Jump to content

Ron Asheton Passes....The Stooges


Recommended Posts

May you rest in peace, Ron. Thank you so much for your incredible music and for all of the wonderful times that will forever be associated with it.

My condolences to the family and friends of Ron Asheton. My husband and I have long been Stooges' fans - going back to the band's early days, before the two of us met. Both when my husband and I were single and also later, when we were a couple, we especially loved hearing The Stooges play live.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just heard the sad news. At work all day with no radio sucks.

I can't say how terrible I feel about this. Ron and The Stooges were truly my idols. The first band I was in patterned themselves after these guys and we went and saw them play many times. It's another part of my youth gone. All I can say is thanks for the memories, buddy and rest in peace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton generated raw power

Susan Whitall and Adam Graham / The Detroit News

Ron Asheton: 1948-2009

Ron Asheton's hypnotizing, droning guitar sound helped make classics out of Iggy and the Stooges songs like "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "1969." Asheton was found dead early Tuesday morning at his Ann Arbor home, according to police. No cause of death has been released, although initial reports suggest that it was a heart attack. Asheton, a founding member of the iconic '60s band, was 60.

Asheton's death comes just days before an announcement is expected from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on whether the Stooges will make it into this year's class of inductees. The Stooges -- who inducted fellow Michiganian Madonna into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2008 with a pair of gutter-punk renditions of her hits "Burning Up" and "Ray of Light" -- are nominated along with Metallica, Run-D.M.C., Jeff Beck, Chic, Wanda Jackson, Little Anthony and the Imperials, War and Bobby Womack.

In a statement released Tuesday, Stooges singer Iggy Pop said, "I am in shock. He was my best friend."

A joint statement released by the Stooges called Asheton "irreplaceable. He was a great friend, brother, musician, trouper. He will be missed.

"For all that knew him behind the façade of Mr. Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not. As a musician, Ron was the Guitar God, idol to follow and inspire others. That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him."

The Stooges -- vocalist Iggy Pop (born James Osterberg), guitarist Asheton, drummer (and Ron's little brother) Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander -- formed in Ann Arbor in 1967. The band's raw sound helped lay the template for what would later become punk rock and influenced several generations of do-it-yourself bands.

Iconic music

The group released "The Stooges" in 1969, followed by "Fun House" in 1970 and "Raw Power" in 1973. The Stooges disbanded a year later, and though their music never found much commercial success, it continued to be discovered by up-and-coming rockers.

In subsequent years, the Stooges were name-checked as an influence by figures ranging from Kurt Cobain (who cited "Raw Power" as his favorite album of all time in lists published in his book "Journals") to Guns N' Roses (which covered the song "Raw Power" on 1993's "The Spaghetti Incident?") to the White Stripes' Jack White (who in the liner notes for the reissue of "Fun House" called the album "by proxy the definitive rock album of America"). Both "Raw Power" and "Fun House" were included on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time.

In 2003, after nearly 30 years of inactivity, the Stooges reunited for a series of live shows, including a summertime performance at DTE Energy Music Theatre. Memorably delayed by that summer's blackout, the performance was rescheduled and captured on a live DVD, "Live in Detroit."

The momentum and reception from those live shows resulted in the band yet again becoming a fully functional touring outfit. Several tours and high-profile festival gigs followed, including shows at Meadow Brook Music Festival and the Fox Theatre in Detroit, as well as a 2007 studio album, "The Weirdness."

'He kept it simple'

During the Stooges' 30-year hiatus, Asheton kept busy in a number of bands, including Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival and The New Order, which he formed in Los Angeles with longtime friend, drummer Dennis Thompson of the MC5.

Thompson recalls heading over to the Fun House, the Stooges' Ann Arbor hangout during the late '60s and early '70s, when things would get a little heavy at the MC5 house.

"I would hang out with those guys, watch TV, smoke a joint and relax," Thompson said Tuesday. "We'd laugh, we'd crack jokes. They weren't so serious. They were aware of the revolution, they were aware of the times, but they just liked to have fun. Their outlook on life was a little less serious."

Thompson said Asheton's gift was the simplicity of his playing.

"He could appreciate jazz music and he could appreciate other forms of music, but he kept it simple," Thompson said. "He was a minimalist. The Stooges sound, and the reason they were popular, is because rock and roll should be simple and it should be pure. It was wild excitement crammed into three minutes."

Despite the fact his playing was often seen as rudimentary, Rolling Stone named Asheton the No. 29 guitarist of all-time in its 2003 list of the 100 best guitar players ever. "Asheton was the Detroit punk who made the Stooges' music reek like a puddle of week-old biker sweat," the magazine wrote. "He favored black leather and German iron crosses onstage, and he never let not really knowing how to play get in the way of a big, ugly feedback solo."

An inspiration

Photographer Leni Sinclair, ex-wife of MC5 manager John Sinclair, was on the scene in the 1960s when Asheton and the Stooges were thrilling teenagers and outraging parents with their loud shenanigans in the dank rock halls of Detroit and Ann Arbor.

"It was mesmerizing to hear them play 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' at the Grande Ballroom," Sinclair remembers. "Ron was not a very flamboyant showman on stage, but the sound just got under your skin, if you let yourself go. I saw him again four years ago, and it sounded just like it did back then. He had something special going, a hypnotizing sound."

Ann Arbor promoter Peter Andrews was there in 1967, in Ann Arbor, when Jim Osterberg of Iggy and the Iguanas formed his new band, Iggy and the Stooges.

"When Iggy formed the Stooges, it didn't matter that nobody could play an instrument," Andrews remembers. "After all, the MC5 weren't the best musicians. But the MC5 and the Stooges had their Detroit sound, and Ron was the trouper of that Stooges sound.

"Ron was a sort of a gentle soul in a very ungentle situation," Andrews said. "The Stooges gave him direction. He wasn't a fake. And he brought a certain swagger and cool to the band."

Not all bands from Detroit's acclaimed rock scene of the '60s endured to inspire younger generations, but the Stooges' proto-punk sound was popular with younger musicians like producer Jim Diamond of Ghetto Recorders in Detroit.

"'I Wanna Be Your Dog' was my fuzz-wah guitar bible as a kid," Diamond said. "I learned a lot about how to really play the guitar listening to Ron Asheton growing up. That guy showed you that wild and loose was the way to go."

Detroit News staffer Melody Baetens contributed to this report. You can reach Susan Whitall at (313) 222-2156 or swhitall @detnews.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of "I Wanna Be Your Dog", I have a excellent audience recording of Ron Asheton guesting with Sonic Youth for the encore of IWBYD. Golly gee, and look where they're playing...Pontiac, a Detroit suburb. B)



Teenage Riot

Free City Rhymes

Brother James

Tom Violence

Nevermind (What Was It Anyway)



Renegade Princess

Kool Thing

NYC Ghosts & Flowers


I Wanna Be Yr Dog


Ron Asheton of Stooges fame played guitar on a 15-minute version of "I Wanna Be Yr Dog"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Group tries to remove guitars, memorabilia from Asheton's home

George Hunter / The Detroit News

ANN ARBOR -- The sister of Ron Asheton, the late guitar player for legendary rock band Iggy and the Stooges, has changed the locks on the doors of his home and hired a private security firm to watch the house after an acquaintance of Asheton was discovered trying to remove guitars and other memorabilia from the residence, police said.

Asheton's sister called police after she arrived at her deceased brother's home about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and discovered several people loading his belongings into a van, Ann Arbor Police Lt. Angella Abrams said.

When police arrived, one of them told them that Asheton's sister had assaulted her, Abrams said.

"An acquaintance of Mr. Asheton felt she had full access to his belongings," Abrams said. "That was not the case; the surviving siblings have access to the home and property.

"When the sister walked up while (an acquaintance) of Mr. Asheton was removing property from the home, she called us. This wasn't a very complex matter: The family has the right to the property right now."

Police informed the person she was not allowed on the property without permission from Asheton's relatives, Abrams said. She added that the alleged assault by the sister is under investigation.

Asheton, who was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine 29th on its "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list, helped form The Stooges with legendary rocker Iggy Pop in 1967.

Asheton's body was discovered by police shortly after midnight Tuesday; a cause of death has not yet been determined.

You can reach George Hunter at (313) 222-2134 or ghunter@detnews.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Musical memorial planned for the Stooges' Asheton

Susan Whitall / The Detroit News

Ron Asheton of the Stooges will be honored in a gathering of his friends dubbed "Ronnie ...Thanks a Million: An Elegant Farewell to a Beloved Friend" to be held at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

Asheton, 60, was found dead Jan. 6 in his Ann Arbor home.

The guitarist played with the reconstituted Stooges, one of the most celebrated and notorious bands from the fertile '60s Detroit rock scene. Asheton did not survive to see if the band finally will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, class of 2009.

Saturday's tribute is being hosted by Asheton's former muse and bandmate in the group Destroy All Monsters, the artist Niagara, along with her partner Colonel Galaxy.

There is no admission charge, but Asheton's friends and fans are asked to donate whatever they can to cover the night's expenses, as well as the guitarist's favorite charity, the Michigan Humane Society.

There will be tributes to Asheton by friends and those influenced by him, a film retrospective by Tim Caldwell, and Asheton's own music will be played.

At 11 p.m., there will be a special performance in the Music Hall's Jazz Café by Asheton's former Dark Carnival bandmates, led by Bootsey X & the Lovemasters, and some "very special friends will play in honor of their late band mate and friend."

Asheton is best known for his grinding, proto-punk guitar sound on such Stooges songs as "1969," "No Fun" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog." After Iggy and the Stooges split, he stayed in Michigan to lead the groups Destroy All Monsters and then Dark Carnival.

In a statement, Niagara and the Colonel said: "Ron Asheton was more than an innovative guitarist, he was an easygoing, subtly hilarious guy who, simply and effectively, created a sound and aesthetic which will forever reverberate as long as there are guitar players. Ron maximized his early work into postmodern art of the highest order. In retrospect, Ron's influence cannot be overstated, only imitated. Ronnie used to like to say, 'Thanks a million,' in mock gratitude when joking with friends. Now here's our last chance to say, 'Ronnie... Thanks a Million.' "

For more information on the Ron Asheton tribute, go to www.myspace.com/niagaradetroit. There will be a cash bar in the Hall as well as in the Jazz Café. The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is at 350 Madison in Detroit. Call (313) 887-8500 or go to www.musichall.org.

You can reach Susan Whitall at (313) 222-2156 or swhitall@detnews.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...