The Popstream: R.I.P. Ron Asheton
If you give half a damn about punk rock or garage rock or probably just even rock in general, you've probably heard about the death of Stooges guitarist (and, let's not forget, Destroy All Monsters guitarist) Ron Asheton at age 60. The Stooges' Fun House, along with the first two Black Sabbath albums and the first two Funkadelic albums, was one of the reasons 1970 was such a watershed year for the guitar. Asheton and Tony Iommi and Eddie Hazel all completely redefined just how ugly and intimidating and chaotic and bloody and alive that instrument could get, with a well-laid riff or a where-the-hell-is-this-going solo turning a catchy song into an indelible experience -- and Asheton had his work cut out for him, since he shared stage time with Iggy Pop, who at his peak was the craziest frontman in rock.
Here's two of Asheton's best (and most divergent) performances:
The Stooges, "Dirt" (1970)
Destroy All Monsters, "Bored" (1978)
And while we're at it, here's a fan-favorite video from Cincinnati 1970, in which The Stooges perform "T.V. Eye" and "1970" while a couple of bewildered square-ass TV hosts try to comprehend just what exactly is going on in front of their eyes. ("That's peanut butter!")
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