Born July 2, 1959, Keith Cronin is best known as the drummer behind artists like Clarence Clemons and Pat Travers. Keith's interest in drumming can probably be traced back to the 60's, when the TV show The Monkees became popular. One glimpse of Micky Dolenz pounding those skins (well, actually, pretending to pound the skins, ineptly air-drumming on a drumkit that had apparently been set up by the wardrobe mistress, to tracks that had been previously laid down by session pro Hal Blaine), and Keith's future was clear. He would be a drummer — simple as that.
He mowed lawns and scrimped and saved, finally convincing his parents to help him invest in a cheap set of drums when he was 13. He never looked back. (His parents thought it was a phase he was going through. Wrong.)
Practicing like a madman, Keith's progress was rapid, and at 14 he found himself playing in local clubs. His mother would drop him off and pick him up, showing up at the end of Keith's gigs in a bathrobe and curlers to sleepily drive her son home.
Keith went on to study music at Indiana University, home of the largest music school in the world, whose percussive alumni include Kenny Aronoff, Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, and Shawn Pelton. At Indiana, Keith was awarded the Performer's Certificate, the school's highest honor. During his stay at IU, Keith played in famed jazz educator David Baker's big band as well as David's own professional combo, and taught drums at jazz camps held by legendary clinician Jamey Aebersold. In addition to studying under IU percussion great Wilber T. England, Keith also took private lessons with Kenny Aronoff, back in the days when a lesson with Kenny was an all-afternoon hang, after which he'd cook you some of his famous vegetarian spaghetti.
Turning down an offer of a graduate assistanceship to complete his master's degree at IU, Keith instead plunged into a career path that took advantage of his versatility, including two lengthy tours of duty on Caribbean cruise ships (what a rough life!), a stint at Disney World and Epcot, and then nearly a decade of nonstop touring and recording, traveling throughout the US, Canada, and Europe.
In 1987, Keith landed the drum gig with guitar hero Pat Travers, whose previous drummers included Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain, and Ozzy Osbourne's Tommy Aldridge. Touring non-stop for 2 years, Keith recorded a variety of tracks, only some of which have been released, and picked up numerous endorsements for drums, cymbals, sticks, and heads. Keith was featured in a series of magazine ads for the "Kill On Command" line of custom-built drums made by Resurrection Drums, one of the pioneers in custom drum-building.
An active educator, Keith's most memorable drum clinic was one he presented as part of a duo, with drumming legend Roy Burns as his partner. Roy is a long-time hero for Keith, and performed the first drum clinic Keith had ever attended, so this memorable meeting of the minds was a dream come true! Roy later described the clinic in his popular Concepts column in Modern Drummer Magazine, in this article, which has now been republished on Aquarian's site.
In the 90's, Keith's interests began to veer to songwriting. Three of his compositions can be heard on the 1996 release "Voices in My Head" by Florida sax star Sha-Shaty. Portions of his songs were also used in the 2001 ESPY Awards Show (the "academy awards of sports"), where he performed live with Clarence Clemons in Las Vegas.
The 90's also found Keith involved with environmentalist / performer / educator Earthman, the character used by Lanny Smith to spread the word about recycling and ecological awareness to elementary school children. With Earthman, Keith performed scores of concerts, drumming, singing, and speaking to children across South Florida.
In the late 90's, a chance meeting with Clarence Clemons, the charismatic saxophonist for the legendary E Street Band, led to an association now in its tenth year. Playing with Clarence's Florida-based band, Keith has performed all over the United States, Canada, and Europe, and twice has been joined on stage by The Boss himself. Keith's most recent performance with Bruce was recorded live at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and a track featuring Bruce is included on Clarence's current CD!
Keith also finds time to play with the Florida band Thursday's Child, an acoustic group playing songs that Keith characterizes as "10,000 Maniacs meets Karen Carpenter meets the Cowboy Junkies." (That makes sense, right?)
On September 7, 2011, Keith debuted his first novel, Me Again.