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Kenny Aronoff: His Life Was Saved By Rock And Roll

Risking it all for rock and roll, drumming legend Kenny Aronoff quit the classical route to find that, suddenly, he had only "25 feet to save [his] career."

Kenny Aronoff

Photo: Robert Downs

Drummer Kenny Aronoff returns to Indiana to discuss his new memoir, "Sex, Drums, Rock 'n' Roll: The Hardest Hitting Man in Show Business."

Kenny Aronoff is a name best known to careful readers of liner notes, but if you’ve turned on a rock radio station in the last 35 years, then chances are good you’ve heard his distinctive drum sound. Sales of the records on which he has appeared have topped 300 million. He has recorded and toured with everyone from Bob Dylan to Celine Dion, Bon Jovi to B.B. King, Smashing Pumpkins to Iggy Pop. And, for more than 30 years, from his IU days through his work with John Mellencamp and beyond, Bloomington was his home base.

Last weekend was a homecoming for Aronoff, who brought with him a new memoir, Sex, Drums, Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Hardest Hitting Man in Show Business, and a one-man show based on the book. Prior to his stop at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, he sat down with WFIU’s John Bailey. They discussed how his time in the conservatory granted him chops and discipline but diverted him from his true passion, and relived do-or-die moments in the studio with Mellencamp, and other peaks and pitfalls on his circuitous path to renown.

John Bailey

John Bailey came to Bloomington in January 2011, bringing with him more than 16 years of experience in public radio as a program director, classical music and news host, membership coordinator, and manager of online initiatives. He is a University of Missouri graduate and a native of the Show-Me State.

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