Wednesday, January 07, 2009


RON ASHETON 1948-2009

Hokay you probably heard all about it from another blog by now, but maybe it's time you heard it straight from the keypad of a fan rather than some creep...yes, Mr. Delasabitsch was right when he mentioned in the comment section(see last post) that Ron Asheton, "legendary guitarist from the Stooges" as Jane Scott might have put it, has died this very morning. Ten o'clock Eastern Time which makes his corpse a good five hours and forty-seven minutes old from the time I am typing this post (TACKED ON MUCH LATER NOTE: reports say that he may have been dead for a few days when police found his body this AM). And true, although I never knew the guy, never got to see him live and never even gabbed with him on the telephone I can sure feel a great sense of loss upon hearing of his passing (like I'm sure people like Tim Stegall who has met Asheton on a number of occasions are doing right now manyfold!). Really, I know it and you know it and anyone with a brain knows it, but Asheton was one of the topnotch great guitarists in rock history so what else can I do other than forgo my planned mid-week posting and devote it instead to the guy even though he probably wouldn't've given one whit about it either way. Being the selfish type and all, it sure would make me feel a lot better if I do note his passing rather than just fluff it over as if "ho hum, just anudder sixties casualty croaking forty years after the fact" 'r something as equally assholish, not that I can (unwittingly) fall into such strange chasms myself once in awhile.

So what else can I say about a guy who I guess is so important to the entire BLACK/BLOG TO COMM chemical makeup that he was interviewed in the pages of my very own publishing disaster two times, the only other person to share that same distinction being Mick Farren who probably also didn't realize that he was sitting down for a gab session for the same rundown rinkydink fanzine twice within a few short years. Of course I am proud of this simple fact because Asheton man, he sure was a big influence on a whole passel of things beholden to my late-teens/early-twenties musical makeup. For one thing Mr. A sure looked cool especially in an age of hippie doody and although I was a guy who would have preferred to've looked like Lenny Kaye (who I thought looked coolest of the cool) Ron Asheton did come in a close second. And not only that, but his entire guitar playing style was some of the best one-note crankadoodle heard between the Golden Age of Crankadoodle (1964-1967) and the return to primal aesthetics in 1976! And I do mean it not only in its garage band primitivism but in the way it would really upset the more, er, accomplished practitioners of the form. Just pick up any copy of CREEM to read the venting outrage of the rock & roll habituates of said issue when asked by Lester Bangs and Jaan Uhelzski their opinions of the Stooges...Deep Purple (a band who certainly knew their Detroit groups considering how Bangs and Metal Mike Saunders were more than anxious to label them the British MC5 on many an occasion) flew into a rage upon the mere mention of their name, and fellow Detroiter Ted Nugent would go apopleptic when asked about them, especially regarding Asheton's guitar playing abilities and how he was going to shoot Asheton with a crossbow if the Stooges ever set foot in his neck of the forest again! Back in the day asking Nugent about Ron Asheton would have been akin to asking me about Dave Lang...nothing but hostility baby, and you know I ain't lyin'the way Nugent would curse out anyone who would sing the praises of the Asheton guitar virtuosity in his presence! But really, that is a good sign at least as far as making a music that can shake you up and move you, and the only music that really could succeed like that with me is the music that goes beyond the form and plays beyond the normal realms of respectability and "taste". IN OTHER WORDS the music of the Stooges!

All of Asheton's groups, not only the Stooges, were fine distillations of everything from post-Velvet Underground homage to Midwestern thud existence, and anyone who would deny the high energy and raw power of a New Order, Destroy All Monsters, or Dark Carnival has gotta have his head up a rather un-wiped orifice if you ask me. Heck I'm sure even some of those later groups of his that I passed on out of apathy more than anything else might have had their own special brand of excitement and charm. And hey, if only more kids in the seventies and eighties would have learned guitar by listening to him we wouldn't have had to put up with the reams of dire sounds that the past few decades have produced! Then again we probably wouldn't've had Nirvana, but we can't have everything our way.

Well, at least I'm sure of one thing, and that is with Asheton's death the vaults will probably open up some, so maybe we'll get to hear more Destroy All Monsters live (funny story...while spinning a Destroy All Monsters live tape back in '84 Jillery dismissed Asheton's playing as "acid rock"!) or perhaps even some early Stooges recordings that haven't seen the light of day for four decades already! The ghouls are always anxious to cash in, so I'm sure a whole slew of Asheton-related goodies will be making their way to our abodes more sooner than later. But man, what circumstances these may be! And what else can I do by ending this post with a hearty so long Ron, we're gonna miss you you were the greatest boo hoo sniffle, and when all is said and done all I gotta say is it should have been Ted!

6 comments:

Bassta! Pex, a.k.a. Gramofonije Plocanovic said...

hehe, many people misspelled my name, but this one was the funniest by far! it's Delibasich.
anyway, if you're interested what I've been doing lately:
http://www.myspace.com/gutterguitar

Woody said...

Don't know what to say about this. Ron's guitar playing is such a huge influence on me. I got to meet him about 7 or 8 years ago when he played with Powertrane in Brooklyn. Very cool guy and was patient and polite while I asked him tons of questions. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if you'd heard this story before, Chris, but Steve Marriott wanted the Stooges to do a US tour opening up for Humble Pie, and their management and record label immediately quashed that idea saying that it would be insulting to the audience! People today don't realize how hated the Stooges were in their day - time has proven otherwise, of course...

Christopher said...

Oh yeah, I remember reading about that in a CREEM Rock-A-Rama. According to the blurb the Stooges were also slated to open for T. Rex, and supposedly Marc Bolan himself made the comment about the Stooges being dropped "out of respect for the audience"!!! The joke being that if this were true T. Rex by this time would not being touring at all!

J.D. King said...

Ron Asheton was one of the greats.

I guess people can argue about what the first punk band was. I say it was The Stooges. The first and the best.

RIP, Ron Asheton.

Christopher said...

A correction...I read about the possibility and shooting down of the Stooges as openers for Humble Pie and T. Rex in CREEM's "Rock 'n Roll News" section. "Rock-A-Rama" was the section where Lester Bangs, Peter Laughner and various other approved pundits wrote mini-reviews of the current faves, sometimes under neat aliases.