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Kenny Aronoff to Host 18th Annual Parnelli Awards

December 6, 2018

LAS VEGAS – The Parnelli Awards Board of Advisors announces that Grammy nominated drummer extraordinaire Kenny Aronoff will be the host for the 18th Annual Parnelli Awards held at the Hilton Anaheim on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.

Aronoff is one of the most in-demand musicians working today. He has recorded and/or toured with artists as diverse as Celine Dion and The Smashing Pumpkins. Just a few others include The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Sting, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Alice Cooper, Joe Cocker, Lady Gaga, John Fogerty, Elton John, Garth Brooks, Lynyrd Skynyrd, B.B. King, Ray Charles and The Buddy Rich Band. He joined the John Cougar Mellencamp’s band in 1980, recorded 10 albums with him, and toured with him over a 17-year period. He’s considered one of the most influential drummers, with accolades including being on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time” and being named #1 Pop/Rock Drummer and #1 Studio Drummer by Modern Drummer for five consecutive years. Altogether, he has recorded on 300 million records sold, including 1,300 records that were RIAA-certified gold, platinum, and diamond, 60 of which were nominated for, or won, a Grammy Award.

Aronoff is also comfortable being out from the drumkit. He’s a sought-after inspirational speaker, and in 2016, he published his memoir, Sex, Drums, Rock ‘n’ Roll! The Hardest Hitting Man in Show Business.

“Kenny is one of the world’s greatest drummers, but he’s also known for his sense of humor and storytelling,” says Parnelli Awards executive producer Terry Lowe. “He’s the musician’s musician, and no doubt many in the Parnelli Award audience will have crossed paths with this great guy at some point during his storied career.”

Aronoff grew up in Stockbridge, MA, and like so many others, was inspired to play music after seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Initially self-taught, he would pursue classical music, ending up at what is now called Tanglewood Music Center working with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Arthur Fiedler. He studied percussion at Indiana University, and after graduating, he was offered jobs with several symphony orchestras, but turned his attention to jazz and fusion, studying and playing in New York City and Boston. He later decided to return to his rock ‘n’ roll roots, and in 1980 he won an audition with Mellencamp. In 1996, Kenny toured with Bob Seger and Melissa Etheridge. In 1998, he toured with John Fogerty and also the Smashing Pumpkins. Starting that same year, he toured with Joe Cocker for 10 years. From 2008 to 2014, he performed at the Kennedy Center Honors and has played on many TV specials honoring artists like Gregg Allman, Johnny Cash, Dr. John, John Lennon, Merle Haggard and Kenny Rogers.

“I’m very excited to be part of the Parnelli Awards, because this is an opportunity for me to thank everyone of you who has helped me do my job at the highest level when I perform,” says Aronoff. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the road performing in over 68 countries around the world for almost four decades with many different artists or bands. And a large part of my success, whether it’s in a stadium, or in a small venue or the Grammy’s or the Kennedy Center Honors, is the people working their butts off before, during and after every performance I do. Teams win Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Titles and Stanley Cups, not individuals. You all help me do my job!”

The Parnelli Awards are made possible by the generous support of the industry leaders. Since 2001, hundreds of the live event industry’s highest achievers and most admired innovators have received a Parnelli Award. For more information and to make your reservation, go to