Skip to main content

Scott Asheton, Stooges drummer, dies at 64

By Todd Leopold, CNN
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
<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
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0008 GMT (0808 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2326 GMT (0726 HKT)
The creator of "Clifford the Big Red Dog," has died, according to his publisher, Scholastic.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Legendary photographer Michel du Cille, a 26-year veteran of The Washington Post, unexpectedly died while on assignment in Liberia.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
Mary Ann Mobley, who was the first Mississippian to be crowned Miss America and then went on to a successful movie career, has died at 77.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2135 GMT (0535 HKT)
Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley on the 1960s TV show "The Addams Family," has died at 59.
December 4, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Ian McLagan, the Faces keyboardist who also played on records by artists like the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, has died at 69.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0027 GMT (0827 HKT)
American saxophonist Bobby Keys, who for years toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones, has died.
November 29, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Roberto Gomez Bolanos gained fame as a comedian, but he was also a writer, actor, screenwriter, songwriter, film director and TV producer.
November 28, 2014 -- Updated 2040 GMT (0440 HKT)
Ryan Knight, a cast member on MTV's "Real World: New Orleans," has died at age 28.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
P.D. James, the British novelist renowned for her crime novels featuring detective Adam Dalgliesh as well as such works as "The Children of Men," has died at age 94.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
A file picture taken on August 20, 2001 shows Lebanese popular singer Sabah displaying her medal after being honored at the opening of the 7th Cairo International Song festival in Cairo. Famed Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, whose seven-decade career made her one of the Arab world's best-known entertainers, died on November 26, 2014 at the age of 87, state media announced.
Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, died in Beirut. She was 87.
November 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has died at age 78.
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 2156 GMT (0556 HKT)
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle on Friday. She was 32.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
Mike Nichols, the award-winning director and pioneering comedian who was one of the few people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award, has died at 83.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
Jimmy Ruffin, silky-voiced singer of the Motown classic "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," died in Las Vegas at 78.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
Prolific television producer Glen Larson passed away at the age of 77 after a battle with cancer. He produced many popular shows, including "Knight Rider" and "Battlestar Galactica."
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 2156 GMT (0556 HKT)
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle at the age of 32.
November 15, 2014 -- Updated 0224 GMT (1024 HKT)
Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne -- the first and, even now, only woman to lead that city -- has died.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Actress Carol Ann Susi, whose brash Brooklyn accent reverberated on the hit television series "The Big Bang Theory," has died after a battle with cancer.
ADVERTISEMENT