Iggy Pop Reflects on Stooges Drummer Scott Asheton, Future of Band
The frontman depicts Asheton as a steadying musical force in the Stooges, says neither he nor the band will tour in the near future
Last Sunday (March 16), original Stooges drummer Scott Asheton died of a heart attack at age 64. Today, legendary Stooges frontman Iggy Pop provided a poignant retrospective on his relationship with Asheton, which sheds light on their lifelong collaborations and the future of the band.
In the lengthy narrative for Rolling Stone, Pop recalls meeting Asheton while working at the Ann Arbor, MI record store Discount Records. After attending a Doors concert, the pair formed the Stooges in 1967 alongside Asheton's brother Ron (guitar) and Dave Alexander (bass).
Pop reminisces on teaching Asheton to play the drums and the restrained, yet authoritative style he developed: "He hit the drum very hard, but there were never a lot of elbows flying… Scott always played a little behind the beat, always a little back. He would hold the band back, just very slightly, from where it might have gone if it was going to rush ahead."
A generation after crafting the Stooges' classic albums, he recalls reforming the band with Asheton in 2003 to perform at Coachella. Even then, the drummer was a musical authority in the band, tutoring new bassist Mike Watt to the band's catalog.
Pop also reflects on Asheton, the man:
"Scott just had a certain dignity about him and everyone was always glad to have him in the room. He looked like he could be a tough customer, but I never even heard of him flicking a fly. He looked like the Marlboro Man."
He reveals that aside from music, he was an avid outdoorsman, invested in hunting, fishing and even birdwatching.
Looking ahead, Pop says he "can't see the band playing in the future" and also says he has no plans to tour solo: "I've toured almost every year out of the past forty years. I'll probably tour again at some point, but I don't know when and I don't know how." Still, Pop confesses, "I don't want to say that I'm done with the band."
He mentions jamming with Asheton as recently as last Memorial Day weekend, noting that although he couldn't play as heavily as he once did, he "could wrap up his wrists and get a heavy sound." He mentions a mishap the drummer endured in 2011 that resulted in hospitalization, though he keeps the details private. Asheton was not able to tour with the band thereafter, but was able to play on their last album, 2013's "Ready to Die."
Asheton's brother Ron died of a heart attack in 2009. Regarding Scott Asheton, Pop reflects, "He started playing with Ron in their basement with a little equipment and some dreams. Now they're back together again in some sense."