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Aerosmith's Kramer put the 'Line' in 'Brookline'

In this book excerpt, Kramer recalls his life in greater Boston before the boys hit it big
By JOEY KRAMER  |  June 24, 2009

Even though my real home was on the road [in the mid '70s], I still needed a place to hang my hat in Boston, so I kept an apartment at 21 James Street, near Coolidge Corner. My landlord was Mr. Chin, who used to come by every month and bang on the door. "Joe Kramah! You pay rent today?!" This was a huge first-floor space with stained-glass windows and high ceilings and enough mahogany for about a dozen cabin cruisers. It was so big that, part of the time I was living there, Raymond [Tabano, the former Aerosmith guitarist who was replaced by Brad Whitford, and who did marketing for Aerosmith at that time] and his wife, Susan, lived with me. My girlfriend Cindy Oster, the Playboy bunny, was there, too, and there were a lot of parties with so much constant drug intake that we were really living right on the edge every day. I remember, we had a dentist friend who used to let us use coke in his chair. One day he came to my apartment, and it was all I could do to drag myself to the door. I had been taking Quaaludes and God knows what else, and I could barely move. He saw that I was all but down for the count, so he stuffed some coke up my nose to keep me from going comatose. If he hadn't shown up . . . hard to say what would have happened. All I know is that it's a fucking miracle that none of the five of us are dead.

Once while I was on tour, a friend of mine named Scott Sobel was doing some work on the place, and Cindy was there sort of supervising and painting some of the walls. Cindy was epileptic and had to take medication to control it. She and Scott were, of course, also consuming quite a bit of blow, and Cindy had forgotten to take her pills. Scott described to me how he heard this crash, ran into the next room, and there was gorgeous Cindy, lying on the floor frothing at the mouth, her eyes rolled back in her head. Scott immediately called 911, but then when the medics and the cops arrived, he remembered the huge pile of blow sitting on the coffee table, lines all laid out. So he left Cindy shaking on the floor and the cops banging on the door while he ran around the apartment and hid all the coke.

By the mid '70s, the drugs, which had started out as a way to cut loose after a lot of hard work, had taken over. Back then, my idea of a Friday night was to hook up with somebody along with an ounce of cocaine, and a nice big quart bottle of Stoli that I kept in the freezer. We would sit, and we would snort, and we would drink, and then we would snort some more. Friday night would turn into Saturday morning, and Saturday morning would turn into Saturday afternoon, and we would still be drinking and snorting — another shot, another line. Saturday afternoon turned into Saturday night, and Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, and before I knew it, three days of my life had gone by. I was sitting in the same fucking spot on Monday morning as I was on Friday night.

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Related: Interview: Aerosmith's Joey Kramer, The end that could have been, Review: Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, More more >
  Topics: Books , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
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