Simon Vozick-Levinson
January 06, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EST

Sad news today: Ron Asheton, the guitarist from The Stooges, has died at age 60. He and his brother, drummer Scott Asheton, never became household names the way frontman Iggy Pop did, but Ron’s raucous guitar parts on those first two Stooges albums in1969 and 1970 laid the groundwork for so much rock ‘n’ roll to come.

I was lucky enough to interview Ron in January 2007, after the reunited Stooges had just finished recording their first studio album in over three decades with producer Steve Albini in Chicago. Asheton was in a great mood then, talking proudly about how he’d eased right back into the old Stooges groove without any of the old drama. “When you’re the reckless rebel, when you’re a kid, everything is, ‘The girls will like this record, and then when we’re done, we can go to the club and we’ll smoke some dope!'” he told me. “But now it’s the satisfaction after the day’s work, to ride back in the van from the studio to our hotel in Chicago, and then be on the expressway, and see the whole Chicago skyline, which is a beautiful skyline, lit up at night, listening to your day’s work.” Ron wanted to keep those good vibes going, and he had no intention of putting down his guitar anytime soon. “You’re a professional musician. You can’t be forced to retire. Look at B.B. King, what is he, 80-something? That’s the beauty of being a musician. They can’t take it away from you. It’s your music, and you’re pumping it out. You just play ’til you drop.”

And now, those are such bittersweet words.

Let us know what you remember about Ron and the Stooges and what they meant to you.

More on the Stooges:
Talking to Ron Asheton in 2007 about the Stooges’ reunion
They’ve been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year
Dalton Ross gave their reunion album, The Weirdness, a B– review
They jammed at Bam Margera’s wedding, and EW was there

addCredit(“Robert Matheu/Retna”)

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