Scott Asheton, original drummer for the pioneering Michigan punk band the Stooges, has died at 64 of undisclosed causes. Though details of his death had not been revealed at press time, Stooges singer Iggy Pop paid tribute to his longtime bandmate in a touching Facebook post.
“My dear friend Scott Asheton passed away last night,” Pop wrote on Sunday. “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 [late brother and Stooges guitarist] Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Ashetons have always been and continue to be a second family to me.”
Asheton helped form the Stooges in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1967 with older brother Ron, Pop and Dave Alexander. The combination of his raw, bare-bones drumming, Ron’s doom guitar and Pop’s snot-nosed, snarling vocals helped land the Stooges the title of punk godfathers.
They earned that honor with their very first release, 1969’s lean, mean The Stooges, which featured such iconic anthems as “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “No Fun,” “Real Cool Time” and “Not Right.”
Nicknamed “Rock Action,” the quiet, unassuming drummer was born on August 16, 1949, in Washington, D.C. At 14, his family moved to Ann Arbor, and three years later he co-formed the Stooges, who debuted at a Halloween show at their collective house in 1967. They were signed by Elektra Records in 1968 and though their debut flopped, they released another classic, the dark, manic Fun House, in 1970.
After a turbulent few years, the Stooges split in 1974 after releasing Raw Power. Asheton went on to form the short-lived Sonic Rendezvous Band with a number of other Detroit punk first-wavers and spent much of the next decade as a family man.
The Ashetons reunited with Pop in 2003, appearing on the singer’s Skull Ring solo album, which led the way to a full-fledged Stooges reunion tour. The band released two more albums, The Weirdness and last year’s Ready to Die. Asheton was on hand in March 2010 when the Stooges were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Asheton was forced to quit a Stooges tour in 2011 due to ill health and had performed sporadically ever since.