Tuesday, 6 January 2009

RIP Ron Asheton!


No need for me to tell you much of anything about Ron Asheton - he played some of the very best electric guitar EVER, and provided some riffs that will surely blow minds yet unborn.

And now the legend is gone, found dead on the couch in his Ann Arbor home, apparently lying there undiscovered a few days. Imagine if you'd been a thief and broken into his place and found him like that.

Many years ago, I was taking a road trip to Chicago with some friends, including Mike Gribben (former drummer of Grasshopper). I guess this would have been the mid-to-late 1990s - a period in which Mr. Asheton had long disappeared from public sight and was widely rumoured to be basically just living at home, playing guitar in his garage and not doing very much.

At some point in this roadtrip, while driving through Michigan, Mike suggested we give Ron Asheton a call and see if he was around. As I recall, his number was right there in the phonebook, believe it or not. Sadly, Ron did not answer the phone and we did not connect. I never did meet the man or even see him play a show.

Which brings me to the recent Stooges reunion, and the release of a new Stooges record The Weirdness in 2007. I'll be totally honest here:

I hated this record so very, very much that it put me off the whole reunion, and the ensuing tour, and even soured me on the Iggster himself a little bit.

Now that Ron is dead, Iggy Pop is quoted as saying, "he was my best friend".

Hmmm. Well, of course I'm really in no position to comment on that, but it sure didn't seem to this observer like Iggy treated Ron as you might a best friend - either before the reunion (when he seemed to basically ignore the fact that Ron was actually, you know, alive) or after (when Iggy's comments on the Ashetons read to me as being grudgingly respectful at best). I sometimes had the impression Iggy was resentful that he needed the Ashetons around for the record/reunion at all.

Anyways, I am glad that Ron Asheton was able to play to some big, appreciative crowds again before he passed on, even if it was behind *ack* The Weirdness.

RIP and major respect to this sonic overlord.

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