Author: Joey Kramer
Publisher: Harper Collins
Reviewed: September, 2009
Have you ever been hit hard? I mean, say you’ve been punched so hard in the stomach that you thought you were going to die because you couldn’t catch your breath. Or, maybe somebody decked you a good one so hard that you saw those little cartoon birds tweeting around your head.
Maybe you haven’t been physically hit hard but let’s say that you’ve been hit hard emotionally. You’ve been told that you were worthless; that you would NEVER amount to anything; that your best is nowhere near good enough nor will it ever be. Those kinds of hits take your emotional breath away or have you mentally swirling around so bad that you can’t see your way out.
If you combine both of these scenarios, you’ll have a very good idea of what kind environment Aerosmith drummer grew up in as a kid. This is the sad story you’ll read in his very open, no-holds-barred autobiography that’s appropriately (and sadly) entitled, “Hit Hard”.
For those of us who have been raised in a nurturing home environment by parents who properly showed love and encouragement, “Hit Hard” is a difficult book to read. You don’t want that kind of reality to come crashing in to our well-balanced world and mind but you can’t help but read it anyway. And what you’ll read is a kid’s life of loveless loneliness who wanted nothing more than to feel and know that he was unconditionally loved by his mom and dad.
As many people do when they feel that they’re all alone in the world, they withdraw into a world of their own creation and search for something – anything – that they can excel in. To excel in that one thing, they hope to “earn” the love they so desperately need to feel.
In the case of Joey Kramer found a passion that he could master: playing drums. His passion was so great that he would sneak to band practice when he would have his own drum stored away for punishment by his parents.
Reading “Hit Hard”, you’ll get some insight into the monstrous hit (and money) making machine we all know and love as Aerosmith. More importantly, you learn that, after stumbling through a long, painful life of drug abuse, emotional abuse, financial roller-coaster rides and emotional instability, it’s okay (read that as: necessary) to admit that one needs help.
In 1995, Joey Kramer hit an emotionally debilitating brick wall. He could no longer bury his pain with one more snort, purchase, or one night stand. He had to come to grips with the gaping emotional hole in his psyche that he tried to fill and satisfy with “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll”. He started the road to emotional stability and healing by realizing he needed help. He also learned that, buried in the very core of his being, he needed forgive those who hurt him the most. Kramer realized that, in order to survive, he also had to separate himself from those who fed off of keeping him down and dependent. As for those he couldn’t separate from, he dealt with the underlying issues that made those relationships so toxic and emotionally damaging.
What’s hard to read, and for some to accept, is to realize it’s okay to weep and cry as you deal with the very real pain that is driving you to self-destruction. I don’t mean in an Oprah/Barbara Walters TV Therapy session. I mean the process of hitting hard, while the tears are streaming down your face, at the inner-demons that drive you to ruin. It takes a real man or woman to push fear aside and do exactly that. There’s no greater strength, and no more fierce bravery, than to take to heart that truth.
If you’ve been hit hard with some pretty cruel blows in life, either physical or emotional, Joey Kramer’s “Hit Hard” is a book that you must read. While you will certainly be encouraged to face your own emotional road blocks, you’ll also read some great inside stories of one of the greatest American rock and roll bands in the world today.