Story by Avery Gregurich
Drummer Kenny Aronoff will visit Drake University and perform a free show at Sheslow Auditorium Wednsday night.
Kenny Aronoff is widely considered one of the most well-known and desired drummers in all of music, having recorded and performed with the likes of Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Meat Loaf.
His blend of power and finesse has lead him to be voted the No. 1 Pop/Rock Drummer, as well as No.1 Studio Drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine for five successive years.
Aronoff, 60, is a Massachusetts native who began playing in a band at the age of 10.
At age 16, Aronoff decided to pursue classical music and studied with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He attended the University of Massachusetts and graduated from Indiana University in 1976. Indiana University awarded him the esteemed Performer’s Certificate.
After graduation, Aronoff turned down several timpani positions in orchestras and decided instead to study the drum set in Boston, Mass., and New York. He focused on jazz and fusion music and moved back to Bloomington, Ind., in 1977 to play in a local band.
After playing in this local band and touring the Midwest for several years, he joined fellow Indiana University alumnus John Mellencamp’s recording and touring band in 1980.
He recorded 10 albums with Mellencamp and toured with him for 17 years. His drumming can be heard on some of Mellencamp’s biggest hits, including “Jack and Diane,” “Hurts So Good,” “Small Town,” “Lonely Ol’ Night” and “R.O.C.K in the U.S.A.”
Along with his collaborations with Mellencamp, Aronoff has also had an immensely successful career as a studio musician and touring member of many different bands.
He has played on several hundred recordings across the genres, 30 of which have been nominated for Grammys.
His recent work has had him recording with Avril Lavigne, Keith Urban, Rod Stewart, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley.
He has toured extensively with John Fogerty, Chickenfoot, The Smashing Pumpkins, Joe Cocker and Melissa Etheridge.
Aronoff served as an associate professor of percussion at his alma mater from 1993 to 1997.
In conjunction with his performance, Aronoff will conduct an invitation- only master class in the Turner Jazz Center on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. All wind and percussion students and faculty are invited to attend, as well as other Drake music students.