Kenny Aronoff (born March 7, 1953) is an American rock drummer. He has played drums for many musicians, including John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Belinda Carlisle, Elton John, John Fogerty, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Meat Loaf, The BoDeans, Gregg Alexander, The Smashing Pumpkins, Chickenfoot, Tony Iommi, Jon Bon Jovi, Vasco Rossi, Cinderella, Stryper, and Styx.
Aronoff's earliest and biggest influence was The Beatles and their drummer, Ringo Starr. The group's records were the first he ever purchased, and in 2014 he told Starr, "Dude, you've heard it a million times and it's so cliche, but it's true. You're the reason why I'm playing drums. You're the reason why I'm in a band. You're the reason why I decided to be a musician!"
After graduating from Indiana University, in 1976, where he studied under the acclaimed tympanist George Gaber, Aronoff passed on several symphony orchestra offers and decided to head for the East Coast where he studied drum set in Boston and New York. During this time he began to concentrate on jazz and fusion music, and in 1977 he returned to Bloomington, Indiana and spent several years in a popular local band, playing throughout the Midwest.
In 1980 he opted out of an opportunity to audition for Lou Rawls and instead joined John Mellencamp's band, recording 10 albums and touring with him over a 17-year period.
In the mid-1980s, Kenny began to develop an enormously successful career as a studio musician, playing on hundreds of records as well as touring worldwide with many artists. Aronoff has recorded with musicians such as Tony Iommi, John Mellencamp, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Seger, John Fogerty, Melissa Etheridge, Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Alanis Morissette, Joe Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Stryper, Michael Sweet, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cinderella, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Puddle of Mudd, Avril Lavigne, Joe Cocker, B. B. King, Mick Jagger, Ray Charles, M2M, Alice Cooper, The BoDeans, Meat Loaf, Bonnie Raitt, Ricky Martin, Santana, Trey Anastasio, GB Leighton, Michelle Branch, Marion Raven, Vince Gill, Leslie West, Gladys Knight, Aaron Neville, Trisha Yearwood, Patti LaBelle, George Jones, Conway Twitty, The Buddy Rich Big Band, Jefferson Airplane, Jason Sadites, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alex Band, Johnny Cash, Betty Moon, Brooke White, Stevie Nicks, Marshall Crenshaw, Corey Hart (singer), James McMurtry, Nicky Trebek, Switchblade Glory and Frank Manzi.
Aronoff also has been, and remains, an in-demand "sideman", touring with the likes of Richard Thompson (filling in for Dave Mattacks on the second half of Thompson's 1989 tour, after Mattacks broke his arm), as well as on one tour with alternative rock group The Smashing Pumpkins. Recently, Aronoff has performed as the touring drummer on European and US dates for Chickenfoot in place of Chad Smith due to Smith's commitments with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The gear Aronoff endorses are Tama Drums and hardware, Yamaha DTX electronic drums, Vic Firth drumsticks, Evans drum heads, Meinl Percussion, Shure Microphones, and Zildjian cymbals.
In 2005, Aronoff began touring again with roots rock band The BoDeans. He has appeared on their two-CD live set, Homebrewed: Live From the Pabst. Recently, Aronoff had the position of drummer on Avril Lavigne's new CD, The Best Damn Thing. He starred in the track "Everything Back But You".
Aside from his work with Mellencamp, he is well known for his work with John Fogerty, with whom he performed on his 2007 US and European tours and on his 2008 Australian tour.
Aronoff was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists.
Aronoff is one of four rotating drummers in Daryl Hall's house band for his Live From Daryl's House webcast.
As of July 26, 2011, Aronoff is to jam with members of Chickenfoot and is confirmed to tour with the band promoting their second album, temporarily filling in with Chad Smith who is unable to participate in the tour due to commitments with his main band Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Kenny Aronoff official website
2012 Audio Interview with Kenny Aronoff from the Podcast "I'd Hit That"
Interview from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Drums