Growing up in Massachusetts, Kenny joined his first band at age ten after seeing the BEATLES on the Ed Sullivan show. A self-taught drummer, he played in local bands throughout junior high and high school. At 16, he decided to focus on classical music and began to study seriously with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including world-renowned timpanist Vic Firth. He went on to study at the University of Massachusetts and at Indiana University, where, among other honors, he was awarded the school’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. During summer breaks he played in the symphony orchestras at the Aspen Music Festival (run by The Juilliard School Of Music) and the Tanglewood Music Festival (run by the Boston Symphony Orchestra).
After graduating from IU in 1976, Kenny was offered timpani positions in several symphony orchestras, but instead decided to head to 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 Indiana and spent several years in a popular local band, playing throughout the Midwest. In 1980 he joined the John Mellencamp band, recording 10 albums and touring with him over a 17-year period. Kenny’s innovative style and solid backbeat became the driving force behind Mellencamp’s long run of definitive hit records in the ’80s and ’90s, a list that includes American Fool, Scarecrow, Uh Huh, The Lonesome Jubilee, Whenever We Wanted, Dance Naked, Big Daddy, Human Wheels, Mr. Happy Go Lucky and others.
In the mid-80s, Kenny began to develop an enormously successful career as a studio musician. Today he’s among the world’s most in-demand session drummers, having played on hundreds of records. Recent recording projects include John Fogerty, Rod Stewart, Brian Wilson, BoDeans, Paul Gilbert and many other new artists. For a complete list of his recording credits check out his Discography. Kenny has his own studio in North Hollywood, CA, Uncommon Studios LA where he records drums for artists and bands.
Kenny has also performed live or toured worldwide with many artists including The Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Seger, John Fogerty, Melissa Etheridge, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, Michelle Branch, Styx, Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Gibbons, BoDeans, Ringo Starr, Dr. John, Gregg Allman, and many many more. For a complete list visit the Live History page.
From 1993 to 1997, he was Associate Professor of Percussion at Indiana University. The Aronoff Percussion Scholarship is awarded annually to a percussion student enrolled at IU.
Whether it’s recording, touring, drum clinics or his instructional DVDs and books, Kenny brings tremendous drive, enthusiasm and creativity to everything he does.
Kenny's Clinic starts at 3:00 pm