Iggy Pop gave his first interview since the death of Stooges' guitarist Ron Asheton this morning, telling a pair of Detroit radio show hosts, "As long as I don't think about it, I'm OK. And then when I think about it, I'm not OK. He had a beautiful touch as a musician." Pop also spoke with Rolling Stone's David Fricke at length for a memorial that will run in our next issue (on stands January 21st).
"He developed such a unique sound and approach to his instrument and writing that I don't think that everybody got it at first, but over the years other generations caught on," Pop told the Deminski & Doyle show. "I think a lot of good musicians were influenced by what Ron pioneered."
Asked what bands he thought were most influenced by Asheton's style, Iggy answered, "The most obvious would be Sonic Youth, bands that use dissonance and overdrive. I hear a little bit in Smashing Pumpkins, also in Nirvana." Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore wrote about how the Stooges' inspired Sonic Youth in our Immortals issue.
In a statement following Asheton's death, Pop called the guitarist his "best friend," and much of the radio interview was spent reminiscing about Pop and Asheton's high school days as well as the early days of the Stooges. "For some reason my mind keeps going back to little clubs and bars in Ann Arborâ€¦ high school dances, armory dances that we would play, and, of course, the Grand Ballroom," Pop said. "I knew Ron in high school vaguely because we were two of the first guys to let our hair grow over our ears. We used to get hassled for that from time to time."
As for how he found out about Asheton's death, Pop said, "I woke up and got a cell phone message last Tuesday morning from my U.K. manager for the Stooges. He just said, 'Call me, I really need to talk to you.' From the tone of his voice I knew something really big was up. So I called him in Europe. He said, 'I got some bad news for you.' From the tone of that, I had an immediate interior reaction. He then told me Ron had passed away." Click here to listen to the entirety of Pop's interview with Deminski & Doyle.