Today I finished reading an excellent book by Kenny Aronoff titled Sex, Drums, Rock ‘n’ Roll! Reading like a detailed resume and a memoir the book catalogs Aronoff’s remarkable career from his days backing John Mellencamp, to hundreds of sessions, dozens of tours, countless drum clinics and more. What I really enjoyed in addition to the personal history was the technical drum-speak spread throughout the book detailing how Aronoff came up with his signature sound and unique styles to appease the producers he worked with.
Aronoff’s list of clients includes: Melissa Etheridge, John Fogerty, Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks, Smashing Pumpkins, the BoDeans, Paul Westerberg, Celine Dion, Iggy Pop, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Brian Wilson, Meat Loaf, Joe Cocker and more.
Despite the “drum-talk” geared specifically to fellow drummers the book has a nice balance of narrative so non-drummers won’t be bored. Some notes of particular interest include Aronoff’s personal recollections on the difficulties of playing in John Mellencamp’s backing band. Despite climbing to the top of the charts with such hits as Hurt So Good, Little Pink Houses, and Jack and Diane Mellencamp’s overdriven personality often pushed his musicians to their limits. Another interesting aspect of the book outlines the ridiculous (and self-inflicted) schedule of jetting around the country playing session-after-session-after session.
No one appears to work harder than Aronoff. As a result we see how his obsessive dedication to his craft weighed heavily on his personal life, specifically his family. The book also contains a plethora of honest quotes from artists who have worked with Aronoff on recordings or live performances. This further explains what makes him tick. Aronoff also offers sound advice for those looking to break into the industry such as charting and practicing efficiently. For those looking for an interesting and intimate look into the life of a real rock star drummer Sex, Drums, Rock ‘n’ Roll! delivers.