Metro Times caught up with guitarist Ron Asheton on the eve of a Stooges European tour for a lightning round of Stooges Trivial Pursuit.
Metro Times: Opinion on the reissues? Any surprises?
Ron Asheton: I havent heard them yet, but the Fun House reissue has the extended original version of Ann. There was a piece of music that we had called The Dance of Romance. It was something that we did before we had anything written for the first record. When we recorded Ann we added that piece as an ending, but it never made it onto the album.
MT: Conventional wisdom held that the Stooges were initially inept and amateurish. Rebuttal?
Asheton: We just wanted to try something different. Extremely different. Our songs took on more structure as we went along.
MT: Given the chance, would you have done anything differently for The Stooges?
Asheton: Theres really nothing that I would change about it. It was my first time in a studio and we were John Cales first project as a staff producer for Elektra. The only compromise that we had to come to was on the volume of the amps. We wanted our Marshall stacks on 10. He didnt. We settled on 9. Other than that it was cool.
MT: What about producer Don Gallucci and Fun House?
Asheton: Well, his idea was that he wanted to capture the live sound of the band. That worked out well because up until that point wed been touring for months, which also gave us more confidence as a band. We just set up in the studio and Iggys vocals went through an amp that was micd. Minimal overdubs. It was all pretty much live, as is. Ross Meyer [aka Brian Ross-Myring] was a great engineer too.
MT: The Stooges: odd band out on the Detroit/Ann Arbor scene?
Asheton: Everyone was very supportive of each other and all the bands hung out together. It really was a nice friendly community.
MT: When did you know that the Stooges early days were numbered?
Asheton: When everyone except me started doing heroin, that was the end. It became impossible to stay together as a band because of that shift in priorities.
MT: How do you want the Stooges to be remembered?
Asheton: Well, its cool to hear that people like Mike Watt, Thurston Moore and Jack White were inspired by what we did. Call it punk, hard rock, or psychedelic or whatever; its just good to be remembered. Hopefully as something original and innovative.Fred Mills is a freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org