For a rabid Aerosmith fan like me, it is hard to read Hit Hard without inevitably comparing it with Aerosmith's own autobiography, Walk This Way. Joey Kramer does touch on his relationship with the other "bad boys from Boston," but once you flip through the first few pages, you realize instantly that this is an honestly brutal book that gives you a firsthand account of Joey's personal journey, from childhood to the present time.
Starting out with a great foreword from Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx, Joey painstakingly describes his earliest childhood memories, his adolescence, his tenure with Aerosmith, and his battles with drugs, alcohol, and abuse. After hearing Joey so many times on the drums and thinking, "This guy has really got everything together; he's got the groove," I was really caught unaware by the level of honesty that Joey shares with the reader.
Joey does not write a standard rock n' roll memoir here. Sure, you will read stories of the obligatory sex, drugs and rock n' roll type, but none too honest as this. Joey delves straight into the physical and emotional abuse he received from his father and mother, the constant intimidation from fellow bandmate Steven Tyler, and his personal relationships with his wife April (whom he left in 2007), stepdaughter Asia, and son Jesse. Most rock n' roll memoirs make you want to live the rock n' roll lifestyle; Joey's is a cautionary tale and will often make you want to take a closer look.
Without using any typical psychological jargon, Joey analyzes his own battles with drugs and co-dependency, in such a way that one is immediately able to identify with his struggles. He doesn't attempt to be self-righteous or preachy, but just tells it as it is. In the end, he makes peace with his demons and shows that everyone, even the drummer from one of the world's greatest bands, is human after all.
Is the book touchy-feely? Of course it is, and that is what makes it so good. In writing this book, Joey shows great courage and spirit, and that is what makes for great human beings and musicians. Kudos to Mr. Kramer for this wonderful gift.