IGGY AND THE STOOGES
When Ron Asheton died unexpectedly in Jan 2009 it was a devastating blow to all who knew him. The loss of Ron was immeasurable, to his family, to his friends, and to musicians and fans around the world. Ron Asheton and Deniz Tek, both from Ann Arbor, had enjoyed a long and close personal friendship. Many considered them to be kindred spirits … both in a personal and a musical sense.
The Stooges had successfully reformed a few years earlier, and were playing huge sellout shows worldwide. They were performing songs only from the first two Stooges albums, as Ron had always considered the Raw Power era Iggy and the Stooges to be a separate entity. When Ron passed away, they were in a break period for the winter, with shows booked for spring and summer.
Deniz got a call from Iggy, asking whether he would consider joining the band to replace Ron for the future bookings. Deniz agreed, but in the end, the decision was made to cancel the tour for that year. It was too soon, and feelings were too strong, to replace Ron at that time.
When the time came for them to resume playing, the following year, Iggy made the wise decision to feature the Raw Power / Kill City material, with James Williamson on guitar.
Kathy Asheton came up with the idea of a tribute show for Ron, to benefit the Ron Asheton Foundation.
Deniz was again asked to play. This time it happened.
In April of 2011 Iggy and the Stooges, with Deniz Tek on guitar for part of the show, played to an
ecstatic capacity crowd in their home town of Ann Arbor, at the Michigan Theater.
An excellent quality DVD is available of this show.
In Deniz's own words, here is his account of the event (first published in the I-94 Bar website) :
"The Stooges Ron Asheton tribute gig, for the Foundation, 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 ... I saw their debut Brazil gig vid
and it wasn't that impressive, but this was totally up to speed and 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 four-song set:
TV Eye, Loose, Dirt, 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 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 didn't see it coming. It knocked me off balance, but I did not fall over. Iggy ended up hitting the deck, hard. He didn't get up right away. He reminded me of a boxer catching a lucky punch. It looked 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 that was assembled for the occasion did a beautiful intro ... and added these lovely cascading chord progressions to the choruses. Before now, I couldn't have imagined orchestration on Stooges tunes but it worked surprisingly well. I told Iggy's manager Henry that we should do it at the Sydney Opera House, and all the great classical concert halls of the world. Iggy later, having late dinner, 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 needed more. We came back on for "No Fun" as the encore. 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, two feet in front of me straining to keep the crush of fans off mine and James's pedals.
For "No Fun", I played Ronny's old black Stratocaster, with the American flag sticker behind the bridge. It felt alive in my hands and I believe it WAS alive, with his spirit. Ronny was there. I felt the warmth of his smile."
Below is a slideshow of images of rehearsals in the days prior and of the show. All photos © Anne Laurent.