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Scott Asheton, Stooges drummer, dies at 64

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Punk rock combined a DIY sensibility with stripped-down songs and a screw-you attitude. Though the best-known punk movement came out of 1976-77 Britain, the genre had its roots in 1960s garage band America, with bands such as the Seeds, the Sonics and Question Mark and the Mysterians. Their singles were collected on the 1972 LP "Nuggets," which was expanded into a series of boxed sets in the CD era. Punk rock combined a DIY sensibility with stripped-down songs and a screw-you attitude. Though the best-known punk movement came out of 1976-77 Britain, the genre had its roots in 1960s garage band America, with bands such as the Seeds, the Sonics and Question Mark and the Mysterians. Their singles were collected on the 1972 LP "Nuggets," which was expanded into a series of boxed sets in the CD era.
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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.

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