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Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton has been found dead from what appears to be a heart attack.
Asheton was still living in Ann Arbor, where he'd been for almost his entire life. I grew up near there, and when I was in high school I used to come into Ann Arbor to hit the record stores and buy punk shirts and books at a place called the Cat's Meow.
I remember being up at the Cat's Meow once in the middle of a weekday and the only two people in the store were me (flipping through Crass and Clockwork Orange shirts) and the dude in his early 30s who worked there and used to school me on all sorts of music stuff. I'd recently gotten heavily into Fun House, so when Ron Asheton came in all trenchcoated up and looking like Mark David Chapman gone to seed I was pretty much blown away.
He kind of faux-nonchalantly moved over to the rack of books they had and hunted around till he found the book on the Stooges that he clearly knew was there. He started talking about how good the Stooges were and asking us if we knew the Stooges. The counter guy and I both obviously did, but neither of us could figure out how to handle what was becoming a really awkward situation. "I used to play in the Stooges," he said. I left pretty much right after that in a mood that was half starstruck and half sad as hell.
Between that experience and the fact that he was into collecting Nazi stuff and lived with his mom forever, I think Ron Asheton was sort of a creep. But he was a creep who absolutely demolished the ruling paradigm of rock guitar--I'm glad that during the last few years of his life at least he got to go back to having an audience bigger than me and the guy from the Cat's Meow.