Skip to main content

Scott Asheton, Stooges drummer, dies at 64

By Todd Leopold, CNN
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
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.
HIDE CAPTION
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
>
>>
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
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1647 GMT (0047 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in "The Patriot," has died at age 21.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
James Garner, the understated, wisecracking everyman actor who enjoyed multi-generational success on both the small and big screen, has died. He was 86.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Actress Elaine Stritch, known for her brash persona, gravelly voice and versatility over seven decades on Broadway, has died at age 89.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
American blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter died in a hotel room in Switzerland at age 70.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 2159 GMT (0559 HKT)
Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize-winning South African author and anti-apartheid activist, has died at age 90.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
Grammy-winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden, whose music career spanned seven decades and several genres, has died at age 76.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 2030 GMT (0430 HKT)
Renowned conductor Lorin Maazel died from complications of pneumonia at age 84.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT)
Drummer Tommy Ramone was 65 and the last living original member of The Ramones. Ramone was also one of the band's composers.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2321 GMT (0721 HKT)
Rosemary Murphy, an Emmy Award-winning actress, has died. She was 89.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2259 GMT (0659 HKT)
"Harry Potter" actor David Legeno has died at age 50, a California sheriff's office said.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0017 GMT (0817 HKT)
Eileen Ford, who founded Ford Model Agency 70 years ago and helped modernize the modeling industry, has died at the age of 92.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1928 GMT (0328 HKT)
The actor who gave voice to Pinocchio in Walt Disney's 1940 animation movie has died. He was 87.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Eduard Shevardnadze, whose political career seesawed between two extremes, has died at age 86.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
Former Real Madrid star Alfredo Di Stefano, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, has died at the age of 88.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire publisher and banking heir who financed conservative causes that included attempts to discredit Bill Clinton while he was president, has died.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner and World War II officer who survived a horrific plane crash, a seven-week raft journey, near starvation and unspeakable torture, has died at age 97.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1323 GMT (2123 HKT)
Walter Dean Myers, a beloved author of children's books, died following a brief illness. He was 76.
ADVERTISEMENT