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The Kenny Aronoff Experience

Article by Jayson Brinkworth // August 02 2009
The Kenny Aronoff Experience

Here it is, Thursday, June 4, and the big day has arrived. I have been promoting this drum clinic with the one and only Kenny Aronoff for the past five months, and Kenny and I have been communicating for the last year. My music school, Music in the House, along with other sponsors (St John’s Music, SaskMusic, Zildjian, Tama, Shure, Remo, Meinl and Vic Firth) have all come together to make this happen.

Kenny is to fly in on a commercial flight at 4:30pm, the clinic is at 7:30pm, and he will leave tomorrow morning at 10am to get back to Calgary and resume the John Fogerty tour. This is his only day off on the tour, so I am extremely lucky to have him do the clinic.

I am getting ready to leave the house around noon to get the drums re-skinned and make sure everything is in order before he arrives. My cell phone rings at 11:15am, and it is Kenny.

“Jayson, is there any way we could cancel the flights and the hotel?”

I am confused and ask why. To this he responds, “There is a friend of mine here in Calgary who is an executive producer on a project I am doing, and he wants to get a private jet and bring me to the clinic and back.”

I am taken back a bit, but after further discussion it seems like a good idea. So I cancel the hotel and the flights—I had backup flights booked as well. After all of this, I leave and resume my duty of getting things ready with my buddy Ross. Kenny keeps me posted all day on his status, and they leave Calgary at 4:00pm. My head is still not processing all of this, but we go along setting up and getting everything ready.

I head to the airport to pick up Kenny, and whoever else came along, around 5:15pm. The jet has just landed and I greet Kenny and two other gentlemen who came along, Mark (who rented the plane) and his friend Parker. Kenny can’t believe this has happened either and is also feeling very rockstar-like. This is a first for him as well.

We head to the venue and Kenny begins to setup and do sound check. It all goes great with the help of our soundman, JJ. In the meantime I am hanging out with Mark and Parker, who are great guys, and taking care of administrating the event. It was a treat to see Kenny work in sound check and setup. What a pro! This is why everyone hires this guy.

The clinic doors open at 7:15pm, and the people pile in. Some have been waiting for over an hour. Kenny and I hangout backstage running through the format of the event and making sure everything is in place. After everybody has made it in, we finally start around 8:00pm with my introduction. Kenny hits the stage and is in non-stop playing and educating mode for two solid hours. He is a machine. He played every note like it was his last and was as excited about drumming as a beginner. The show wrapped up at 10:00pm with his blazing version of “Straight No Chaser,” followed by a killer solo just to make sure everybody left totally mesmerized.

We gave away a ton of prizes and Kenny signed autographs for about 45 minutes. The clinic was amazing and the 200-plus in attendance were extremely motivated and excited. Now here is where the story takes a twist and gets even better.

After hanging out with Mark and Parker for the evening, we really hit it off. They are not musicians but love music and have never seen or heard of a clinic before. They were blown away! After the clinic, Mark said to me, “Why don’t you come back to Calgary with us tonight on the jet, hangout for the day tomorrow? We will go and see Kenny play with John Fogerty tomorrow night, and you can come home on Saturday.” My first reaction was, “Absolutely!,” but after realizing my responsibilities here, I said I would love too, but I didn’t think so. Well, after getting a talking to by my amazing wife Laura, I answered “yes.”

We left the venue, I picked up a bag of clothes and stuff at home, and we were off. We boarded the jet, and I sat across from Kenny Aronoff for the one hour flight chatting about music and such. We arrived in Calgary, got into Mark’s car and drove to the hotel (Kenny drove us there as well!). Kenny retired for the evening, but Mark, Parker and I hung out for a couple of hours.

The next day I woke up and thought, “What is happening here? How did I get this opportunity of a lifetime?” The day involved Mark and I hanging out chatting about music, business and life. We were supposed to meet Kenny for lunch, but he got tied up earlier than expected. That night we picked up our tickets and backstage passes to the John Fogerty show, and, man, did they rock! Kenny was on fire, and John Fogerty has the energy of a 15 year old.

We made our way backstage after the show to hangout with the band for an hour before they left for the next show. Again I am standing here thinking, “How did this all happen? This is my second night in a row hanging out with Kenny Aronoff.” We were also hanging out with two skiers from the Canadian Olympic team, Jan Hudec and Paul Stutz, more great people.

Mark returned me to my hotel, and I just sat on my bed again (What just happened?).I was up early. My flight left at 11:00am. I got home at 12:00pm and started rehearsals at Music in the House at 1:00pm. I am not sure what the lesson was in all of this, but I am more inspired than ever to play my @#$ off all of the time and to be the best musician/human being that I can every minute of everyday.

Thank you, Kenny, Mark, Parker and Laura.



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About the Author
Jayson  Brinkworth

Jayson Brinkworth is an accomplished drummer, percussionist, vocalist, educator and writer based out of Canada. He is co-owner of the Saskatchewan music school Music In The House, as well as the founder of both the Regina Drum Festival and The Stickman Drum Experience.

Jayson proudly endorses Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Impact cases, Kickport, Flix, Future Sonics and Mountain Rhythm. Visit Jayson online at www.jaysonbrinkworth.com.

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