The Stooges drummer Scott Asheton died of a heart attack this past Saturday. Now Iggy Pop has called Rolling Stone and spoken about Asheton. Pop also said “I definitely have no plans to be a touring musician for the next couple of years.”
Iggy Pop on Scott Asheton:
I first met Scott Asheton when I was working at Discount Records in Ann Arbor to augment my drumming. He used to stand with [future Stooges bassist] Dave Alexander at the corner of State Street and Liberty, which is grand central for the University of Michigan campus. Scott impressed me immediately by his obvious physical gift. He remembered this better than I do, but he would bug me to teach him how to play drums.
Things didn’t get very far until I realized it would better for me to work with a good drummer rather than continuing as a drummer myself in blues bands. Also, you could just look at this guy and tell that he had it. He was just a likable and attractive person, and he picked the drums right up. I gave him my kit and showed him a couple of things. I’d be like, “Here’s how you do a Stax Volt beat. Here’s a Bo Diddley beat. This is a Middle Eastern one.” He got it very quickly. I didn’t have to show him much.
Scott played drums with a boxer’s authority. When he wanted to, he had a heavy hand on the drums. He hit the drum very hard, but there were never a lot of elbows flying. He wasn’t showy. He didn’t have to make a physical demonstration to get the job done. When he played with you, it was always swinging. He brought a swinging truth to the music he played and extreme musical honesty.
The thing that Flea and Chad Smith always understood is that Scott always played a little behind the beat, always a little back. He would hold the band back, just very slightly, from where it might have gone if it was going to rush ahead. It gave authority and a kind of trance to the music. He always, always, always played the song. He never got up there and started playing the kit to show everyone what he could play.
When we reformed for Coachella in 2003, we hadn’t played together in years. He used to ride [bassist] Mike Watt and say, “Watt, that note isn’t on the song.” He wouldn’t say, “It’s not on the record.” He’d say, “It’s not on the song.” He just always understood that he was playing a part in a song. We were a group that worked with a real simple vocabulary, and you need a lot of help if you haven’t got a Burt Bacharach or Paul Simon. How do you bring in songcraft and hold it together? He helped with that a lot.
For the rest of Iggy’s comments, head to Rolling Stone.
– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post –