by Ross CAT

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 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 each year. 
    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 vu”. 

  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 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 for more information on the band. The dual disc is also available on NIGHT-LIFE would also like to thank Wendy Weisberg for turning us on to this great performance check out her public relations website at
    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 
    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  They will be releasing their next studio album in December titled “LEATHER JACKET”.

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