Ron and Scott Asheton were the nucleus of the Stooges, the greatest fucking punk band in the world. Having attended Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan, with Iggy Pop (né James Osterberg), the Asheton brothers were hoodlum types who attracted other punks with their erratic, wild behavior. As Iggy said of the Ashetons, “These guys were the laziest delinquent sorts of pig slobs ever born. Really spoiled rotten and babied by their mother. [Their] dad had died, so they didn’t have much discipline at home.”
Ron was the lead guitarist, his brother Scott was on drums, and Dave Alexander was the bassist. And, of course, Iggy was the front man and lead singer of the Stooges. That was the original lineup, and they released two amazing albums, the Stooges and Funhouse, before breaking up the first time.
When David Bowie rescued Iggy’s career in 1972, the band was reformed with James Williamson on lead guitar and Ron on bass—Dave Alexander was incapacitated by alcohol and eventually died in 1975. Scott Asheton came back on drums and Scott Thurston was added on keyboards and electric piano. Their third album, Raw Power, was the most magnificent punk rock record ever recorded, and remains the greatest lesson on how rock ’n’ roll ought to be played.
Unfortunately, Ron Asheton died of a heart attack and was discovered by friends on the first day of 2009. He was the best guitarist the punk world had ever seen. He was a great guy, with tons of stories. We sat down for ten hours one night in his mom’s house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the Stooges formed in the basement in 1967....