Interview: Drummer Kenny Aronoff to Play Clinic at Bienes Center
Among drummers, Kenny Aronoff is a name synonymous with talent, power, reliability and innovation. During the '80s and '90s, Aronoff toured with John Cougar Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Smashing Pumpkins, Melissa Etheridge and John Fogerty, and has recorded with Elton John, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, B.B. King, Meatloaf, Eddie Money, Alanis Morissette, Rod Stewart, Rob Thomas, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Aronoff will showcase his skills for Resurrection Drums' latest clinic Wednesday, April 21 at The Bienes Center for the Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas High School (2801 SW 12th Street, Fort Lauderdale).
Get more background on the event and Aronoff after the jump.
"I'll talk about the fundamentals of drumming, but my clinics are geared for anyone who wants to be successful in life," says Aronoff, while discussing the motivational aspects of his presentations. Aronoff has three keys to success, which are valuable for anyone wishing to be successful in any endeavor. Of course, for drummers, the three keys are essential. "I was always hungry to learn and hungry for a challenge...it is all in the challenge," explains Aronoff. "I'll spend the rest of my life trying to be the best that I can be. But I can only take credit for one thing; I know how to work hard. It all takes hard work!"
"I had a passion for music ever since I was a little kid," explains Aronoff a native of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, "I think it is mostly my make-up that drew me toward drumming...I'm a high-spirited, high-energy person....drumming is so physical, that's why drumming was so perfect for me." This, coupled with area's artistic influences, cemented Aronoff's love of music.
Aronoff was largely self-taught on drum set until his early teens. "I was in a band called the Alley Cats, we played the Beach Boys and The Beatles," says Aronoff. "When I was 16 years old I saw a kid getting better than me and he was taking classical lessons." Aronoff was serious about his musical training, "so I started taking lessons with a percussionist in the Boston Symphony orchestra." This legendary drummer's incredible success is certainly no accident. Aronoff spent one year studying music at University of Massachusetts and then the next four years at the prestigious School of Music at Indiana University.
"I loved the classical thing but after five years of college I realized that I would rather be playing in clubs than in an orchestra," says Aronoff. "I hadn't been practicing drum set enough so at 23 years old, here I am trying to catch up." Aronoff gives credit to the classical training that he got; mallets, timpani, music theory, technique and, perhaps most importantly, discipline. "The discipline that I got from classical music training was outstanding...there are no short cuts in classical music," says Aronoff.
What does Aronoff love about doing clinics? "I get to play a lot of different music, unlike when I'm doing session or live touring work. I get to play different styles...I get to play the Kenny Aronoff Greatest Hits without writing any of the songs," laughs Aronoff...he gets to pick the set-list. Also, the audience can ask whatever questions they like. "I can talk about handling yourself at an audition, staying in shape, conditioning, charting, practice regimes, functional practicing, how to make it as a session drummer." Aronoff will also talk about the balance around the drum kit; the groove between your four limbs and the groove between the other members of the band, a critical component for success.
Jeff Lee, owner of Resurrection Drums and a former touring drummer himself, is very pleased to be able to bring Aronoff to the area. "The value of being able to have a bird's eye view of someone like Kenny playing and also talking about his experiences as a session drummer and a touring drummer, being able to listen to the ideas of this guy, well the value of that is incalculable."
"Every day has led me to today", says Aronoff, "you learn from your mistakes, that's always the biggest lesson. Success is not measured by fame; success is being the best you can be at what you do. Be prepared but also be humble; never assume that you know it all." Sounds as though there will be a lesson for us all at this clinic.
-- Sayre Berman
7 p.m., Wednesday, April 21 The Bienes Center for the Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas High School 2801 SW 12th St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $15.00 at Resurrection Drums or $20.00 at the door or over the phone. 954-926-0204; www.rezdrums.com
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