Showing posts with label Ron Asheton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ron Asheton. Show all posts

10.11.2015

STOOGES SAX MAN STEVE MACKAY HAS DIED


Steve Mackay, saxophonist for The Stooges, has died due to complications from sepsis. Steve was 66.

Steve was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the 1960s, he went to Ann Arbor to attend  the University of Michigan's art school. This is when he met Iggy (Jim Osterberg) at a Carnal Kitchen gig.

Iggy invited Steve to jam with the Stooges. Steve played on: "Fun House" and "1970".

Following the recording of classic LP Fun House, Steve toured with the Stooges. when Iggy and the Ashetons reunited, he was invited back to perform on the band's 2007 album The Weirdness and 2013's Ready to Die.

 Stooges Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame..Steve second from left

Steve toured with the band in recent years. We got to see him in 2011 play with the Stooges at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor...he was fantastic!

Steve also made solo records and worked with so many other groups such as, Violent Femmes, Sonny Vincent, Mike Watt, and R. Stevie Moore

Iggy shared his thoughts on Steve's passing:

"Steve was a classic '60s American guy, full of generosity and love for anyone he met. Every time he put his sax to his lips and honked, he lightened my road and brightened the whole world. He was a credit to his group and his generation. To know him was to love him. - Iggy."


Rest in peace Steve...our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and legions of fans..

Enjoy this full Stooges show from Detroit



1.27.2015

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS:SHINDIG! MAGAZINE ARTICLE IN ISSUE #45

 destroy all monsters
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Shindig! Magazine Issue #45
submitted by Jon 'Mojo' Mills

“Motherfucker it’s comin’ out of your pay”

The genre breaking band DESTROY ALL MONSTERS featured a cast of Detroit deities including Mike Davis (The MC5) and Ron Asheton (The Stooges). COLIN BRYCE talks with them about art, noise and trees

The genre breaking band DESTROY ALL MONSTERS featured a cast of Detroit deities including Mike Davis (The MC5) and Ron Asheton (The Stooges). COLIN BRYCE talks with them about art, noise and trees

The Destroy All Monsters story began as an art project in around 1974 with the meeting of University Of Michigan (based in Ann Arbor) art students Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Carey Loren and front-person (most commonly known as) Niagara. Their love, respect and interest for all things trash, outside, artistic, unconventional, free, unfettered and noisy brought them together and paved the way for sonic excursions and sound treatments that should most probably be described as un-easy listening, or even – as a fitting tribute to their hero Godzilla – monstrous; unless of course you have an ear for that sort of thing. An artistic and musical mix up of Sun Ra (a Detroit area favourite), The Velvet Underground, Beefheart, comic books, Beardsley, Man Ray, countless B-movies (gangster, monster, exploitation) and a healthy distrust and distaste for authority and the mainstream and you’ll very nearly have a half-cup of the kool aid the Monsters were drinking.

After a close encounter at a one of their (very few) performances you may have found yourself in love with the bands mixture of cheap organs, effects, feedback, moaning, saxophone, violin, clanging, bashing, squealing, squalling and their interpretations of classics like ‘Nature Boy’ or even Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’. Alternately you may have wished you skipped dropping that second hit of purple micro-dot.

“The art collaboration was a group of us that jammed in a basement for about a year,” explains Niagara. “No one ever heard or saw us, except at a college art show. The earlier stuff was quirky and funny, in an anti-music way. We invented noise music, so they say.”

Hiawatha Bailey is a long-standing face on the Ann Arbor/Detroit scene, a close friend of the band who worked as road crew/sound man for Destroy All Monsters. As a performer in his own right he also shared many bills as a member of The Cult Heroes. He recalls seeing an early DAM show at the college: “It was kind of ’50s beatnik and way out in a way.”

It is after the departure of founder members Shaw and Kelley that Larry and Ben Miller joined the Monsters and helped to set off a newer, jazzier and refined approach to the art sonics of the earlier incarnation. But it was once former Stooges and MC5 members Ron Asheton and (a freshly released from prison) Mike Davis joined the gang that all bets were off and Destroy All Monsters became a more fully-fledged rock band with Niagara front and centre sipping on her (now legendary) can of Tab, her wild mane streaked and piled atop her head, and dressed in some of the finest mini-skirts, heels and leopard print brassieres the budget of an aspiring artist will allow.

“Mike (Davis/MC5) and I were in together at Lexington,” recalls Hiawatha. “After I was released I ended up staying at a friend’s place at Whitmore Lake on about 100 acres... Mike came up there for New Year after being at his father’s place in Detroit... I had set up some space to play... More people ended up coming over and Ron told me about Niagara.” It was up at this property that the new high-energy version of Destroy All Monsters first began to get it together.

It is without doubt that the signing on of Ron Asheton and Mike Davis and their contributions musically brought Destroy All Monsters out of the artistic shadows and onto the much larger world stage. The increasing profile of all things “punk rock” and the influence of Asheton’s and Davis’s former bands on the new “punk” groups – even though their previous bands had only been broken up a few years at that point – allowed Destroy All Monsters to get their mugs in magazines like Creem, Rock Scene, Bomp and others. Asheton’s knack for a crafty, hypnotic riff and his experience working with one-of-a-kind front persons clearly also helped broaden Niagara’s often monochromatic vocal styling’s and appeal.

You could say that Ron and Mike brought a bit more “chrome” in general to the Destroy All Monsters camp (pun intended). As interesting as some of the ideas of the early DAM incarnation were they were still a group of young artists exploring and learning how to apply their chosen aesthetics. Nothing wrong of course with artistic experimentation and it certainly works for Destroy All Monsters on the early tracks like ‘From Edgar Cayce’ or ‘Silver Noise Kill Kill’.

Shindig! Magazine Issue #45
Jon 'Mojo' Mills

7.24.2014

NEW ORDER CD ON CLEOPATRA RECORDS


Had a bit of a chat today with The Stooges' former bassist, Jimmy Recca. He told me about this New Order cd for sale on Cleopatra records. The songs were written by all three guys... Ron Asheton, Jimmy Recca and Dennis Thompson

You can get your copy HERE

The mythical mid-’70s proto-punk rock project featuring Stooges alumni Ron Asheton and Jimmy Recca with MC5 drummer Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson!

This reissue of the group’s debut album features the underground classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers,” which has been covered by The Hitmen and The Hellacopters, as well as a special bonus track!

7.06.2014

RON ASHETON AND NIAGARA VISIT DENIZ TEK/HAWAII 1984

 
 Niagara with Deniz's Helmet

DENIZ TEK ORIGINAL POST JAN 2010

Sunrises are often spectacular on the north shore of Oahu. This dawn was exceptional ...The pale seashell pink glow, with bright crimson borders, was almost painfully beautiful. There were splashes of mauve, deepest gentian, and even subtle shadings of celadon green against a gentle milky background.
The only difference was that today the sun was shining on a different background - not sea and sky - but skin. It was the skin of Niagara; skin normally so pale and translucent that the faint criss-crossings of underlying veins often gave it a disturbing blue tint. Today, as the sun rose over Kaneohe, its golden rays highlighted yet another overlay of bruises and welts, the traces of activities left by the night before...

At the Officers Club things were starting to heat up. It was a Friday night squadron party, and the theme was “Sixties”. The F-4 Phantom pilots and RIO’s of VMFA 212 were drinking. They’d be letting their hair down if they had any, and no one ever accused Marines, much less Marine aviators, of being less than totally gung ho at these sort of gatherings. These guys flew hard, fought hard, and played hard. I was their flight surgeon, and flew with them in the back seat. In my cut-off denim jacket with Radio Birdman logo emblazoned, spinning 45’s, playing DJ and feeling very happy. I had an endless supply of local Primo beer and Jack Daniels coming my way, as long as the hits kept spinning on the turntable. Namu, Bone, “Evil” Frog, and some of the other squadron “class clowns” had shown up in long hair wigs with mock drug paraphernalia. Even “Pack”, the cigar chomping, hard as nails skipper, was relaxing ... just a bit.

Lt.Col J.J. “Pack” Barta had a right to be a tough customer. He had spent a fair amount of the late sixties in the jungle living on bugs, dodging AK-47 rounds and avoiding booby traps as a recon Marine. He had a little different perspective on that decade than us younger dudes. Ron Asheton, who was visiting me and my wife of three years, Angie, in the Islands, had yet another perspective on the sixties based on several operational tours of duty with the Stooges. Niagara had flown out with Ron for the holiday. They had gotten over jet lag and climate shift, and the carefree couple were beginning to enjoy a taste of squadron life.

The drinks flowed freely, the conversation got louder, the music and dancing grew wilder as the Marines and their Michigan guests partied on into the night. Niagara was constantly surrounded by Marines bringing drinks, like courtly slaves at the beck and call of a princess in ancient Egypt. She was completely in her element, as self-assured, and in control as a 6000 hour veteran Navy or Marine jet fighter jock making a carrier landing in daylight and good weather. The young pilots had never seen anything remotely like her. Usually fearless, often loud, they were now not only polite, but a little bit ... shy! They didn’t know what to do when she spoke to them in “that” voice. They were even less certain of the outcome when confronted by a pale white breast spilled momentarily from the low cut dress. This was at home, mind you, not the Phillipines! There were wives around, and there was no emergency procedure checklist for that!!



Ron had acquired the honorary call sign, “Sixpack”. He knew his military history, and he loved airplanes. Ron’s father had been a Marine aviator in the Pacific in World War 2. Ron rode to work with me, and had been spending plenty of time hanging around the squadron. Once Ron was in the ready room, and had taken over the base radio. He was actually communicating with Phantom crews out on a mission, when The Skipper walked in, shook his head in disbelief. Without removing the cigar from his mouth, he yelled “ASHETON! IN MY OFFICE NOW!!” Both Ron and the duty officer, who had taken a break leaving Ron in charge, took a verbal beating. Ron prided himself on this later. Being disciplined by the Skipper made him feel like he was really part of the team! Tonight he was drinking hard, enjoying conversation with the squadron guys but always had one concerned eye on Niagara and was feeling a little bit of anxiety over some of the indiscretions of the evening, and where it all might lead.

Finally things wound down and Marines with three sheets to the wind drifted out into the balmy tropical night. On the way out of the club, the laws of gravity overcame high heels and equilibrium. To the horror and fascination of onlookers, Niagara murmured “Ohhhh, Ronnie!” and then plunged head first down a long flight of stairs. She swapped ends two or three times, long legs and thin arms violently slamming corners, rails and steps all the way down. She landed in a piteous heap at the bottom of the landing, knickers exposed, moaning. The crash was spectacular, but Ron had seen this scenario many times before and knew what had to be done. After a quiet “God DAMN it” from between clenched teeth, he looked around at the shocked audience, lit a cigarette, and smiled. He said, “Hey, its OK, she’ll be all right, could you guys just help me get her in the car?”.

We did just that and drove the 10 miles northwest up the King Kamehameha Highway to our townhouse on Hui Kelu Street in Temple Valley. Everyone went straight to bed ... because in an unbelievable lapse of planning wisdom, I had organized fishing for the next day. It would require an early start.

Three hours later Niagara, Ron, 7 months pregnant Angie and I had climbed into the green ’72 Olds Cutlass-S and were heading for the pier. We were all tired and (except Angie, who wasn’t drinking) hung over, that was a given. Ron, beyond tired and hung over, was barely able to speak. Niagara was even worse, and seemed very close to needing to be placed on life support. Niagara’s external injuries were bad enough, but there was also inner damage to that slender wraithlike 50 kilogram body. The mix of fermentation by-products and toxins from the alcohol were taking an even greater toll from the inside. The weary pair only wanted to be unconscious, better yet fully anesthetized, but being the good sports that they are, tried very hard to stay present and awake. It didn’t work out that way.



★Deniz Tek, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a prolific guitarist, singer and songwriter currently based in Sydney, Australia. His career in music, grounded in late-60's Detroit, extends through several decades and across continents. He is best known as a founding member of the influential Australian independent rock band Radio Birdman.

In 2007, Deniz was inducted into the Australian Music Hall of Fame, and in 2012 was voted number 7 in the top 100 Australian guitarists of all time.★


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

3.04.2014

SONICS RENDEZVOUS BAND: DENIZ TEK PART TWO


Ron and I began to work on songs and were often hanging out at his Mom's house on Highlake Rd on the west end of Ann Arbor, where he was living. Ron had contact with some other local musicians, and was trying to put something together. This was before Destroy All Monsters, and not too long after the New Order. We would sit in the TV room (the TV was on continuously) and have drinks until 4 or 5 AM, and go down to the basement to jam.

 
There was a singer in Ypsilanti...a bit too much of a "rock god" type for me, and Rob King who would later drum in Destroy All Monsters, and Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson, from the MC5, who was living in downriver Detroit.

 
Dennis was with Ron in the New Order, and would be part of our New Race project in 1981. We jammed with Dennis a few times, and made some tapes.


Wayne Kramer had just gotten out of prison, and came by while we were jamming in a studio and making tapes. He was doing something with Brits Mick Farren from the Deviants, and Larry Wallis guitarist of the Pink Fairies. Soon after that Wayne would form Gang War with Johnny Thunders, more or less a debacle in which Thunders was usually too smashed to play, but it still offered a good opportunity to see the great Wayne Kramer at very small clubs.


Here, at last, was the energy source. It seems that it never dies, but like an artesian water source it sometimes goes underground and reappears later, elsewhere. It can have multiple tributaries and it needs to be replenished from time to time, not just taken from. You take, but you have to give back. It goes on.
 

I would see Sonics Rendezvous as often as possible from then on. I was collecting tons of raw inspirational material to take back with me to Radio Birdman. In all the shows I went to, that was always foremost in my mind. There had been no mentors .. not even peers … for a long time. No one to gain knowledge from. No one to inspire my muse.

 
Radio Birdman was completely and utterly isolated in the first months of 1976. Staying on that island without contact for too long could have caused the inspiration to fade, dry up, blow away. The vision could lose clarity, dissipate.


My band had not yet achieved full power, and I knew I needed new influences to help it go to the next level. For me, Sonics Rendezvous made the difference. It was like finding a clear cold mountain spring in a trackless desert.

By around February (1976) it was time to return from the Michigan snow to the blast furnace heat of Sydney. In those days the transpacific routes were mostly flown by DC-10s or early model 747s which had to make one refueling stop between LA and Sydney. Continental stopped in Samoa, Qantas stopped in Fiji, and United stopped in Honolulu.


I flew on all these routes, whatever ticket was the cheapest at the time. I was able usually to write material for songs on these long tedious flights, so as to make some productive use of the time. Sometimes I'd get off for a couple of days in these places and look around. I had a friend in Honolulu, John Berger, and sometimes we would go into town and see bands in between these flights.


Once I stopped in Fiji and hitchhiked into the countryside, wandered off the road into the jungle and enjoyed generous hospitality in a small village. Guys spent evenings listening to the radio, playing cards and drinking raw grey muddy kava juice ... the chief was all too happy for this skinny white guy with a guitar to join in the circle and share some laughs as the kava bowl got passed around.

epilogue
Arriving in Sydney I went straight over to Radio Birdman manager George Kringas' house in Blues Point. I wanted to get back into rehearsals and get ready to record. I got a shock when I went to the bathroom. There was a dead lamb in the bathtub that seemed to be staring at me. Band sidekick Mark Sisto had bought it. It was waiting in the bath because of drainage, later to be roasted on a spit, for my homecoming party that night.

READ PART ONE DENIZ TEK SEES SRB 

★Deniz Tek, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a prolific guitarist, singer and songwriter currently based in Sydney, Australia. His career in music, grounded in late-60's Detroit, extends through several decades and across continents. He is best known as a founding member of the influential Australian independent rock band Radio Birdman.

In 2007, Deniz was inducted into the Australian Music Hall of Fame, and in 2012 was voted number 7 in the top 100 Australian guitarists of all time.★




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