Sex, Drums, Rock ‘n’ Roll! The Hard­est Hit­ting Man in Show Busi­ness

What makes the book work are the same things that pro­pel Aronoff’s mu­sic: a steady beat, im­pec­ca­ble tim­ing, and al­ways hit­ting hard.

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - PETER DABBENE

Kenny Aronoff Back­beat Books Hard­cover $29.99 (320pp) 978-1-4950-0793-4

Kenny Aronoff shares his in­spi­ra­tional, cau­tion­ary, and cap­ti­vat­ing story of reach­ing the high­est lev­els of the mu­sic busi­ness in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Sex, Drums, Rock ’n’ Roll!

Aronoff may not have the name recog­ni­tion of some rock stars, but he’s im­mensely re­spected within the in­dus­try as a rock drum­mer par

ex­cel­lence. Aronoff dis­cusses his child­hood, for­mal mu­si­cal train­ing, and his first big break with John Mel­len­camp, which even­tu­ally led to work with other artists in the mu­si­cal who’s who.

As one might ex­pect, Aronoff has a few crazy, sor­did tales to tell about life on the road, but Sex, Drums, Rock ’n’ Roll! suc­ceeds be­cause he also shows a thought­ful, re­flec­tive side. Aronoff tries to por­tray per­son­al­ity con­flicts fairly and from all sides, and his tech­nique of in­clud­ing brief com­ments by the peo­ple in ques­tion is highly ef­fec­tive.

Aronoff dis­plays a strik­ing and re­lent­less drive to achieve his goals. From his early clas­si­cal stud­ies to com­pet­ing with other drum­mers for work, he never gives up, al­ways push­ing him­self to prac­tice harder and do bet­ter. This as­pect tran­scends drum­ming and be­comes an over­rid­ing theme in his life.

Of course, there’s a price to one’s per­sonal re­la­tion­ships that goes along with fly­ing around the coun­try at a break­neck pace, and Aronoff is not shy about de­tail­ing his dif­fi­cul­ties in this re­spect. He’s blunt and hon­est about his own short­com­ings, and about ap­ply­ing the same ef­fort to im­prov­ing his fam­ily life as he does to his drum­ming.

The book con­sciously does not drift too far into drum­mer-speak; while there are a few de­scrip­tions of “triple flam-a-did­dles,” a “one-hand press roll,” and the like, Sex, Drums, Rock ’n’ Roll! is al­ways more about Aronoff’s per­sonal jour­ney.

Rock-and-roll fans will en­joy read­ing about Aronoff’s ad­ven­tures with Mel­len­camp, John Fogerty, Bob Dy­lan, Paul Mc­cart­ney, and other big names, but in the end, what makes the book work are the same things that pro­pel Aronoff’s mu­sic: a steady beat, im­pec­ca­ble tim­ing, and al­ways hit­ting hard.

As one might ex­pect, Aronoff has a few crazy, sor­did tales to tell about life on the road, but Sex, Drums, Rock ’n’

Roll! suc­ceeds be­cause he also shows a thought­ful, re­flec­tive side. He’s blunt and hon­est about his own short­com­ings, and about ap­ply­ing the same ef­fort to im­prov­ing his fam­ily life as he does to his drum­ming.

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