Scott Asheton, the drummer of The Stooges since its inception and along with his late brother Ron and frontman Iggy Pop, and who remained a consistent member of the group, passed away on March 15, 2014. He was 64. The news of Asheton’s passing was posted today to Iggy Pop’s Facebook page.
With Ron Asheton on guitar, Scott Asheton on drums, Dave Alexander on bass, and Iggy Pop on snarling lead vocals, The Stooges became of the progenitors of the entire punk scene which followed it. While scores of bands at the time were singing and playing music that was essentially white man’s blues, The Stooges turned the heat on the collective Bunsen burner skyward and forged a new musician’s game, one in which attitude and fierce white noise was the order of the day. While originally on the fringes of the fringe when they first started, it was on the strength of albums like Raw Power, Funhouse, and their self-titled debut released 45 years ago this year, that The Stooges became one of the leading pioneers in the sculpting and eventual finalized shaping the first wave of punk music, circa 1976 to 1980, crystallized in places like New York City, LA, and England.
The band’s music was shotgun serpentine, exploding with a cacophony of notes that were more like small Chinese throwing stars, shooting out of speakers like weaponry, metaphorically bloodletting the listener in the greatest possible way. Like a lot of things powerful, The Stooges weren’t and still aren’t for everyone. But even so, they have staked their claim in rock music history and then some.
And it was the playing of Scott Asheton that had a lot to do with their success sonically. Like tightening the spring mechanism in a watch until the wires get so taut they could cut through steel, that’s the way to describe the drumming style of Scott Asheton. He gave a relentless beat throughout their songs, never letting up, in essence, organic loops. While he could be spontaneous and limber on the drum kit, it was his extreme penchant for being able to keep time in such a perfect, breathless way that allowed the band the breathing room to go off in the lunatic bizarreness of sonic sound they became best known for and renowned for.
The Stooges originally broke up in 1974, but reunited in 2003 with Asheton touring with them until 2011 when he suffered a severe stroke. After that, Asheton retired from touring with the group, but did play drums on the groups 2013 album Ready To Die.
Iggy Pop left a heartfelt statement for his fallen musical comrade on his Facebook page today:
My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night.
Scott was a great artist, I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Asheton’s have always been and continue to be a second family to me.
My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.