Friday, March 21, 2014

Farewell, Rock Action.

[From the NY Times] Scott Asheton, the original drummer and a founder of the influential rock band the Stooges, died this week in Ann Arbor, Mich.  He was 64.

The cause was a heart attack, his daughter, Leanna Asheton, said.

Formed in Ann Arbor in 1967, the Stooges — Mr. Asheton, the singer Iggy Pop, the bassist Dave Alexander and the guitarist Ron Asheton, Scott’s brother — boiled down rock ’n’ roll to its aggressive base elements in songs about boredom and desire. Over time, through their small and powerful discography and the hundreds of bands they inspired, they left a lasting mark on rock music.
Their sound was powered by Mr. Asheton’s drumming, its hard, whacking grooves and patterns on songs like “No Fun,” “Down on the Street,” “1969,” “TV Eye” and “Raw Power,” seemingly adapted from Bo Diddley, Motown and early Little Richard.
Nicknamed Rock Action — he had the words tattooed on his left forearm, with a lightning bolt through them — Scott Randolph Asheton was born on Aug. 16, 1949, in Washington.  After the death of his father, Ronald, a Marine Corps pilot, his mother, Ann, moved the family to Ann Arbor.

Mr. Asheton could be tight-lipped compared with his more voluble brother Ron and the gregarious, exhibitionistic Iggy Pop, who said of him in an interview this week: “He was the Marlboro man, a man of few words and unquestionable masculinity, and he was the moral and spiritual enforcer of the group.”

The Stooges, originally the Psychedelic Stooges, began as kind of amateur avant-gardists — “like jazz gone wild,” Iggy Pop once said. They played their first gig on Halloween in 1967.  Scott Asheton’s homemade drum set, as his brother recalled it, included a 55-gallon oil drum, timbales and a snare, though no cymbals.

Within a year, living and rehearsing together in a series of rented houses, the group got its style and songwriting in line, started opening for bands at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, and was signed by Elektra Records.

After releasing the albums “The Stooges” (1969), “Fun House” (1970) and, with a lineup change, “Raw Power” (1973), the band broke up, challenged by commercial failure, problematic management and members’ own drug habits.

Mr. Asheton went on to play in a few other bands in the late 1970s. By the 1990s he was dividing his time between Michigan and Florida.

The Stooges reunited in 2003, with Mr. Asheton on board. In their second life they toured the world, playing to many more people than they did the first time around. Mr. Asheton played on the band’s album “The Weirdness,” released in 2007.

Ron Asheton died in 2009, and Scott Asheton, experiencing sudden illness, dropped out of the band’s tour in the summer of 2011. He played on the Stooges’ 2013 album, “Ready to Die,” but did not take part in the tour that followed.

In addition to his daughter, an actress, Mr. Asheton is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; his stepsons, Simon and Aaron Wallis; and a sister, Kathleen Asheton. 

“He drummed songs,” Iggy Pop said. “He had terrific force in his hands, and a natural power punch, a knockout punch, without flailing.”

He added, “He always played truth on the instrument — always.”

1 comment:

  1. Rest in peace,and respect to one of the men and women that made my teenage years just that much louder and so much better.