The Stooges’ Punk Rock Pioneer

The Stooges first burst onto the national stage roaring out of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1969 with a cutting-edge and revolutionary debut album, and the music world has not been the same since. At the foundation of that groundbreaking recording was drummer Scott Randolph Asheton. Asheton was born in Washington, DC in 1949 and is nicknamed Rock Action. Along with his brother Ron, school friends Dave Alexander and Jim Osterberg (Iggy Pop), Asheton created experimental music that was ahead of its time and often misunderstood. A closer listen, however, reveals intelligent and thought-provoking compositions and original drumming. Incorporating elements of early garage bands into their own sound, the group’s style would later become regarded as punk rock.

When Pop, who was originally a drummer, gave up playing to front the emerging group, it was Asheton who took up the drum throne. First playing on a makeshift kit of oil drums and miscellaneous percussion, Asheton soon obtained a more traditional drumset. From there, he quickly advanced his playing into the streamlined powerful manner that became his trademark, benefiting the group’s offbeat sense of humor and suburban outcast lyrical content. Originally called the Psychedelic Stooges, the group began garnering audiences at local spots before playing bigger venues, such as Detroit’s famed Grande Ballroom. It wasn’t long from that point that they attracted the attention of Elektra Records and landed a major-label recording contract.

On the ensuing albums, Asheton’s original, powerful, and dynamic drumming not only inspired but also influenced punk rock and many rock drummers of future generations.

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