Wednesday, February 18, 2009


A small SUV pulled into the driveway as we sat at the supper table with our guest for the evening, Chris La Tray. I had been waiting for a repair person, who was scheduled to arrive between 5 and 7 that evening to fix our washing machine. Having 3 boys in the house can create a massive pile-up of laundry if not dealt with as it occurs. So, the odd hour of service was something I could tolerate if I could get the thing fixed without delay. It was approaching 8 PM when he finally arrived. I asked Chris to excuse me while I showed the repairman to the laundry room.
I went through the garage and opened the side door to allow the repairman entry so we wouldn't have to go through the main part of the house. In the dark I saw a wiry little man with gnome-like features. He was wearing a baseball cap. He looked to be around fifty years of age or so, and carried his toolbox over his shoulder. As we entered the garage in the light, he gestured toward my hoodie and made a curious remark. "You know what that symbol is, dontcha?" "Which?" I replied. "That one there, on yer shirt". I looked down at the yellow icon printed on my black Obey hoodie, a gear with a five-pointed star depicting the face of Andre the Giant in its center. " Yes, All City Posse", I told him, "It's a brand, you know, the name of the line, a brand". "It's the sign of the devil", he said, with utter conviction. "It's a pentagram, the sign of the devil!" "Well, no, that would be if it were upside down, with the two points on top instead of one". "That, is a pentagram! The sign of the DEVIL". He paused, and mulled over the predicament he was facing. He could shortly be on his knees, with his face close to Satan's washing machine, which could have dire implications. Did he really want to be the devil's humble servant, on his knees, kissing the backside of his clothes washer? He shook his head, and stiffened. "Naw, I don't work for people who don't love God", he declared. He wheeled about and veered out of the door, back to his SUV replacing the toolbox in the hatch and getting in to drive himself out of harms way.
I returned to the supper table and our guest. Everyone was finishing the fine spaghetti my wife had prepared. "Everything ok?" Angela asked. "Damn", I said, "I almost got one, but he must have caught a glimpse of my horns or my barbed tail when he came in the door, cuz he got all bent and started carrying on about the damn hoodie with Andre the Giant's puss on it".

I could not believe it, it was so unreal when it was happening. I didn't see how any of it mattered. The guy must have felt completely overcome by the sight of the Giant, Andre. But then it's weird because people really loved Andre the Giant. He was like a big picked on baby. He probably never heard of Andre, and was just scared by his face, and thought it was the devil. So, I ask, what are you going to do? We may have come a long way, but we still have a longer way to go. BWAH ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.........

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Sorry, but I just have to write something about a couple of comments I received on the Ron Asheston blog recently. I like the comment feature just because if you have something to say about my work, then it's no problem to listen to whatever. But.......,why is it that when the "comment" made is purely an emotional entry of hate and name calling, it is always made by Anonymous?
I will tell you why. First, the commenter is either a coward or ashamed. A coward cannot bear to be responsible for what they do and say. So they won't admit to it. They hide away behind a cloak of invisibility. They throw a rock and then hide behind a tree. Secondly, a Neanderthal rampage of hatred is so inappropriate. They reveal themselves in their true state. You can decide for yourself what that state is. Hilariously, their identity usually is not a mystery at all. So, why play the stupid game? Sign your name, let's go!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


This morning at 6 AM, my wife awoke me with the news of Ron Asheton's death. I haven't seen Ron, except on stage, since 1984, and had spoken on the phone with him only once, briefly in 1989. But all those years ago when we were impetuous young dudes in a primal rock scene in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area, we had the greatest of times being who we were and exploring our brand new world of living fantasy. We were boldly going where no men had gone before, and soaking up the craziest times ever. Ron impressed me as possibly the only down to earth character on the scene at the time. He was the only person I knew who actually was not carried away with all the experimentation, yet searched for a way of life that made common sense with a pioneering approach. While everyone was running around blowing out old values with reckless behavior, Ron quietly was investigating real-time approaches to the way he lived. We became friends simply because we felt comfortable together and independent from the scene stealers. Ron and I could hang out, drink our beer, and chat up without feeling pressured by anything or anyone. Ron was conservative, modest, and had a gleeful smile. He wasn't trying to be anyone else or to be an earth-shaker. He just loved what he was doing, that's all. During the period when we all signed our recording contracts with Electra, the Stooges were developing their persona on stage and preparing for the recording of their first album. I remember watching them during a performance at the Grande and thinking how they were achieving a remarkable effect in a most simple way. Without flash, without incredible soloing, without scads of lights or costume, they were creating a mystical atmosphere in the rawest of terms. They lived in our shadow, the shadow of the MC5, but as I watched and listened, I saw and heard them beating us! Ron and his boys, humble, independent, unique, doing it as well as they could, and making it on their own terms. I was thinking to myself, "Jesus Christ, I like them better than I like us!"

In 1977, after spending a year in prison and finding myself in the dubious position of returning to Ann Abor with no prospects, Ron appeared at my door with an invitation to be a part of a new band he was thinking of being in. For the next 7 years we blasted away as Destroy All Monsters, and stumbled through another chapter of rock and roll. During these years, I was always aware of how disappointed Ron was at the outcome of his former band, The Stooges. I don't think DAM was in any way, a viable replacement for what he felt was his ultimate achievement. And I have to admit that during our years in Destroy All Monsters, Ron and I lost the friendship we had once carried due to many thoughtless episodes, that, in retrospect, we could have, and should have healed. I regret that we never found the opportunity to mend our differences. Even so, I am grateful that Ron was able to heal and mend those rifts that had plagued him from his Stooges days. It is fitting and right, that he finally realized his original dream. Right on!

Was I shocked by the news of Ron's death? Yes, I was. But I am learning how easily our friends and colleagues slip away while we drift apart and go our separate ways. I tell myself that Ron did it all. He was his own man. He got to the top of the stairway. He will be mourned, missed, and honored. And he left a huge legacy, more than we realize. He left a huge impression on me, and I carry that impression constantly. I even find myself doing little imitations of Ron's humor all the time. It makes me smile. Farewell, my brother.