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Stooges guitarist Asheton found dead

The Stooges

Story by Jack Foley

GUITARIST Ron Asheton, of The Stooges (pictured on the left), has been found dead at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it has been announced.

The 60-year-old musician was an original member of the infamous rock band fronted by Iggy Pop in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and which had reunited recently to widespread acclaim.

According to various news reports, there were no signs of foul play found by police, with Ann Arbor police sergeant Brad Hill issuing a statement that suggested the guitarist’s death appeared to be from natural causes.

He added that officers had found Asheton’s body after being called to his home on Tuesday (January 6, 2009) by a friend who hadn’t been able to reach him for several days.

The tragic news comes at a time when the band – which also included Asheton’s brother, Scott, on drums and the late Dave Alexander on bass – are on the shortlist to enter the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.

Formed in 1967, The Stooges quickly became a key act in the punk movement through hits such as 1973’s Raw Power, and other tracks I Wanna Be Your Dog, No Fun and Down On The Street.

They disbanded in 1974, when Pop went on to pursue a solo career and Asheton turned to acting, subsequently appearing in a series of low-budget horror films in the ’80s and ’90s.

But his guitar work remains revered throughout the industry, with Rolling Stone magazine ranking him as the 29th greatest rock guitarist in a poll in 2003. Ironically, this came at the same time that Asheton, his brother Scott and bassist Mike Watt had started playing as The New Stooges.

Iggy Pop subsequently rejoined them in 2003 and they released their first album in three decades, The Weirdness, in 2007, appearing at the Glastonbury Festival in the same summer.