Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton dies
The lead guitarist with the legendary rock band has been found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 60
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The Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton has been found dead at his home in Michigan. He was 60.
Police told Ann Arbor News that the musician may have been dead for several days before he was found. Although unconfirmed, initial signs indicate that Asheton died of a heart attack.
Asheton was one of the founding members of the Stooges, along with his brother Scott, bassist Dave Alexander and their charismatic frontman Iggy Pop. With Pop, Asheton helped write songs that would set the template for punk rock, including No Fun and I Wanna Be Your Dog. As befits a band from Ann Arbor, their music distilled the experience of being a bored suburban teen and bottled it as a furious and snarling sonic assault. Their feral take on rock'n'roll, full of feedback and clatter, was the perfect backdrop for Pop's wild stage antics, another big influence for punk performers.
For the band's third album, 1973's Raw Power, Asheton became the band's bassist, but when the Stooges reuinted in 2007 he was back playing lead guitar. Although not wildly succesful during their time, they accrued a cult status that led to them being celebrated as heroes for their successful re-formation. Along with some memorable shows, including a riotous performance at Glastonbury festival in 2007, during which organisers failed to quell a mass stage invasion, the band released an album of new material, The Weirdness. It was their first for over three decades.
The Stooges are currently in the running to be inducted into the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the likes of Chic, Metallica and Run DMC. Five artists will be chosen later this month.
Tributes for Asheton have been flooding in, including the following message from his bandmates: "We are shocked and shaken by the news of Ron's death. He was a great friend, brother, musician, trooper. Irreplaceable. He will be missed. For all that knew him behind the facade of Mr Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not. As a musician Ron was The Guitar God, an idol to follow and inspire others. That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him. Iggy, Scott, Steve, Mike and Crew."
Iggy Pop left the following personal statement: "I am in shock. He was my best friend."