Ron Asheton has died. He was founder member and guitarist of The Stooges. The news of his death has been a great shock to many people – not just because he was such a great musician and a legend in his own right but also because he was a unique and most gentle individual. I count myself blessed to have met and chatted with him briefly late last summer. I’m not normally shy about meeting well known people I have such creative respect for but when you have taken so long to secure your most favourite band ever for your baby anti-format music show you can suddenly get a little hesitant. The momentous Iggy and the Stooges performed a set with a grindy groove worthy of an express train running over your head for forty minutes flat. It was hard not to leap up and whirl around or even want to rip your clothes off and flail about on the floor like a mad thing which for some reason listening to The Stooges always makes me kind of want to do. After the set I took a deep breath and went into the dressing room to say thank you. I was anxious to see that they had enjoyed it as the start was a little haphazard on our tv-land side. We hadn’t finished lighting and in true Stooges style we all scrambled to attention at Ron’s first and ever so punctual chord – crrrwaaaaahhhhh – wake up everybody! I also had trouble with a set that was meant to be closed – friends of the previous bands roadies and their mates/mother/assorted pets suddenly turned up lining at least one wall all gawping – some even filming – such disrespect. I wasn’t going to be the one to ask The Stooges if they would mind stopping and start again in five minutes time once I had cleared the set of rabble. Not quite the done thing really. Anyway, afterwards I swallowed that breath and walked into the dressing room. I introduced myself and I have to say I have never met such a truly polite and grateful group of men. Ron went out of his way to introduce himself, find out more about the show and thank me. He was so kind and enthusiastic about what we were doing. So Ron I now thank you again for being the very heartbeat and backbone of something so special over the years with your Asheton sound. Prior to that day I have been lucky to see Iggy and The Stooges perform live twice in the last two years – once at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the Meltdown Festival where the venue was so small and the gig was so rocking I swear I have not been the same since and lastly at Clapham in 2008. I have always been struck with Ron’s oddly graceful and static stance when performing – his delicate wrists and hands whirring so precisely over the frets of his guitar, one foot always forward of the other, his camo jacket and soft baby skin. It was a humbl<wbr>ing and most graci<wbr>ous pleas<wbr>ure to meet you Ron. A uniqu<wbr>e and kind man of such unden<wbr>iable<wbr> talen<wbr>t and chara<wbr>cter.<wbr> You have gone too soon.<wbr> Big hugs for the journ<wbr>ey and all the people you have left behind. My thoughts are with all of you – especially the band and tech crew who have lost a best friend and a true brother. Ron’s light shines bright and very very loud. A happy jewel of a man from Ann Arbor, Michigan who finally got to enjoy the success he so most definately deserved.
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