Kenny Aronoff

Rolling Stone "Top 100 Greatest Drummer of All Time", named the #1 Pop/Rock Drummer and #1 Studio Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine.

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Kenny’s Blogs:

Kenny Aronoff is one of the world’s most influential and in demand drummers and percussionists. Rolling Stone Magazine named him as one of the “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time” and the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine named him the #1 Pop/Rock Drummer and #1 Studio Drummer. The list of artists he’s worked with on the road and/or in the studio is a who’s who of the music industry’s top talent.

With a style of playing that combines power and finesse, his unique and versatile sound has been instrumental on over 60 GRAMMY-nominated or awarded recordings representing over 300 million records sold, with more than 1,300 that were RIAA certified Gold, Platinum or Diamond. He is the drummer on multiple Billboard #1 Hit Songs, and dozens of Top Ten hits.

Kenny’s winning approach to drumming, teamwork, leadership, and life has given him the ability to sustain a successful career for over four decades. He has an extraordinary gift and ability to manipulate sound using drums, cymbals and a variety of percussion instruments, the combination of which create a rare and custom accompaniment for each artist for whom he sets the pace – and raises the bar. Known as the Hardest Hitting Man in Show Business, Kenny has created some of the most iconic drum parts in rock history, including perhaps his most famous moment on John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane”.


“I think he is, without a doubt, one of the greats. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the greatest in the world and I’m lucky enough to have him in my band. I know Kenny has his own idols that he looks up to, and so do I, and he’s right there as far as his ability and his personality–as far as how he plays and presents the music that he’s doing–he’s at the very top of the mountain.”

– JOHN FOGERTY

“Our success was a matter of a million things, but of course Kenny’s dedication to work–which I don’t think anyone could ever slight in any fashion–was a big factor. There’s no question that Kenny can tough it out, and everybody who knows Kenny would have to admire him for that.”

– JOHN MELLENCAMP

“Kenny is such a force, he’s such a physical force–that’s the thing you have to start with–he is a ball of fucking energy who’s bringing it. He reminds me of some of our great pass rushers, like Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis!”

– JIM IRSAY, OWNER OF THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS


KENNY’S STORY:

 Kenny joined his first band, The Alley Cats, in Massachusetts at age eleven after seeing the BEATLES on the Ed Sullivan Show. A self-taught drummer, he played in local bands throughout junior high and high school. At 16, he decided to focus on classical music studied and played with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including world-renowned timpanist Vic Firth. He went on to study at the University of Massachusetts and at Indiana University, where, among other honors, he was awarded the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. During summer breaks he played in the symphony orchestras at the Aspen Music Festival (run by The Juilliard School of Music) and the Tanglewood Music Festival (run by the Boston Symphony Orchestra).

After graduating, Kenny was offered timpani positions in several symphony orchestras, but instead studied drum set in Boston and New York. He began to concentrate on jazz and fusion music, and in 1977 he returned to Indiana and spent several years in a popular local band until 1980 when he joined the John Mellencamp band, recording 10 albums and touring with him over a 17-year period. Kenny’s innovative style and solid backbeat became the driving force behind Mellencamp’s long run of definitive hit records in the ’80s and ’90s, a list that includes American Fool, Scarecrow, Uh Huh, The Lonesome Jubilee, Whenever We Wanted, Dance Naked, Big Daddy, Human Wheels, Mr. Happy Go Lucky and others.

In the mid-80s, Kenny began an enormously successful career as a studio musician. Today he’s among the world’s most in-demand session drummers.

Millions of kids watched the Beatles on February 9th, 1964 on the Ed Sullivan show and wished that someday they could be on stage with the likes of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. For one boy from a small town in New England, that fantasy and much more became a reality 50 years later. On the television program, “The Night That Changed America” – celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles legendary appearance on CBS – Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr thrilled the audience. The drummer playing behind them and many other artists on that monumental night was Kenny Aronoff.  During that same show, he also played drums for Stevie Wonder, Dave Grohl, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Joe Walsh, Keith Urban, John Mayer, Jeff Lynne, Pharrell Williams and Brad Paisley.  A role comfortable to Kenny, who also has played with various artists at multiple Grammy Awards Shows and Kennedy Center Honors.     


MAIN SPEAKING TOPIC:

Kenny has entertained millions of people with his drumming all across the world, played on thousands of records, provided the beat of America’s culture for four decades, and has been the “go to” drummer for the biggest stars in music, ranging from John Mellencamp to Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan to The Smashing Pumpkins, and everyone in between! 

  • Why has Kenny Aronoff become the industry’s most in-demand drummer for both live concerts and recording sessions?
  • How did he earn the trust and respect needed to lead the most elite musical acts on the planet?
  • How has he maintained this reputation over such a long career in one of the most turbulent industries in the world?

 What Kenny Aronoff has learned in the process of making his dreams become his reality is the message he delivers as an in-demand speaker.  He talks expertly and revealingly with relatable messaging about achievement, teamwork, and leadership in a fun and riveting keynote that gets rave reviews every single time.  In simple terms, Kenny shows us how to ROCK!


A partial list of artists Kenny has recorded with:

  • THE ROLLING STONES
  • JON BON JOVI
  • BOB DYLAN
  • BRIAN WILSON
  • BILLY GIBBONS
  • CELINE DION
  • JOHN MELLENCAMP
  • SANTANA
  • ELTON JOHN
  • BOB SEGER
  • BILLY CORGAN – THE SMASHING PUMPKINS
  • ROD STEWART
  • BELINDA CARLISLE
  • JOHNNY CASH
  • WAYLON JENNINGS
  • WILLIE NELSON 
  • KRIS KRISTOFFERSON
  • GEORGE JONES
  • JOE COCKER
  • ALICE COOPER
  • JOHN FOGERTY
  • MELISSA ETHERIDGE
  • JOE JACKSON
  • MICK JAGGER
  • RAY CHARLES
  • B.B. KING
  • SAMMY HAGAR
  • CHICKENFOOT
  • LYNYRD SKYNYRD
  • RICKY MARTIN
  • MEAT LOAF
  • MICHELLE BRANCH
  • AVRIL LAVIGNE
  • ALANIS MORISSETTE
  • BONNIE RAITT
  • STEVIE NICKS
  • CONWAY TWITTY
  • TRISHA YEARWOOD
  • TREY ANASTASIO
  • THE BODEANS
  • MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER
  • CINDERELLA
  • MARSHALL CRENSHAW
  • BRANDON FLOWERS
  • VINCE GILL
  • HANK WILLIAMS JR
  • COREY HART
  • TONY IOMMI
  • JEFFERSON AIRPLANE
  • INDIGO GIRLS
  • GLADYS KNIGHT
  • PATTI LABELLE
  • JAMES MCMURTRY
  • M2M
  • AARON NEVILLE
  • ALDO NOVA
  • PUDDLE OF MUDD
  • MARION RAVEN
  • THE BUDDY RICH BIG BAND
  • VASCO ROSSI
  • STRYPER
  • MICHAEL SWEET
  • WALTER TROUT
  • LESLIE WEST
  • BROOKE WHITE
  • AMANDA MARSHALL
A partial list of artists Kenny has performed live with:

  • PAUL MCCARTNEY
  • STING
  • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
  • LADY GAGA
  • BRUNO MARS
  • KEITH RICHARDS
  • JOHN MELLENCAMP
  • CHRIS CORNELL
  • SMASHING PUMPKINS
  • LIONEL RICHIE
  • JOHN FOGERTY
  • DAVE GROHL
  • JOE WALSH
  • DON HENLEY
  • BOB SEGER
  • JOE COCKER
  • JON BON JOVI
  • KID ROCK
  • STEVIE WONDER
  • JOHN MAYER
  • KEITH URBAN
  • LORD
  • JOAN JET & THE BLACKHEARTS
  • THE BODEANS
  • WILLIE NELSON
  • LEE ANN WOMACK
  • GOO GOO DOLLS
  • MELISSA ETHRIDGE
  • STYX
  • DR. JOHN
  • CHICKENFOOT
  • PAUL SCHAFFER’S CBS ORCHESTRA
  • MICHELLE BRANCH
  • AARON NEVILLE
  • PATTIE LABELLE
  • MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER
  • B.B. KING
  • BOB DYLAN
  • RICHIE SAMBORA
  • JEFFERSON AIRPLANE
  • HANK WILLIAMS JR.

“The purpose of a drummer,” Aronoff explains, “is to first and foremost pick the right beat that’s gonna get that song on the radio. Second is to keep time and try to get the band to play in time with you. Third: Make it feel good so you inspire the other people in the band to play great. And finally, that’s when you can become creative. I’m the employee. My job is to listen, learn, lead. And I understand I’m not the boss.”

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