Tuesday, January 6, 2009


James Newell Osterberg, better known as Iggy Pop, is the undisputed godfather of punk rock, the prototype for a thousand aggressive garage bands, a full-on weirdo, alcoholic, and drug addict who mixed a volatile, high-test blend of electric guitars, electric razors, and the industrial noise from the Detroit auto assembly plants where his father worked. His band, The Stooges, became famous for frenzied, incendiary shows where Iggy might end up bloody and beaten by the time they dragged him away.

Ron Asheton, guitar player and founding member of the The Stooges, was found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Tuesday, police said. Iggy said in a statement that he was in shock about the death of "my best friend."

Ron Asheton, dead at 60

According to Reuters, "...backed by Asheton's guitar riffs on songs such as 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' and 'TV Eye,' the band's music has been credited as a powerful influence on a wide range of punk and alternative bands including The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The White Stripes."

"Asheton's influence on music cannot be overstated." Pitchfork's Stuart Berman credits the Stooges' guitar sound with "help[ing] spawn every guitar-based subgenre you'll find in a reputable record store: glam, metal, punk, goth, hardcore, indie rock, shoegazer, stoner-rock and noise."

The sound was not for everyone. Influenced by the dark side of Lou Reed from the Velvet Underground, and Jim Morrison of the Doors, the band made it even darker and more violent. Homeless in Hollywood, strung out on drugs, in and out of psych wards, the self-destructive singer was literally pulled out of the gutter by David Bowie, at the height of his career, who cleaned Iggy up and brought him along as warm-up act on his "Station to Station" tour. Bowie helped him start a successful solo career in 1977, the year of this video.

David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed

"The Passenger" live in '77

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