3.30.2014

THE ASHETON HOUSE WRITTEN BY NIAGARA DETROIT

Scotty and Niagara in Dark Carnival at the Blind Pig 1990 (photo courtesy of Niagara)

THE ASHETON HOUSE

If you ever had the nerve to be within Scott Asheton's force field, you'd have been stunned by his pale, BLUE eyes. He had a deceptively calm demeanor. Dangerous? Yes. You'd find yourself behaving very carefully. This was mid-70's, Ann Arbor.



Scott played drums with Sonic Rendezvous (Fred Smith-MC5, Scott Morgan-Rationals), at Second Chance, a ballroom/bar. Seeing him only made me (and FEW others at that time) miss The Stooges, since their disintegration years before. The last time I saw them: When Metallic K.O was recorded in Detroit.


Scott was a rock solid drummer. His friends called him "Rock.” His tattoo said "Rock Action". 
People even now are intimidated by the memory of him, though he passed away in March 2014. Some wrote me: "He scared the BEJESUS out of me." But his friends adored him. He was a liked guy. No one could stay mad at him.


We met in that club's dressing room. The Ramones also played that night. I wrote for a Parisian mag- “A Letter from Detroit" sort of thing. 

That summer of 1977, Ron Asheton returned from L.A. Finished with his interim, now defunct band, New Order (with Dennis Thompson-MC5). In the next few weeks, he became lead guitar for my band, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS. DAM had been, up till then, a basement Art/Noise unit. DAM with Ron Asheton promised to be eccentric & somewhat dazzling to an expectant local music landscape.


Scott's painting  From the Funhouse show CPop 2004 (photo courtesy of Niagara)

Ron brought me to live at the Asheton House. Mrs. Asheton's house. Ann Asheton. "Ann My Ann's" house. Scott lived there too. The brothers were older than I was...one of Ron's relations took to calling him, "Humbert Humbert". 

At this point Scotty was not consistently looking for fights. He'd just put a friendly stranglehold around various necks.

Once, at a bar, he flattened a patron for getting a little sloppy with me. It may have been his sense of loyalty. It may have been his sense of recreation.

 Ron had a saying: "The bigger the front, the bigger the back", meaning whatever persona you're selling on the outside, it will be the opposite of what's on the inside.

Your regular barroom guy (and also persons with any sense) would keep at a safe distance from Scotty.

At all events, whenever children were in Scott's vicinity, they were drawn to him like a magnet. It was axiomatic. They recognized his child's heart. 

Ann Asheton was the head of meal planning for the entire Ann Arbor school system.

Our schedules barely overlapped. Then she'd return in the evening and plan dinner- though none of us ever ate together. She was capable of running a strict household...except that she had given birth to two Stooges so she had seen it all.

 One time there was no bread on the table. Scott questioned, " NO Buns? No Buns, my babe, No Buns."

When I first started living at the House, Scott would call out, ''Niagara! Look out the window! What's that? It's a witch! What's she saying? You're gonna die!"
("Looking out the window and a witch flew by
 Whipping her broomstick, she said, “You're Gonna Die, You're Gonna die You’re Gonna Die, You're Gonna Die"- my lyrics to DAM's first single: Bored b/w You're Gonna Die)

Very funny.

The Routine: 
We'd sleep till late afternoon, and then went to our respective band practices. After practice, if there was a party, we'd inevitably meet up.

 During daylight hours, Scotty was often non-communicative, grouchy. But we were so busy, and life moved forward. But at night, refueled with necessary libations, he was charming. He was himself. If you found him at a party, you ALWAYS knew where to find him. He was static. He was anti-mingle.



Other times, we'd head for some club. Every current and upcoming Punk band traveled through Joe's Star Bar. When they became more famous, they'd play at the aforementioned, The Chance. We played the same circuit locally. The bands would want to meet us.

They would especially like to tell Ron that his guitar playing was their Holy Grail. It was said by EVERY band's guitarist. The braver ones were also excited to meet Scott.

 If we didn't go on to an after hours party, Ron & I would come home and continue cocktails. Scott would arrive a bit later. 

Ron would rock in the den (he was a rocking chair addict) which was open to the kitchen. Scott would begin gathering his one real meal...after hours of torturing the drums.

For kicks, Ron quietly would pursue the hobby of writing down everything Scott consumed. The lists cracked Ronny up, being so vast and varied, Scotty's appetite being creatively inspired by marihuana. He'd sometime stand in the kitchen, push out his stomach, pat it and muse: "...Yeah...I think I'm going to get me that jumpsuit."!

Ron and Scott were masters at turning nothing into a good time. Deep down they had the wounds of being kicked around. Ron really knew how to tell a story. Scott was more the one-liner type.

Though they remembered the good times in The Stooges, they could never forget the painful ones. Ron could transform anything depressing into an irony or a funny joke. They both had practice at that.

Scott was even younger than Ron when they lost their father. He was an aviator in WWII who gave young Ron piloting lessons. The young Scott became a loner type, a rebel.

They seemed so different, almost opposite.

   Scotty's Busted Drum Head (trashed after only 3 practices) (photo courtesy of Niagara)

But their humor was interwoven. There was shorthand there, key words and verbal signals that were unexpected and unique only to them...and hilarious. 

If we weren't practicing, recording or touring...the nights were ours. Ron and I would hang out in the den. The TV was on the one late night channel: "Cinema Sixty-Two".

The station had a rotation of three movies. The announcer had a lisp, so it was: "THINEMA THIXTY-TWO". Scott was up in his room watching the same thing. He'd come down at every commercial to convey some one-liner spoofing the film, or whatever. We'd never know what to expect.



Sometimes Scott would bring down a "priceless gem" - like show and tell - to entertain me. (His room was always locked, as soon as he went in or out). He had nothing really. But he'd make something of nothing. Once it was their high school year book (photos of Ron, none of Scott) with scrawling to Scott from lovesick girls. When I lived there, one woman wrote Scotty a letter or poem everyday. He'd leave these on the kitchen table, opened...and then, unopened.

Eventually Scott would tell me of a special movie that was going to be on. Something he liked, that he thought I would like. Tennessee Williams, Brando, a quirky, bittersweet love story. Really unexpected. 
Ron liked war movies and could answer every question on those egghead game shows. (Of course, both loved The 3 Stooges. Ron had EVERY one of them memorized by heart. Though you already knew that he was the one who christened "The Stooges").



Once there was a siege at the Asheton House. I don't know how it started. Scotty got his nudie mags and cut out ONLY ASSES and taped them up wherever Ron and I would unexpectedly stumble across them…on our bedroom door...the lampshades! Anywhere where it would be in our faces! It went on for a week-at least. Whenever we thought it was over, we'd open the fridge and... ASS!

Meanwhile, just the rumor of a band called DESTROY ALL MONSTERS with Ron Asheton playing guitar had everyone buzzing. Our first show sealed the deal. We became press darlings.
We traveled, played wild gigs, toured England. Ron and I soon moved out of the Asheton House.

In the mid-80's to mid-90's, I moved from Ann Arbor to front Detroit's DARK CARNIVAL. Ron joined soon after. Scott became the drummer. We practiced from where this is being written. On the wall hangs a Remo hard core drumhead...which Scott had busted through in no time. It's signed: "Tell 'em how I feel, Scott Asheton".



I can never go back to those days. But sometimes, they come back to me.
 Last night I dreamed that I was standing in front of the Asheton House. 
And light was shining from its windows

3.28.2014

THE ROCK & ROLL LAWYER SHOW


This week's guest on the RRLS is Marco Di Maggio who is in town from Italy to perform with his band The Di Maggio Connection on April 5 at the Berkley Front.


To listen to this show, hosted by Sheldon Kay, every Friday at 6 PM EDT go to http://www.tunein.com and type WCXI in the search bar!

Don't forget to join their facebook group for live chat during the show every week: http://www.facebook.com/groups/rockandrolllawyer



50 GRANDE BALLROOM GRANDE RIVIERA PERSONAL SNAP SHOTS


PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY LINDA HANEY AND BARB SMITH BENADERET
CAPTIONS BY STEVE FINLY....
DIGITAL PROPERTY RETROKIMMER.COM 



1. Linda Haney at the concession stand


2. Linda Haney


3. Two girls -- one in red pants outfit.   Barb Smith and ??


4. Jimi Hendrix -- probably at Olympia. (he never played the Grande)


5. Linda Haney


6. The Cream at grande   first gig there. Clapton's playing the famous Gibson SB "Fool" guitar, with the painted images of a face and psychedelic swirls on it.  (He broke the neck on it right before the next gig at the grande... I begged him to sell it to me, even offered to trade him a similar Gibson SG... but he'd already given it to George Harrison.  Oh well.  That same guitar sold for over $700,000G last year and wasn't even playable any more.


7. Linda Haney in gray knit dress.


8. Unknown guy that looks like Jack Black.

The unknown guy who looks like Jack Black in picture #8 is Ron Levine who was part of the MC5's family and road crew at that time. thanks Emil!


9. Gary Rasmussen


10. MC 5


11. MC 5


12. Townsend from the WHO playing a nice Gibson SG. - first gig at Grande


13 the Thyme, in front of Cream's Ginger Baker's drums


14. Wayne Kramer-MC5


15. MC5  Mike Davis and Wayne Kramer


16. Barb Smith(?) and pretty girl.  Someone's house.


17. Rob Tyner  MC5


18. MC5


19. Robin Trower


20. Russ Gibb


21. The Rationals


22. That's me (Steven Finly) and ???


23.Steve Winwood with a nice 66 Gibson reverse Firebird (my brother hand a guitar just like that).


24.  The guy is name Doug -- he was the guitar play in my band, the Ball. Linda Haney


25. MC5


26. My band the BALL playing at a BMF dance.  Tom Jerome Youngman on drums.



27. Cream  (first gig).


28. Cream  (first gig).


29. Cream - first gig at Grande, first night.  Clapton wore that CHAPS outfit on the plane from Chicago.... He was wearing them when I picked them up at the airport with my mom's station wagon.




31.Who. -- first Grande gig.


32. Who


33. ?


34. Who


35. Who


36. Who


37. ?


38. Procol Harum. nice Gibson EB2 base...


39.  Not sure... but it's the Masonic Temple.


40. Traffic - Steve Winwood and drummer


41.The Rationals


42. Steve Winwood


43. John Moffet (dark hair) with... ???  Grande concession stand.


44. Robin Trower


45. Cream. First gig at Grande. first night.


46. The Thyme... a local group, I think.


47. Linda Haney and date with Barb Smith and Dennis Thompson in pink


48.Dennis Thompson MC5


49. mystery band??


50. Looks like Robin Trower again... same Gibson Les Paul guitar.  The July 1970 should help id it for sure.


51.MC5


52. Dave Miller


53. ??


54. Who


55. MC5


56. Rationals


57. Dave Miller Emcee


58. The Apostles -- a local group.

FROM RON D..

FYI on the captions.All the WHO photos are from the Grande-Riviera Theater...4 of the MC5 shots were taken at Masonic Temple when they opened for Hendrix, and 6 MC5 shots are at the Grande...the Hendrix shot is at Masonic Temple...the guy standing by all the posters is Ron Levine, roadie for MC5...it's not Creedance in the shot mentioned rather, it's Thyme...the mystery band is Odds and Ends...also not captioned is the Apostles...the bass player is Dave Knight from Procol Harum,and the keyboard guy is Matthew Fisher from the same...the Steve Winwood and Robin Trower shots are from the Eastown and a Trower shot from the Grande...and it's not Traffic with drummer ,rather it's Daltry and Moon at the Riviera...the band with a question mark is also the Thyme....that's about it. Hope this helps.
Ron D

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON RETRO KIMMER

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