John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff on the amicable demise of their singer-drummer dream team
Mellencamp middle, Aronoff far right
By Steve Newton
For many years the resounding thwump of Kenny Aronoff’s drumwork could be heard worldwide on the heartland-rock hits of John Mellencamp.
People first came to notice Aronoff’s skin-bashing abilities big time on the massive 1982 blockbuster “Hurts So Good”, but his percussive powers would continue to meld perfectly with Mellencamp’s vibrant vocalizing–not to mention guitarists Mike Wanchic and Larry’s Crane’s tasty riffs–on killer tracks like “Authority Song” (1983), “Rain on the Scarecrow” (1985), and “Paper in Fire” (1987).
Aronoff’s drums and Mellencamp’s voice were a potent combo until 1996, with Dane Clark stepping behind the kit for Mellencamp’s self-titled release of ’98.
A year later I happened to interview both Mellencamp and Aronoff, and learned that the separation was amicable and had more to do with the passage of time than anything else.
Have a listen:
To hear the full audio of my interviews with John Mellencamp and Kenny Aronoff from 1999 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999