Reading Joey Kramer’s book is a bit like undergoing psychotherapy. It’s sometimes slow and often painful; but the process is undeniably revealing. Out of all the various forms of therapy detailed in this autobiography, it is without a doubt, at least in my mind, that the writing of this book was probably one of the best, and most enduring, forms of psychological treatment leading to Mr. Kramer’s recovery.
This is also a tome that that’s a treasure trove of rock & roll trivia. While it does occasionally indulge in the prerequisite doses of sex and drug tales imbedded in most entertainment industry tell-alls, it’s ultimately, so much more than just that. “Hit Hard” is almost a diary of the blood, sweat and tears needed if one is to travel on the road to success. A road that only but a few have skillfully navigated within their lifetime.
Joey Kramer, the drummer from the rock band AEROSMITH, is not just another victim of addiction and the craziness of living life on the road. So he carefully traces the roots of his own behavior to his early childhood. More importantly, he has the wisdom not to lay the blame of his own pain upon others, but to realize that his suffering is largely a result of how he’s reacted over the years to their behavior toward him.
From the opening paragraphs Kramer offers us an intimate look at his life, and his life is really a mess. It’s like a giant, knotted and tangled ball of string that, to most, would be impossible to untie. He gives credit to the many family, friends, fans and multiple therapists who helped him handle the hurt along the way. Even so, this helping hand from others would not have been enough if it were not for his tenacity.
He realizes that even at the top of your game feelings of dysphoria and agoraphobia can own a person’s soul. So what does Joey do when he has everything most anyone could want but still feels like he’s less than nothing? His catharsis comes from the admission that our choices are the true culprit in the crime of discontentment. That enlightenment only arrives when you concede there is no magic bullet cure but only an ongoing battle you have to be willing to fight, and sometimes lose, in order balance your sanity.
This is certainly a book that should be required reading for not just anyone currently in, or about to enter, the entertainment business, but for anybody looking for insight into their own lives. It’s virtually a layman’s commentary that should be seriously considered as an accompanying syllabus to any clinical psychology class in college. When all’s said and done, it’s cheaper, and more fun, than therapy. I’d even venture to say, it may possibly yield just as many results.
HIT HARD – A STORY OF HITTING ROCK BOTTOM AT THE TOP
By: Joey Kramer with William Patrick & Keith Garde HarperOne