R.I.P. Scott Asheton of The Stooges

Sunday, March 16, 2014
R.I.P. Scott Asheton of The Stooges

We hate to interrupt your Sunday with bad news, but we’ve just gotten the word ourselves, and we knew that Rhino’s readership would want to know: Scott Asheton, drummer and founding member of The Stooges, died yesterday.

Word of Asheton’s death came courtesy of Iggy Pop himself, who offered the following statement via his official Facebook page:

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.

Asheton co-founded the Stooges with his elder brother, the late Ron Asheton, Pop, and bassist Dave Alexander, recording two albums for Elektra: their 1969 self-titled debut and 1970’s Fun House. Although Alexander left the band shortly thereafter, the Asheton brothers stuck with Pop, with Ron taking over bass duties while James Williamson joined on guitar. After the Stooges broke up in February 1974, Asheton continued onward with his musical career, working with former MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith (as the drummer for Sonic’s Rendezvous Band), Sonny Vincent, and Scott Morgan, and when the Stooges reformed in 2003, Asheton was ready to roll, touring with the band and participating in the recording of their 2007 reunion album, The Weirdness.

While the cause of Asheton’s death remains unconfirmed at present, it’s been well documented that his health had suffered in recent years, most notably in 2011, when he had to be replaced for the Stooges’ European festival tour. At the time, Pop told Rolling Stone, “He was rushed to the hospital after our appearance in Hellfest in France. “He was on a flight to England when all sorts of hell broke loose. Without proper medical attention right there he would have bought it.”

Although Asheton was back behind the drum kit for the Stooges’ 2013 album, Ready to Die, his only live performance with the band was for their October 2012 Austin City Limits appearance. Only a week ago, Rolling Stone quoted Williamson as saying, “Scotty is losing a step here and there, and he just can’t keep up with that brutal touring schedule,” although he added optimistically that his bandmate was “getting better,” noting that “he brought a lot to the party on the last record.”

In fairness, though, Scott Asheton always brought the party, as you’ll hear if you give another listen to The Stooges and Fun House… and as you do so, be sure remember him fondly.