Stooges drummer Scott Asheton is dead at the age of 64.
Asheton, a native of Washington, D.C., moved with his family to Ann Arbor, Michigan at age 14. In 1967, as a teenager, he formed the Stooges with his brother Ron Asheton and friends James Osterberg (bka Iggy Pop) and Dave Alexander. The original lineup released two albums, 1969’s John-Cale-produced self-titled effort and 1970’s Fun House, two ruthlessly swaggering rock ‘n’ roll records that played a huge part in paving the way for punk rock. Asheton was still drumming for the reconfigured Stooges when they released 1973’s Raw Power, an absolute onslaught of noise and debauchery that still sounds breathlessly powerful more than four decades later. Still, the band was largely unrecognized when they disbanded in 1974. Asheton went on to drum in a number of Detroit-area projects including Sonic’s Rendezvous Band with MC5 Fred “Sonic” Smith plus Scott Morgan Band, Scots Pirates, Dark Carnival, and Sonny Vincent. In 2000, J. Mascis and Mike Watt took the Asheton brothers on tour to perform Stooges songs, a sort of victory lap after the band’s legend had accumulated over a quarter-century. By 2003, the a reunited Stooges with Iggy Pop, the Asheton brothers, and Watt was touring, and in 2007 they released a fourth album, The Weirdness. They continued touring after Ron Asheton died of a heart attack in 2009. Despite numerous lineup changes, Scott Asheton was the only person to ever drum for the Stooges until 2011, when he was sidelined from touring by a nearly fatal stroke. He continued as the Stooges’ studio drummer and appeared on 2013’s Ready To Die. He passed away Saturday due of an undisclosed illness.
Iggy Pop issued a statement about Asheton’s death via Facebook:
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 Ashetons 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.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.]