Ron Asheton in 1970
|Birth name||Ronald Franklin Asheton|
|Born||July 17, 1948|
|Died||c. January 6, 2009 (aged 60)|
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|Genres||Punk rock, hard rock, garage rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, actor|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass, accordion|
|Labels||Elektra, Columbia, Virgin|
|Associated acts||The Stooges, The New Order, Destroy All Monsters, New Race, Dark Carnival|
Ronald Franklin Asheton (July 17, 1948 – c. January 6, 2009) was an American guitarist, bassist and co-songwriter with Iggy Pop for the rock band the Stooges. He formed the Stooges along with Pop and his brother, drummer Scott Asheton, and bassist Dave Alexander. Asheton, once ranked as number 29 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time is currently (as of December 2015) ranked at number 60.
Asheton was born in Washington, D.C. He already had five years of practice on the accordion behind him when he began playing bass guitar at age 10. When he was 13, the family relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan. He and his brother Scott attended Pioneer High School. He played guitar with some local bands including the Prime Movers and The Chosen Few (briefly overlapping with James Williamson, later of the Stooges). He met Iggy Pop soon after and they formed the hard rock band the Stooges.
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By 1967 Asheton was jamming with his brother Scott and friend Dave Alexander. They were soon joined by James "Iggy" Osterberg who remembered Asheton from the Chosen Few. The "Psychedelic Stooges" played their first show Halloween 1967. In 1968 they were signed to Elektra Records along with the MC5 by Danny Fields. He played guitar on and wrote most of the music for their first two albums, debut album The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970). Shortly after recording Fun House, a second guitarist was added to the band, initially former roadie Billy Cheetham, who was shortly thereafter replaced by James Williamson. Infighting between Asheton and Williamson, whom he saw as usurping his role as songwriter and lead guitarist, as well as the toll of extensive drug use, caused the band to break up in 1971.
In 1972 David Bowie invited Pop and Williamson to London to reform the band and record a new album. Eventually, after being unable to find suitable local replacements, Pop invited the Asheton brothers to rejoin but with Ron on bass, a role Ron accepted only begrudgingly. The resulting album, Raw Power, sold poorly initially, but has since been seen as a seminal album in the development of what would later be called punk rock. Tensions and drug use had not gone away during the brief reunion, however, and the band would disintegrate again in February, 1974. Several more releases continued sporadically during the next several decades, mostly recordings of live shows, album remixes, and collections of unreleased recordings, but the Stooges would not tour or record again during the 20th century.
When the Stooges reformed in 2003 he once again appeared as the band's guitarist. He stayed with the band until his death and was replaced by Williamson.
More recently he played with The Wylde Ratttz, a band composed of some of punk and alt-rock's most renowned and respected musicians. The band included Mike Watt of Minutemen, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, and Mark Arm of Mudhoney. It contributed a cover version of the Stooges song "T.V. Eye" to the soundtrack for the Todd Haynes film Velvet Goldmine, which starred Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Asheton's final song "3 Stooges" appeared during the credits of the 2012 comedy film The Three Stooges.
Asheton also acted, appearing with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre star Gunnar Hansen in Mosquito, which was released 1995. He also appeared in two other films: Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo and Legion of the Night.
Asheton was found dead in his bed by police at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the early hours of January 6, 2009, apparently having died of a heart attack a couple of days earlier. Police were summoned to Asheton's house by his personal assistant, who had been unable to reach him for several days. Sonic Youth's album The Eternal is dedicated to him.
His brother Scott died on March 15, 2014, also from a heart attack.
On July 17, 2018 for what would have been Asheton's 70th birthday a tribute concert was held in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan featuring Mike Watt, Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Free Kitten, Mark Arm of Mudhoney, Jennifer Herrema of Royal Trux, Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes, and Don Fleming of Gumball.
- Reverend Ron Asheton Signature guitar (Custom Volcano 390)
- Reverend Jetstream guitar
- Gibson Les Paul
- Gibson Flying V
- Fender Stratocaster
- Gibson SG Jr.
- Guild X-79
- With the Stooges
- With The New Order
- New Order (1977)
- Victim of Circumstance (1989)
- Declaration of War (1990)
- With Destroy All Monsters
- November 22, 1963 (1989)
- Bored (1999) – recorded in 1978
- With New Race
- With Dark Carnival
- Live - Welcome to Show Business (1990)
- Greatest Show in Detroit (1991)
- Last Great Ride (1996)
- HOTBOX Greatest Hits 6 Disc set (2006)
- With The Empty Set
- Thin Slim & None/Flunkie (1996)
- With Powertrane
- Ann Arbor Revival Meeting (2003)
- Other contributions
Asheton played the double tracked guitar solo (referred to as a "guitar duet" in the liner notes) on Ragnar Kvaran's 1981 recording, Wrecked on Love.
He is credited for helping to write the song "Hit Them Again" on the album Radios Appear (1977) by Radio Birdman, as well as one track that can be heard at the end of the movie Mosquito. Some other tracks Asheton wrote had been recorded by the group "Wylde Rattz", for the original score of the movie Velvet Goldmine, but only one song was featured on the soundtrack (1998), as well as another on Beyond Cyberpunk a Wayne Kramer (MC5) assembled CD compilation (2001).
- Aisner, Art (January 6, 2009). "Stooges' guitarist Ron Asheton found dead in his Ann Arbor home". MLive.com. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- "Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton found dead". NME.com. January 6, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Fricke, David (December 2, 2010). "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- "Ron Asheton - 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. December 18, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Laing, Dave (January 8, 2009). "Obituary: Ron Asheton". the Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
- "Velvet Goldmine (1998) – Soundtracks". IMDb.
- Kreps, Daniel (January 6, 2009). "The Stooges Guitarist Ron Asheton Found Dead At 60". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
- Sacher, Andrew (June 14, 2018). "J Mascis, Mike Watt, Kim Gordon, Mark Arm & more playing Ron Asheton tribute". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- http://www.fuzz.se/main.asp?go=8&src=8&sgo=0&am=1&aid=1036[dead link]
- Ragnar Kvaran Wrecked on Love, A.T.C. Records, 1981
- Brown, Daniel (2009). "Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton found dead". Radio France Internationale.
- "Ron Asheton Discography". Discogs. 2016.
- Gross, Jason (2009). "Ron Asheton - Stooges interview". Perfect Sound Forever. Archived from the original on June 16, 2006.
- Broadley, Erin (April 3, 2007). "Iggy and the Stooges: An Interview With Ron Asheton". SuicideGirls.
- "Ron Asheton". NNDB. 2014.
- "Ron Asheton Obituary". Chicago Tribune. 2009.
- "Ron Asheton Signature". Reverend Guitars. 2016.
- Ron Asheton on LocalWiki