Saturday, January 10, 2009

Farewell to Ron (1948-2009)

I was very saddened last night to learn that one of my early musical heroes has left this mortal coil. The guitar and bass work of Ron Asheton (far right above)with Iggy and the Stooges was ground breaking stuff in its day, and still sounds raw and vital now.

The Stooges' avowed intent was to make the best bone-head rock in the world; a combination of raw power chords, howling-mad vocals, driving rhythms and anarchic soloing. These guys invented punk back in the late sixties and early seventies; their angry, vicious, visceral sounds were exactly what I was looking for as an angry (but neither a very vicious nor visceral) teenager.
Never heard The Stooges in their heyday? Try this on YouTube from 1970, and remember how things were back then - it was a different world; these guys really were breaking new ground.
Ronald Franklin Asheton never made the big money; the Stooges worldwide fame came long after they'd split - the records never sold in the quantities required to make any of the band hugely wealthy (Iggy Pop, of course, has enjoyed huge commercial success as a solo artist). Until the band's reunion in 2006/07, Ron (in the camouflage jacket above) had been known to play in bars for $15 a night, and yet every rock magazine in the business would rate him as one of the most influential axe-men ever. His obits are in major newspapers the world over.
I'd harboured hopes of finally getting to see them if they came over here again - I guess that's not to be. Cheerio, Ron, thanks for the noise, thanks for the anger, thanks for helping us sweaty, horrid teenagers through.

1 comment:

Up The Conshie said...

Like you, i was very sad to hear of ron's passing.
i was absolutely delighted to finally see the stooges live last summer, 26 years after i first heard a tape of them off a mate of mine and went "what the f*ck is THAT !" Music which still sounds exciting today, 40 years after it was made, how much of todays dross will you be able to say that about ?
I'm looking forward to introducing No2 to the glories of the Stooges in good time, probably starting with showing him you tube footage of the gig he was at when he was about 128 cells big !