Skip to main content

Scott Asheton, Stooges drummer, dies at 64

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
<a href='http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/joe-strummers-1963-thunderbird-auction-20140814' target='_blank'>It was announced in August </a>that a car belonging to Joe Strummer of The Clash, right, with band members Mick Jones, left, and Paul Simonon in 1978, would be auctioned. The 1963 Chalfont Blue Ford Thunderbird was reportedly driven by him while he was recording his debut album. The Clash played a major role in the history of punk music: It was announced in August that a car belonging to Joe Strummer of The Clash, right, with band members Mick Jones, left, and Paul Simonon in 1978, would be auctioned. The 1963 Chalfont Blue Ford Thunderbird was reportedly driven by him while he was recording his debut album. The Clash played a major role in the history of punk music:
HIDE CAPTION
A short history of punk
A short history of punk: 'Nuggets'
The Velvet Underground
The Stooges
Jonathan Richman/Modern Lovers
New York Dolls
Ramones
Sex Pistols
The Clash
The Damned
Blondie
Television
Richard Hell and the Voidoids
Patti Smith Group
Bad Brains
Talking Heads
The Jam
Sham 69
Black Flag
X
Fear
Dead Kennedys
The Misfits
Social Distortion
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Scott Asheton, drummer for Stooges, dies at 64
  • The Stooges were pioneers of punk, with raging, loud sound
  • Band's albums, including "Fun House" and "Raw Power," were influential
  • "He was like my brother," Iggy Pop wrote on Facebook

(CNN) -- Scott Asheton, who co-founded and played drums for the influential proto-punk band the Stooges, has died. He was 64.

The death was disclosed by singer Iggy Pop, who formed the band with Asheton, Scott's brother Ron and Dave Alexander in 1967.

"My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night," Pop wrote Sunday on Facebook, not mentioning the cause of death.

"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."

Ron Asheton died in 2009.

The Stooges were punk well before punk rock came along. At a time when even hard rock bands were putting forth a little peace and love, the Stooges were brash, forthright and polarizing, relying on the brute force of power chords and Pop's peanut-butter-smearing antics to establish a core of followers.

"Taking their cue from the over-amplified pounding of British blues, the primal raunch of American garage rock, and the psychedelic rock (as well as the audience-baiting) of the Doors, the Stooges were raw, immediate, and vulgar," Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote on Allmusic.com.

Pop told CNN in 2010 that the sound happened partly by accident. The band was a little too "studious" in the early days, but after their manager "pulled the plug on our rehearsal room," in Pop's telling, the singer started stalking the manager around the place. Pop's anger rubbed off on the Asheton brothers.

Scott Asheton at the Stooges\' 2010 Rock Hall induction.
Scott Asheton at the Stooges' 2010 Rock Hall induction.

"When I did that, they played differently. Ron and Scott started playing really furiously, and we were rocking," he recalled.

Iggy Pop roars with a renewed 'Power'

The Ann Arbor, Michigan-formed band's first two albums, "The Stooges" (1969) and "Fun House" (1970), exemplified their sound. The songs were deliberately basic -- two- and three-chord sledgehammers with titles such as "No Fun," "Dirt" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog."

"Artistically, what our group had to offer really was ahead of its time," Pop told CNN. The late Kurt Cobain of the grunge band Nirvana called the Stooges' 1973 album, "Raw Power," his favorite album of all time.

The band wasn't immune to its own behavior. The albums didn't sell, and drug abuse took its toll. After "Raw Power," the Stooges broke up, and Scott Asheton joined several other bands. The Stooges reunited in 2003 and released a fourth album in 2007.

The Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

Social media responded to Asheton's death.

"Deeply (saddened) by the loss of my mate #ScottAsheton," wrote photographer Mick Rock on Twitter, who was very much a part of the '70s scene.

"We all lost a hell of a drummer today. Scott Asheton of the Stooges is gone. MC5, Lou Reed, Iggy... These bands changed me and changed music," tweeted actor Linden Ashby.

Asheton is survived by his wife, Liz, and a daughter, Leanna.

People we've lost in 2014

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 PM EDT, Sun August 24, 2014
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
updated 3:54 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Acclaimed actor-director Richard Attenborough has died at 90, the actor's agent said.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Sun August 24, 2014
The founder of the University of Phoenix, Dr. John G. Sperling, has died. He was 93.
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Don Pardo, the announcer whose velvety baritone voice introduced "Saturday Night Live" hosts on NBC for decades, has died at age 96.
updated 3:34 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Jim Jeffords, who shifted the balance of power in the Senate when he bolted from the Republican Party in 2001, died at age 80.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Former Z-Boys skater Jay Adams died after a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico with his wife. He was 53.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Actress Arlene Martel, who "Star Trek" fans know as Spock's bride-to-be, died of complications from a heart attack. Martel was 78.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Ed Nelson, best known for playing a doctor in the 1960s nighttime soap opera "Peyton Place," has died at 85.
updated 11:08 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Actress Lauren Bacall, known for her distinctive, husky voice and sultry sensuality, has died at age 89.
updated 10:19 PM EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
Robin Williams, who first made America laugh and eventually touched "every element of the human spirit" in a remarkable range of performances, died at age 63.
updated 4:15 PM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
Charles Keating, best known for his role as villain Carl Hutchins on the NBC soap opera "Another World," has died at 72.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
JJ Murphy, an actor who was set to join the "Game of Thrones" cast, died at age 86.
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
Actress Marilyn Burn, a "scream queen" in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," has died at age 64.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
James Brady, former press secretary to Ronald Reagan who was severely wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt on the President, has died at age 73.
updated 9:25 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Nearly 69 years ago, Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk navigated a U.S. B-29 Superfortress called the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, Japan, on a sunny August day.
updated 5:39 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
James Shigeta, a prolific and pioneering Asian-American actor whose 50-year career includes the movies "Die Hard" and "Flower Drum Song," has died at age 81.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in "The Patriot," has died at age 21.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
James Garner, the understated, wisecracking everyman actor who enjoyed multi-generational success on both the small and big screen, has died. He was 86.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Actress Elaine Stritch, known for her brash persona, gravelly voice and versatility over seven decades on Broadway, has died at age 89.
updated 12:28 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
American blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter died in a hotel room in Switzerland at age 70.
updated 5:59 PM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize-winning South African author and anti-apartheid activist, has died at age 90.
ADVERTISEMENT