Stooges drummer Scott Asheton, aka “Rock Action” Asheton, has died at the age of 64.
A seminal punk band of the 1970s, the Stooges formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1967. Scott Asheton joined James Osterberg, aka Iggy Pop (who formed the band after witnessing a Doors concert at the University of Michigan) as the band’s drummer while his brother Ron played guitar and Dave Alexander played bass. The band released their eponymous debut, The Stooges, in 1969.
The Stooges would release two more albums– 1970’s Fun House and 1973’s Raw Power– before the group disbanded in 1974. Beginning in 1971, the Stooges moved through a roulette of bassists and guitar players (Alexander was replaced by Zeke Zettner, Bill Cheatham was added as an additional guitar player, James Williamson took over guitar, and Ron Asheton switched to bass,) but Asheton remained the only drummer until the band’s breakup.
By the late 1970s, Asheton was playing drums in Sonic’s Rendezvous, who went on hiatus when frontman and former MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith married Patti Smith in 1980. In later life, Asheton continued to play drums as a member of Scot’s Pirates, Sonny Vincent’s Rat Race Choir, and his own band Rock Action. Asheton also made great appearances on Iggy Pop’s VH1: Behind The Music tv episode, shedding light not only on the band’s frontman but on his own contribution to the Stooges’ legacy.
The power and hard-hitting minimalism of his playing style inspired countless punk and indie bands who continue to cite his influence today.
In a statement regarding Asheton’s death, Iggy Pop said of the drummer:
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 Asheton’s 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.