I WAS A STOOGE FOR 30 MINUTES
Ann Arbor, April 19, 2011
The Stooges Ron Asheton tribute gig, sponsored and presented by The Ron Asheton Foundation at the Michigan Theater, was nothing short of a dream come true.
The current band lineup did the Raw Power / Kill City set first, they rocked so hard it was unbelievable. This version of the Stooges kills! James Williamson totally ripped on guitar. I'd not seen him play before ... It was so great to hear that Raw Power stuff done live, the right way.
The band took a short break , and then I got up and replaced James for a 4 song set:
Real Cool Time
I played my white Stratocaster through two Marshalls, one was a hot-rodded 70's Super Lead loaned to me by my good friend Chris "Box" Taylor, the other an 800. It sounded huge, loud, and I think it pretty much nailed the classic Stooge guitar tone. I tried to play Ronny's rhythm and riff parts faithfully, while allowing myself some spontaneity on the solos. And I played as hard as possible, holding nothing back. I looked up to see Mike Watt grinning at me. He loves this music as much as I do.
The sellout crowd was going nuts. Iggy was over the top. As usual I try not to watch them. Too distracting. I either keep my head down, or watch the drummer's left hand.
At one point Iggy smashed into me from my right side. I didnt see it coming. Almost but did not fall over. Iggy ended up hitting the deck, hard. He didn't get up right away. He reminded me of a boxer. He was working so hard, I felt like he probably needed a minute to catch some air and recover. I just watched Scotty and we hammered the riff until Ig got up.
Dirt was a bit of a breather. I needed it. The orchestra did a beautiful intro ... “Mars”, from the Gustav Holst orchestral suite “The Planets” … and added these lovely cascading chord progressions to the choruses. Before now, I couldn't have imagined orchestration on Stooges tunes but it worked amazingly well. We should do it in the Opera House.
Later, Iggy would remark to me that he thought it was the best "Dirt" that he'd ever done.
The four tunes went by in a flash. It seemed like it was over before it started. I was just getting warmed up. I wanted more!
We came back on for No Fun encore, and Steve Mackay, James and I lined up together and slammed into the chords as the crowd invaded the stage. Henry Rollins was shoulder to shoulder with Chris from the road crew, 2 feet in front of me straining to keep the crush of fans off our pedals. For No Fun, I played Ronny's old black Stratocaster. It felt alive in my hands and I believe it WAS alive, with his spirit. Ronny was there. I felt him smiling.
(Text originally published on I94 Bar)
After the show was over, Kathy and Scott Asheton gave me Ron’s guitar.
They said that he would have wanted me to have it.
I was overwhelmed.
It is in Ron’s loving memory that I am holding that guitar in the cover photo of my album, “Detroit”.
All photos © Anne Tek