in line, and then said "sure, you absoloutly can. Give me a hug". And he did, and that was the best hug I ever got in my life.
Hit Hard by Joey Kramer
January 22, 2010