R.I.P. Ron Asheton (July 17, 1948 – January 6, 2009)


As reported by Reuters today:
Ron Asheton, a guitarist and founding member of the influential rock band The Stooges, was found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Tuesday, police said.

Asheton, 60, was found on his couch and appeared to have been dead for several days, Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Brad Hill said.

The Stooges, while not only being one of the most important rock bands of all time, also happen to be one of my personal favorites. With their classic song "I Wanna Be Your Dog" being my favorite rock song, the epitome of what every good rock song should be. One of my fondest memories is of seeing them play in Long Beach, CA. in 2003, just a few shows after they had reunited for the first time in decades. Standing in their presence and hearing a set filled with songs that meant so much to me, but that I never thought I'd hear live, was one of life's incomparable experiences, one of the hugest rushes I've ever had (seeing, then newly reunited, Mission of Burma that same weekend wasn't far behind though!).

While Iggy Pop has always been the face of the band, Asheton's vicious guitar (and bass at some points) has been its backbone. The guitar lines that he played on The Stooges' late-60's and early-70's albums set the tone and the precedent for all underground and subversive rock music to follow. Without Asheton there would be no punk-rock, no post-punk, no indie-rock, and so on. That is no overestimation of his and The Stooges' contribution to the landscape of all rock music that would come after them.

Below is a video of the reunited Stooges performing a rousing rendition of "I Wanna Be Your Dog". I'll still take the recorded version over any others that I've heard, with its pounding drums, thumping bass, buzzsaw guitar, single note piano line, and manic sleighbells. But this is the best live version that I found on YouTube. This one goes out to you Mr. Asheton.


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