Kenny Aronoff - Sex, Drums, Rock 'n' Roll! (Book Review)
By Dendy Jarrett |
Kenny Aronoff – Sex, Drums, Rock ‘n’ Roll – Book
The pitfalls, payoffs, and perks of being the hardest-hitting man in show business
by Dendy Jarrett
I know what you’re thinking – shouldn't it be “sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll”? But, Kenny Aronoff is quick to point out that he’s lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles but for him, it was drums - not drugs.
I’m not an avid book reader. As a matter of fact, I stink at reading books (I’d rather play drums). But books about drums and drumming come easy for me. And this book was one of those books. And yes, it was written by a drummer!
Kenny Aronoff is known as the "hardest-hitting man in show business" and this book explains why. While the book is about drumming, it is equally focused on sticktuitiveness (no pun intended). He didn’t just catch a break with John Mellancamp, rather he used that as a springboard to completely immerse himself into becoming "the drummer." He works feverishly to take any possible gig he can that comes his way. In doing so, he’s become a schedule master by flying out to do a studio call on a down day while on tour (flying back the same evening to pick the tour back up).
And while I don’t want to spoil the book for you, it’s clear that early on, he took advantage of some of the perqs of the lifestyle (he had groupies for certain), although he’s happily married now. But for Kenny, it’s all about the drive and the love of music.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing many famous drummers in my life and have learned much from them. I’ve only met Kenny once and never had any dealings with him but, after reading his book, I had to convince myself that I didn’t know him personally. The story is interesting, fascinating, and provocative, all at the same time.
If I were to list the artists he’s backed on drums, this would become a 2000 word book-review very quickly. It would probably be quicker to list the people he hasn’t drummed with, but it’s very apparent it has never gone to his head. Driven? That’s very clear. But also grounded and an everyday kind of guy.
He’s a musician and been engrossed in the industry, so the language can be “real” - but read past that. The meat and potatoes of the book is the story of a regular (drummer) guy who made good and the hard work involved in riding that drum throne to success.
I was really taken by the opening short statement of his Epilogue, and to me it's a great summary of Kenny Aronoff: “The greatest reward I have received from playing drums is to see the joy and emotions on the faces of people in front of the stage. It’s never about me or the band—it’s about all of us: the musicians onstage and the audience are a community, sharing, joy, love, fun, happiness, a celebration, and we give to each other, an intimate back and forth.”
If you’re a musician, read this book. It’s a wonderful insight into hard work, the pitfalls, and the payoffs. And above all about how hard work and the love of music can yield great rewards.
You may purchase the book at the following locations:
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.