Just about every drummer in a punk band in the 1970s modeled their playing after the simplistic yet hard-hitting style of the Stooges' Scott Asheton. Encouraged to learn the drums by his older guitar-playing brother Ron, the duo began by playing along to records with their neighborhood friend Dave Alexander supplying the bass. But it wasn't until Ron asked former high school acquaintance Jim Osterberg to join in on vocals that the group began to gel. Taking the name the Psychedelic Stooges, the band played around the Detroit area in the late '60s, building a following with their pounding, minimalist hard rock, and honing their stage show opening for the likes of the MC5. At first Asheton played unconventional percussion, such as empty oil drums with a pair of hammers, before moving to a regular kit.
Shortly after streamlining their name to the Stooges, the quartet signed on with Elektra Records, issuing two releases, 1969's self-titled debut and 1970's Funhouse, which, although commercially unsuccessful, would go on to become absolute rock classics -- almost single-handedly creating what would later be known as punk rock later in the decade. But with touring came increased substance abuse among most of its members, which prompted the original Stooges lineup to split by 1972. Shortly thereafter, however, a new version of the Stooges was formed, with Ron Asheton switching to bass and newcomer James Williamson taking on the six-string duties, resulting in another certifiable classic, 1973's Raw Power. But yet again, success wasn't in the cards for the Stooges, as the band broke up for good the following year, with Scott having to take a year or two off from music to kick his drug addiction and put his life back on track. During the interim, Asheton's drumming style could be easily detected in such disciples as the Sex Pistols' Paul Cook and the Ramones' Tommy Ramone, among countless others.
By the late '70s, Asheton was manning the drums in Sonic's Rendezvous, a group that was led by former MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith. But despite releasing a single ("City Slang") and touring, the promising group broke up when Smith married Patti Smith (a live CD of a 1978 show, titled Sweet Nothing, was issued in 1998). Not much was heard from Asheton during the '80s, but in the '90s he returned as a member of such groups as Scot's Pirates (on 1994's self-titled debut and 1995's Revolutionary Means), Sonny Vincent's Rat Race Choir (1997's Pure Filth), and Rock Action (the latter a nickname that Pop gave Asheton in the early '70s). In addition, Asheton was interviewed for the superb 1996 book, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored History of Punk (by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain), recounting the Stooges' history, as well as appearing as part of Iggy Pop's VH1: Behind the Music TV episode in 1999. Asheton also took part in a one-off Sonic's Rendezvous reunion in a 1999 show with former Radio Birdman guitarist Deniz Tek taking the place of the late Fred "Sonic" Smith. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi