Ron Asheton, whose scorching and energetic guitar work behind singer Iggy Pop in the Michigan punk band The Stooges established a new model of raw emotion for a succeeding generation of punk, grunge and alternative rockers, has died. He was 60.
Asheton’s body was discovered Tuesday at his home in Ann Arbor, Mich., after his personal assistant had been unable to reach him. Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Brad Hill said there were no signs of foul play and that Asheton appeared to have died of natural causes. Police said it appeared that he had been dead for several days. Autopsy results are pending.
A representative for Pop said the singer had no immediate comment.
“In many ways Ron was the heart of The Stooges, and The Stooges were the creators of punk rock,” Paul Trynka, author of the 2007 biography “Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed,” said Tuesday. “If you don’t understand Ron, you don’t understand The Stooges, and if you don’t understand The Stooges, you don’t understand punk rock.”
The Stooges charted a short but influential career from its formation in 1967 until it disbanded seven years later. Like New York’s Velvet Underground, The Stooges had minimal commercial success, but their recordings and explosive live performances, during which Pop was known to cut himself and vomit on stage, put primal emotion front and center, paving the way for a whole new strain of rock music.
“We really did open up the gate,” Pop said last year, “and through that gate came rats, scorpions and all sorts of things.”