Kenny Aronoff: The Seven Steps for Longevity

Published On December 17, 2013 | November/December 2013

‘‘Kenny Aronoff is one of the world’s most influential and in-demand drummers. The list of artists he’s worked with reads like a who’s who of the music industry, and includes John Mellencamp, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bob Seger, John Fogerty, Melissa Etheridge, Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Puddle of Mudd, Avril Lavigne, Joe Cocker, B. B. King, Mick Jagger, Ray Charles, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Bonnie Raitt, Ricky Martin, Gladys Knight, Aaron Neville, Patti LaBelle, George Jones, and many others. With a style of playing that combines power and finesse, Kenny was named the #1 Pop/Rock Drummer and the #1 Studio Drummer for five consecutive years by the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine and in addition has played on over 30 Grammy-nominated recordings.’

What do you do to stay healthy both long term and short term (at home and on the road)?
There are seven basic things about my health; lifting weights, cardio, stretching, the food I eat, supplements, water and sleep, six and seven I’m a little bit lacking on though. I used to brag about how I only needed like four or five hours of sleep, but then I read that you really need seven or eight to repair your mind and body and for longevity, which is what I’m going for. As far as food, I’m on a gluten free diet…and it works for me. Being off gluten helps with silent inflammation. I played so many sports and have done so much drumming; when I got off gluten for six months I noticed a lot of muscle aches that I had went away. It’s a miracle!
People should be getting more educated about what is good to eat. It all starts with what you’re putting inside you. I’m very big on protein, so I try and buy the best chicken, beef and fish I can get while I’m on the road, which is hard. If I want to get beef at home I can go to Whole Foods and get beef with no chemicals or anything bad, but on the road you don’t know where your chicken is coming from, so you do the best you can. For example, I’ll carry in my luggage protein powders, supplements, green foods, snack bars, pumpkin seeds, raisins and sunflower seeds, so when I’m in a place where I can’t get good food I’m heavily supplied. My goal is to be as strong and healthy as I can until the last breath I take. I’d rather live to be 110 being able to walk or run and then just drop, as opposed to not being able to walk because I’m not healthy. Th at’s not my goal—that’s not what I want. I take fish oil; you gotta get the right fish oil, though! Chemical free. It’s good for so many things. I take vitamin
D, it’s almost like an antibiotic. I don’t take flu shots. I don’t trust them. I will double or triple up on my vitamin D if I feel like I’m getting a cold and it knocks it out right away.

What kind of things make it hard to stay healthy as a musician?
When you’re on the bus aft er a gig and they bring in food on the bus, like when I’m out with the BoDeans, they bring in pizzas, and I love pizza, but I don’t eat it. So you know I just have to ask for other things to be brought in like chicken and salad or a baked potato. Sometimes my glycogen has been used up and I’m craving sugar, so I’ll just eat some dried fruit and that takes care of it. I also try to stay away from drinking; sometimes I’ll have some red wine but I try not to go too crazy. I’ll have one or maybe two glasses.

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