Thursday, 20 March 2014

Vale Scott Asheton

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With the current theme of losing some of the very best and iconic musicians running hot this year, on the 16th of March we lost the drummer for the Stooges, Scott Asheton.

Scott Asheton may not have been the most technically proficient drummers in the world, but he was one of the great "caveman" drummers. By that I mean he belts the skins hard in simple, pounding rhythms, playing exactly what the song needs and deserves, and nothing more. He never overplayed anything,  but then the Stooges only ever played their tunes in a rudimentary fashion, and for that reason we love them.

They didn't need to be flashy, they didn't need to be showy. The songs didn't demand it, and were better served without it anyway. That's what made the band great. The swagger, the spit 'n' grit shone through without any of the frills that turn great bands into lesser lights. The Stooges were just as cool for what they didn't play, as much as for what they did.

The grooves were anchored by Scott's drumming, but they were simple grooves that locked in tight, and yet swung and rocked like mad.

The first three albums by the Stooges are essential listening in my book, despite the fact that they died the absolute death in the marketplace on first issue. The first, self titled LP is lesser of the three. Album number 2 "Fun House" is on fire, from start to finished. To quote Henry Rollins, "Careful, that one will leave marks." Album #3 "Raw Power" does what it says on the tin - it is raw, with enough grunt to power a Hummer 2 towards a speeding ticket. It is the prototype of what Punk became, four years before The Clash and the Pistols.

Ironically, the Stooges were hated by the generation of people they belonged to (i.e. my parents), but to the next generation and all subsequent ones, they are inspirational. Despite these records being up to 45 years old, they sound as fresh today as they did at any point in history - although probably moreso now, because they would have sounded so "out of fashion" in their day.

Thanks for the music Scott. Rest in Peace.

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