Joan Wilder: Journalist, Writer, Editor

Aerosmith, Kramers assist needy

Aersmith, Kramers assist needy

Clipping from the Patriot Ledger.

One look at the success of South Shore homeboys Aerosmith and it’s clear that sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll ain’t what it used to be — it’s better.

Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer and his wife, April, were honored last night at the Boston Park Plaza for their support of Victory Programs, the city’s largest drug and alcohol treatment agency.

The event was the organization’s annual fund-raiser, and it was the fourth year that Marshfield resident April Kramer was event chairwoman.

After presenting the Kramers with a plaque to be placed in the front lobby of Victory Programs’ offices on Massachusetts Avenue, Executive Director Jonathan Scott thanked them for their support.

“This will hang as a sign of hope for all those who enter our doors,” said Scott to the audience of 800. “April and Joey’s involvement has brought people together from all walks of life to help those who are homeless and uninsured and who couldn’t otherwise receive treatment.”

In her four years at the helm, April Kramer has been instrumental in raising more than $800,000 to help fund Victory Program’s 16 residential treatment homes.

Taking a cue from Kramer, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and his wife, Teresa, also have become faithful supporters of the agency.

At one time or another, all five members of the band and their families have contributed to the cause.

Both of the Kramers, like the other members of Aerosmith, have been clean and sober for about 14 years.

In that time, the band has become increasingly successful after almost losing everything in the early 1980s.

In a career that has spanned a quarter century, they have sold nearly 100 million records and currently have another hit single on the charts. In March, they were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and next month they begin another world tour.

“Programs like Victory Programs saved my life,” said Marshfield’s Tyler, who joined the band Rockapella and Livingston Taylor on stage last night to sing “Amazing Grace.”

“Music is still the thing that makes me high, and I don’t get a hangover the next day.”

April Kramer’s touch as event chairwoman has made the fund-raiser into an event filled with family and friends. At one point last night, her husband Joey auctioned off the drums he used on the last Aerosmith tour, entertaining the audience as he playfully coerced more money out of them with the offer of a kiss.
After ripping off his jacket and playing the drums, Kramer got a bid of $12,000 for his instruments.

“What’s so wonderful about April is that she’s turned show business into a vehicle to help others,” said Scott. “Aerosmith have been role models for recovery worldwide, but they also help on a local level.”

According to April Kramer, Victory Programs not only offers long- term residential treatment to uninsured and homeless alcoholics and addicts, but was the first organization to treat those also suffering from AIDS. Since it was founded in 1974, Victory Programs has served 42,000 people.

“April has been my motivation to become involved with Victory Programs,” Joey Kramer said. “I come from a medium where I can help and that’s what it’s about – giving back.”

“I am so grateful to be in recovery,” April Kramer said. “I’ve learned that unless you give it away, you can’t keep it.”

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