The late, great Ron Asheton, one of the paramount figures of the original Detroit hard rock/early punk sounds and styles whose work with the original incarnation of The Stooges garnered him as an important of a factor to its influence and staying (raw) power as much as the five foot one man who was born with sonic attitude, Iggy Pop, is being immortalized on a forthcoming DVD to be released in April of this year.
The DVD, which commemorates the man’s legacy and talents via testimonials by fans and friends alike, and a full-length tribute concert done by surviving band members, which was recorded and filmed back on April 10, 2011, bears the direct and to the point title: A Tribute To Ron Asheton.
You can check out the trailer for the DVD here below, along with the track listing and other details.
While he might not be a household name for the most part to the rock and roll mainstream, Ron Asheton remains a true pioneer of his genre and the one that followed it, crystallizing itself when punk music became unbelievably sort of mainstream during the mid to late 1970s, with many bands using The Stooges and the work of Ron Asheton as the road map that got them there. With his lead guitar work on the band’s self-titled debut album The Stooges in 1969 and then the following year’s Fun House, a record that remains one of the most frighteningly urgent and hard-hitting balls to the spiked wall records ever released, Ron Asheton truly employed a kind of simplicity to his guitar work that at first listen, whether it be to an untrained or even a trained ear, sounded rather easy to emulate, simple but gargantuan power riffs and chords and ear-bending single-note solos drenched in heavy distortion yet with a verve and so-to-speak chutzpah that any imitator or imitator-in-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery musician would soon find out was one of a kind, in a class by itself.
The band had barely subsisted on any success in terms of feeding their record company (Elektra) what they wanted, and were dropped soon after Funhouse was released. Switching over to Columbia, and Asheton switching over to bass for the band’s third album Raw Power, (which celebrated its 40th Anniversary recently) also playing that bottom end instrument with a deep style and bluesy approach, counterpointing newly acquired guitarist James Williamson’s dark guitar lines fluidly and flawlessly, with Ron’s brother Scott Asheton pounding away at the drums like of the Ringo/Al Jackson (Booker T and the MG’s)/Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls) less is more, but of equal weight and thunder as any rock drummer at the time before or since, variety.
Those aforementioned men, along with the original screeching sax player on Funhouse, Steve Mackay and former Minutemen/Firehose bass-kicker Mike Watt (who plays with the current incarnation of The Stooges, with Pop, Scott Asheton, and Williamson) were all on hand for the tribute to their fallen comrade, who had died in 2009. Recorded live and electrically so in every sense of the word at The Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, the concert was the brainchild of Ron’s sister Kathy and was curated by Iggy Pop himself. Special guests on that night also included Henry Rollins and guitarist Deniz Tek of Radio Birdmen, two men who, have put the The Stooges at the top of their list when it comes to what shaped their own musical inroads.
From well-known tracks like “Search and Destroy,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “No Fun,” and “Loose” to the equally powerhouse slammed with the wrecking ball shakers like “Fun House,” “Gimme Danger,” “Shake Appeal,” “TV Eye,” and “Dirt” and the rare tracks full of napalm “I Got A Right” and “Open Up and Bleed,” the DVD will no doubt be sure to stand as not only a rumbling sonic testament to one of the most creative and strong, yet relatively unknown guitar figures in musical history, but also as one of the fiery Stooges tracks intones from their first album (which is also included on the DVD live set), a “Real Cool Time.”
The DVD will also sport interviews with fans and musicians and famous figures all touting the man and the band. And most importantly, all profits from the sale of the DVD will go to the Ron Asheton Foundation which supports two tremendous cause: animal welfare and music. You can pre-order the DVD at the site now.
I Got a Right (with Henry Rollins) Raw Power Search and Destroy Gimme Danger Shake Appeal 1970 L.A. Blues Night Theme Beyond the Law Fun House Open Up And Bleed Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell I Wanna Be Your Dog TV Eye Loose Dirt Real Cool Time Iggy’s Speech Ron’s Tune No Fun