NUVO: Do you think drummers, in particular, take more note of health topics since it's such a physically demanding position?
Aronoff: Yeah, definitely. Drumming makes you become aware of being fit and healthy because most drummers eventually have an accident, or have some physical injury and its wakes them up. It makes them think, “Whoa.” It's too bad John Bonham didn't figure that out. He drank himself to death, you know.
NUVO: You've been on the road with John Fogerty this summer, yes?
Aronoff: Yup, I've been out with Fogerty, also a little bit with Styx because their drummer had a baby. I went out with Goo Goo Dolls because their drummer couldn't do three or four shows. I've been out with The BoDeans, too. A little mixture of everybody. And I'm going to be playing the White House on Nov. 5, one of these shows where I'm the house drummer and I play with everybody. It's for the Armed Forces. The way things are going, there might not be any of them around. They're very busy.
NUVO: My mom was an instrumental band teacher for many, many years. Every summer, she would start all these new 5th grade drummers on their bell kits and snares. What sort of advice would you give to these youngsters?
Aronoff: The advice I give to any young kid is just do it to enjoy it. But what you can get out of it is that there is an introduction to discipline with passion. To be great at anything, you have to work hard at it. When you're young, you want it to be fun. But to somehow convince them the practicing they're doing it going to make it more fun, because they will have so much more facility on the instrument and be able to do more things with that instrument. Which will make it more fun and entertaining for them and the people around them. First and foremost, you don't want it to be an un-fun experience. By the same token, you need to practice on that instrument to be better at it, and therefore you'll enjoy it more.
NUVO: Do you still maintain a residence in Bloomington, or are you full time in LA now?
Aronoff: I'm full time in LA now. I was doing that for a while, but the music budgets have changed radically. So much that people aren't flying me to LA or wherever for just one song anymore. Or even an album. I had to make a decision. It was a slow process of getting an apartment in LA, going back and forth, and eventually I just had to make a commitment.
NUVO: When you were living in Bloomington, how much occasion did you find to get up to Indianapolis?
Aronoff: Anything from when I was in bands in the '70s, playing at the Patio, the Vogue, all that. Hanging out in Broad Ripple was a big thing. With Mellencamp, we'd sell out four nights at Market Square Arena. To experience that …. And being really good friends with Jim Irsay, and the Colts complex … those are incredible memories for me. I used to live up on Allisonville and 71st when I first got out of college and was playing in a band, I lived in Indianapolis for a whole summer. It was really cool. Those are some great memories.
WARMfest 2014, take two
More shots from WARMfest, this time from photographer and artist Bryan Moore.
Another WARMfest came and went this weekend. Yes, I've got my fingers crossed for a repeat appearance in 2015. But, of this one, some thoughts: I spent Friday night holed up at a pre-WARMfest BBQ, watching Mike Dixon of Olympia label People In A Position to Know cut speciality releases by Joyful Noise artists on 1940s Presto 6N record lathes in a detached garage. As strange as it is to say, I think that was the highlight of the entire festival -- for me anyway, even though it didn't occur within the boundaries of Broad Ripple Park like the rest. Dixon and assistants moved operations to the park the next day, where they were weekend favorites of mine. It was beyond cool hearing tracks by bands like Busman's Holiday laid down and cut right in front of us.
As it's been commented on extensively, WARMfest stands out from other regional fest lineups because of its commitment to local acts (hat tip, Broad Ripple Music Fest), and I was pleased to see some of my favorites (KO, Sweet Poison Victim) take the same stages national acts would take over later that evening. Joyful Noise Recordings' curated lineup on Saturday made for an excellent and locally focused day on the mainstage (save for the non-JN injection of Mutemath in the mid-evening), including a truly mindbogglingly odd set by Half Japanese, making due without their drummer (waylaid by paperwork troubles with customs) in glorious, unhinged fashion.
Perhaps that's why I was so happy to be festival-adjacent in the detached garage: WARMfest pulled together this odd mix of groups and labels (of Montreal? Guided by Voices?!) that felt intimate, but still huge.
Slideshow: Motley Crue, Kiss at Klipsch
Lora Olive shot Motley Crue and Kiss at Klipsch Music Center on Saturday, September 1.
KISS drummer Eric Singer had several pieces of good advice for me about bands. And life. He was just full of pearls of wisdom when I spoke with him in late July about KISS' most recent tour. Gems like, "You've got to keep your head together, keep it on straight, keep your nose clean, stay out of trouble." "I always look at music just like life. It's like a roller coaster. Sometimes you get to ride the ride and sometimes you're chugging up the hill." Of course, tonight KISS and Def Leppard hit the stage at Klipsch where Singer won't be giving any advice, but instead just laying waste to his massive kit.
Here's my Q&A with Singer.
NUVO: You were last here with Motley Crue, I believe, two years ago. What are some memories of Indianapolis from previous shows here?
Eric Singer: I've been to Indianapolis many times. Because that's the heartland of America, but it's also one of the main heartlands of KISS. I always tell people, Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland are the three cities where KISS Alive I, II and III were recorded. All three of those albums return to those three cities and they use whatever individual performances from whichever night, which compiled those albums. It's always been one of the bases of our KISS Army fan base, big time. And as you know, there's always a KISS fan expo put on in Indianapolis. That is the premier and number one KISS fan expo. Like I said, we have a lot of connections to that city, personally, as well as professionally as a band.
NUVO: Whenever I interview a classic rock act, I ask to talk to the drummer. I love the drummers.
Singer: I don't know if you saw, but there's a study that claims that drummers are actually — now mind you, I'm paraphrasing — that drummers are usually of a high intellect. … People think drummers are stupid because they hit things and it shakes their brain up, but like I said, this study claims otherwise.
NUVO: Deen Castronovo of Journey told me that the band that made him want to be a drummer was KISS. He says KISS was his Beatles, the reason he became a musician. He saw you and thought, “That's what I want to do forever.” Who did that for you?
Singer: Well, it's hard to say just one individual person, but I would say that everybody of my generation was definitely influenced by the Beatles. I was 6 years old when they were on Ed Sullivan, and they definitely impacted everybody. It wasn't just Ringo, as the drummer; it was the whole Beatles phenomenon. Everybody wanted to look like them, they wanted to grow their hair, they wanted to play guitar, or drums or both. I remember picking up tennis rackets and mimicking it. We thought it was the coolest thing. I've have to say probably [in terms of specific drummer inspiration] Ringo Starr, and Dave Clark and the Dave Clark Five. He had this red sparkle Rogers drum set, and I thought that was really cool – and the band was named after him and he was the drummer. I liked a lot of big bands, like Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson, were definitely two major guys. … I could name a whole slew of guys who either, at different points, impacted or influenced me either because of their drumming or the band. I find myself more influenced by the music and the band than the drummer that is in that particular band. So a lot of times it's more about the music and the band than just the drummer, per se.
NUVO: Who are some modern drummers that you follow?
Singer: I'll tell you, with YouTube, there's a lot of little kids that are out there, like 7 or 8 or 9. There's a kid named Avery Molek. I think he's 7 and that kid is amazing. There's a little girl, a Filipino girl named Alexey. She's amazing. There's a kid who goes by the name Jonah Rocks, he's from Canada and he's amazing. Those are just three little kids that I'm totally impressed by. I mean, these kids are at a level that is so frightening at a young age. Most of them have only played like three or four years, some of them five years maybe. They're better than most … I'm not exaggerating. If you go watch them, you're going to go, “Oh, my god.”
Thomas Pridgen (The Memorials, Suicidal Tendencies), he's a great drummer. Of course everybody is going to say, the Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl, but Taylor Hawkins or Dave Grohl, both those guys who played on the (Foo Fighters) records. I like the band Muse and the drummer of Muse (Dominic Howard). I'm thinking of more. The Foo Fighters, they're not a new band, but they're a newer generation of [guys] than what I grew up on. Those are just a handful of guys. To me, like I said, I'm always more impacted by music more so than the individual player. I've always been more of a guitar freak … not just the guitar as an instrument, but also as art. I love the way that the instruments look. There's a beauty just in the instrument. I've always been attracted to bands that are guitar-driven. If you look at my career, most of the bands that I've played with … those bands were definitely guitar-based and guitar-driven. But they all write good songs. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how great you play, initially; if you can't write a song, you're going to have a tough time.
NUVO: KISS just announced a Las Vegas residency. Tell me about that.
Singer: I don't know much about it, really. We just know we're going to be there for three weeks. Basically, you do three shows a week for three weeks, and they call that a residency. I'm not going to stay there and live there during that time. [People say], “Oh, so you're going to be here for three weeks,” and I'm like, no! We got there and play and go home, because I live in LA and it's an hour flight. But I don't know what our plans are, regarding that with production, what the setlist is going to be. I'm already in the works about getting a drum kit built so I can have something, a different look, something unique or special for that particular run. I was just on the phone with the drum company an hour ago expressing that very stuff.
[Music] Jazz + Blues + R&B
[Music] Jazz + Blues + R&B