By Ross Cat.
CHECK IT OUT.... The sound of a song from your favorite artist seems so
simple as its taken in by the listener, but the elements that bring it
all together is a mass of complexities that only a musician can truly appreciate.
One musician who has been the driving force to some of rock and rolls most
influential songs and artist over the past twenty-five years is drummer
KENNY ARONOFF. If you take the time to check out the liner notes to several
of your favorite albums and discs you will find that ARONOFF has been the
man who keeps the driving beat behind the band. The powerful precise drummer
has sat behind some of rock and rolls elite entertainers. ARONOFF began
his professional career with JOHN (COUGAR) MELLENCAMP back in 1980. Throughout
his nearly twenty years behind the kit playing with the perfectionist MELLENCAMP,
he developed a reputation among his peers as being a clutch artist making
him the most in-demand drummer in rock music. ARONOFF has been voted top
drummer so many times they may eventually have to name the award after
him. He has played on over thirty Grammy-nominated recordings, but
the most impressive part of his resume is the company he keeps both in
the studio and on the road. ARONOFF’S catalog of credits read like
a plaque you might find in Cleveland at the Hall of Fame, they include
JOE COCKER, JOHN FOGERTY, THE ROLLING STONES, BOB SEGER, MELISSA ETHERIDGE,
BOB DYLAN, SMASHING PUMPKINS, and WILLIE NELSON just to name a few.
Webheads can go to www.kennyaronoff.com
to get a chronological list of the many musicians and projects he has been
part of including the drum clinics he manages to hold all over the world
I had the great pleasure to speak with KENNY ARONOFF as he was
just winding down his current tour with the BO DEANS.
R.Cat.- I see that you started studying classical music as a teen
with the Boston Symphony Orchestra before moving into rock and roll, do
you think that has enabled you to diversify yourself as a drummer and cross
over to the many different genres of music that you’ve accomplished.
K.ARONOFF- Yes, I was very hardcore into classical music as a teenager,
I was as intense about that music as I am about the music I play today.
That training helped my mind focus on crossing over. In college I was playing
R&B, Be-Bop and Country, just about every kind of music out there.
The classical training gave me the one thing that has allowed me to achieve
what I have so far and that is versatility; it really defined me as a musician.
R. Cat.- You spent a great deal of your career with JOHN MELLENCAMP
who has a reputation for being a perfectionist both in the studio and on
the road. Did this experience help you develop a nature to work with such
a wide variety of personalities in other bands?
K. ARONOFF- Yes, being in that kind of work environment makes you
a better all around person and player. JOHN was tough but so were a lot
of conductors who I worked with in my classical training. I pride myself
in my professionalism so I try to surround myself with people who have
the same work ethic.
R. Cat.- I think it was in 1996 and one of the best shows I’ve ever
seen at the Darien Lake PAC when John Fogerty went on tour and was finally
able to play his CCR songs after years of court battles over copyright,
what was it like to be part of that tour?
K.ARONOFF- It was incredible. FOGERTY is such a great singer / songwriter
to be part of something like that was great. Considering the fact both
his fans and JOHN had waited so long to share those songs together again.
As a matter of fact I’m heading to rehearsals with JOHN in the next few
weeks for a string of gigs in Australia from the latest album “Déjà
R.Cat.- Your working relationship with Melissa Etheridge spans over
a decade. What it was like being on stage with her at the Grammy’s
the night of her triumphant return to the stage following her breast cancer
treatment. The band just blew the roof off with that JANIS JOPLIN cover?
K. ARONOFF- It was absolutely amazing. Before the show I knew the
potential was there. What made it really special was the fact that it was
all done live. When you do award shows there is always so much editing
and production that it takes away from the music sometimes. We’re talking
about MELISSA doing JOPLIN two of the most powerful voices ever.
Seeing her come out of her treatment earlier that week and lay it on the
line was historic, being part of that was one of the proudest experiences
of my career.
NIGHT-LIFE would like to thank KENNY ARONOFF for taking time out of his
unbelievably busy schedule. You can find him on the latest TONY IOMMI
CD titled “Fused” as well as the new MELISSA ETHERIDGE greatest hits disc.
ARONOFF may soon find his rightful way to Cleveland as JOHN MELLENCAMP
has been nominated for induction into the R&R Hall for 2006.
Check his website at www.kennyaronoff.com to see his cool drum solo on
video as well as the opportunity to purchase his many books and DVDs.
BEST BETTS.... While Western New Yorkers sing the blues as another long
winter falls upon us, the “Dreams” of a “Blue Sky” and a summertime
visit from the ALLMAN BROTHERS seem like a lifetime away, until now. Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame inductee DICKEY BETTS has bestowed fans with some
GREAT SOUTHERN hospitality with the release of his new dual disc DICKEY
BETTS & GREAT SOUTHERN: Back Where It All Begins-Live At The Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame + Museum.
As a founding member and masterful lead guitarist of one of rocks greatest
jam bands BETTS along with his new gang recorded this blazing performance
in September of last year in Cleveland. The show is highlighted with
several ALLMAN classics penned by BETTS including a rousing rendition of
“Ramblin Man”. Not surprisingly BETTS has surrounded himself with
a consummate band of brothers to run with for this “Revival” of Rock and
Roll standards with colossal contributions from Danny Tolar on guitar and
Michael Kach on the Hammond Organ and vocals.
This live performance is the first time any inductee has returned to the
Rock and Roll hallowed Hall to record a show and is a must see. The DVD
is also accompanied by a five song CD from the show that also includes
sound check versions of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Southbound”.
Check out www.dickeybetts.com
for more information on the band. The dual disc is also available on Amazon.com.
NIGHT-LIFE would also like to thank Wendy Weisberg for turning us on to
this great performance check out her public relations website at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HARDCORE AND HEAVY….. Modern Rock fans in Buffalo where treated to a visit
from heavy-hitters SEVENDUST earlier this month at Club Diablo. The boys
from Atlanta where in town throwing down with contest winners from 103.3
The Edge who mixed and mingled with the band while being treated to an
early listen to the bands newest disc called “Next” now in stores. The
collection of eleven songs is the bands fifth studio effort and finds the
band moving onward and upward. Charismatic front man Lajon Witherspoon
describes the record as the “most honest and most learned work we’ve done”,
“Next” goes back to our roots and showcases that heavy side of us, that
side that wants to rip everybody’s head off”. Look for the band to head
out on the road in full force in the New Year. For more information
on the band go to www.sevendust.info.
SONGS FROM THE SOUL….. Music has often been referred to as the universal
language with every lyric holding a different meaning for each person.
Buffalo has a new author in town, Ron Hirsch, he has written over 100 songs
with that thought in mind. The STRYCH-9 guitarist has published a book
called “The Songs” which is filled with the many lyrics he has written
since he was a young man. The book is well written and bares the fruits
of this musician’s life both sweet and sour. The book also contains the
stories behind his songs, as well as talking about lyrics from the bands
and songwriters who have influenced him.
Ron Hirsch will be at the Walden Book Store for a book signing on Saturday
Oct. 22nd from 1-5 pm, and Sunday Oct. 23rd from 1-5 pm. Check out
the band website for upcoming club dates for STRYCH-9, as well as their
first two discs at www.strych-9band.com.
They will be releasing their next studio album in December titled “LEATHER