Ron Asheton

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Ron Asheton
Ron Asheton, 1970.png
Ron Asheton in 1970
Background information
Birth name Ronald Franklin Asheton
Born (1948-07-17)July 17, 1948
Washington, D.C.,[1]
Died c. January 6, 2009(2009-01-06) (aged 60)
Ann Arbor, Michigan[1]
Genres Punk rock, hard rock, garage rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, actor
Instruments Guitar, bass, accordion
Years active 1963–2008
Labels Elektra, Columbia, Virgin
Associated acts The Stooges, The New Order, Destroy All Monsters, New Race, Dark Carnival
Notable instruments
Reverend Ron Asheton Signature Guitar (Custom Volcano 390)

Ronald Franklin Asheton (July 17, 1948 – c. January 6, 2009)[2] 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[3] is currently (as of November 2014) ranked at number 60.[4]

Early life

Asheton was born in Washington, D.C.[1] 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. He played guitar with some local bands including The Chosen Few (briefly overlapping with James Williamson (musician), later of the Stooges).

The Stooges

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, the eponymous debut (1969) and Fun House (The Stooges album) (1970). Shortly after they recorded the second roadie Billy Cheetham joined as a second guitarist, James Williamson replaced Cheetham in December. By the summer of 1971 the band beset by drug abuse and dropped by Elektra broke up.

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. 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.

His raw, distorted guitar work with the Stooges was greatly influential for many punk bands to come.

Other work

Apart from The Stooges, Asheton also played in the bands The New Order (not the UK band New Order), Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival, New Race and The Empty Set.

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.[5] 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.[6] Sonic Youth's album The Eternal is dedicated to him.

His brother Scott died on March 15, 2014, also from a heart attack.

Musical equipment

Asheton, Niagara and unidentified drummer, Destroy All Monsters, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, Spring of 1982

Asheton mainly relied on simple setups with very few effect pedals.[7]

  • Vox Super Beatle Amp
  • Marshall 1959
  • Marshall JCM 800
  • Marshall JCM 900
  • Sunn 2000S


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
With The Empty Set
  • Thin Slim & None/Flunkie (1996)
With Powertrane
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.[8]
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).


  1. ^ a b c Aisner, Art (January 6, 2009). "Stooges' guitarist Ron Asheton found dead in his Ann Arbor home". Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton found dead". January 6, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  3. ^ Fricke, David (December 2, 2010). "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Ron Asheton - 100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. December 18, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Velvet Goldmine (1998) – Soundtracks". IMDb. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^[dead link]
  8. ^ Ragnar Kvaran Wrecked on Love, A.T.C. Records, 1981

External links

  • 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
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