Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ron Asheton Passes On

Ron Asheton, songwriter and guitarist for The Stooges, passed on Janurary 6. He was 60 years old.

Ron Asheton was born in Washington D.C. on July 17, 1948. He started playing accordion at age five. He took up guitar at age 10. It was in 1967 that Asheton formed The Stooges with brother Scott (the drummer), and James Osterberg (the singer--soon to be famous as Iggy Pop). Originally called The Psychedelic Stooges, a name which would change shortly. They often played with garage rock/protopunk band MC5. In 1969, they released their first album The Stooges. The band had few hits, although they developed a cult following. The Stooges broke up in 1974.

Following the initial breakup of The Stooges, Asheton formed the band The New Order (not to be confused with the British band). After the collapse of The New Order, Asheton then played with Destroy All Monsters. He also played with the short lived Australian band New Race. During the Nineties he was part of the band Dark Carnival. In more recent years he performed with Mark Arm of Mudhoney, J. Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr.), Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth), and Mike Watt (of The Minutemen) under the name The Wylde Rattz. He also played with The Stooges again in the Naughts.

While the average person may not have heard of Ron Asheton, he was a pioneer in rock music. Had it not been for Ron Asheton and The Stooges, punk rock might never have existed. His raucous, dirty guitar influenced punk guitarists ever since. It was the raw, unrehearsed energy of The Stooges which would provide the cornerstone for punk music. And the source of much of that raw energy was Ron Asheton. Rock 'n' roll certainly would not have been the same without him.

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