Aaron Kenyon was born and raised in Pomona, California. His father was a drummer and his groups often practiced in the family garage. Having music and musicians around from a young age influenced Aaron to become a musician himself and be part of the local music culture. As a young person, Kenyon tried a few different instruments, but gravitated to the bass guitar because of the way it made him feel when he stood in front of the speaker cabinet. He has been playing bass for 25 years.
Aaron’s grandmother began bringing him to Claremont at a young age. While walking Aaron through the town and the colleges she would tell him, “This is the only place of culture in this area.” These walks had a profound effect on him and his feelings about Claremont. Rhino Records became a weekly destination for him from the time he was about 12 years old and he received a lot of musical enculturation from the store over the years. Later on, Kenyon and a friend started a group and practiced in the old College Heights Packing House, then a hub for most of the underground bands in the area. This was his real introduction to the musicians and the music culture of Claremont.
For almost 15 years, Aaron has been working at Rhino Records/Video Paradiso where he is presently a manager. He is also the house booker for The Press restaurant in Claremont and hosted a radio program called “The Radio Autonomous Zone” at KSPC for 5 years.
As Kenyon describes, “Claremont still has a thriving musical scene. It is multifaceted, multigenerational, and is strengthened by being able to draw from many different sources and influences. Booking the music at The Press has given me a unique vantage point from which to see the Claremont scene in its living best, from the up and coming young bands to the old guard. There have been many times that I have watched performances in Claremont and said to myself, ‘I can’t believe I am seeing something THIS GOOD, in a small town such as this;’ world class music for the lucky few. The Claremont musical life and history are truly something to support and give thanks for.”
“I have always had a fascination with the idea of being a product of this particular area of California. I was born and raised in this area, educated in the area (Pitzer College…Hooray!) and have done all of my musical study and collaboration in this area. I have always hoped that I could stand as one example of what our unique cultural landscape can produce. My personal artistic goal has always been to combine music, social consciousness, and spirituality in the hope of deeper shared awareness.”
Photography by Althea Sachs