Interview with The Stooges: Everything In Between

The mastering of the album was more interesting—the process took place at legendary Abbey Road studios. The mixing of The Weirdness was also the last project by Beatles mix master Nick Webb. One has to appreciate the ironic turn of events, having one of the technical masters behind The Beatles working on a Stooges album, considering that the genre which The Stooges helped to pioneer was initially dismissed as nothing more than noise.

But time has been good to punk music, and has been even better to the legacy borne of The Stooges’ initial three releases. Over the last three decades the band’s music has been recognized for its groundbreaking creativity by everybody but The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band has been the bridesmaid but not the bride as they have been nominated several times for induction, but have never been elected for the honor.

When I broach the subject, Asheton is quick to admit: “I really thought this was the year.” Having been shunned yet again has caused Asheton to rethink his feelings on Hall of Fame induction.

“I’m not expecting anything from those people,” Asheton says, beginning his plea for The Stooges to never be inducted. “I figured we would get in before the Sex Pistols. I mean, when Patti Smith got in, I understood it, but I always thought [it] would happen before the Sex Pistols got in. I only feel bad for Iggy, because he never stopped playing. I think that The Stooges are a real part of music history. A lot of the trendsetters, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, cite The Stooges as a real influence and I thought the Hall of Fame was supposed to be about that. It turns out, it’s about money and selling records. I hope we never get in. It makes us a little extra weird that we can’t get into the Hall of Fame because somebody thinks we’re too stupid.

“Oh no, they’re saying we’re going to get two more feet than before,” he adds out of the blue.

When reminded that Ozzy Osbourne long protested the idea of Black Sabbath being inducted, only to receive the honor a few short years later, he doesn’t waver in his desire not to be inducted.

Almost as an afterthought, Asheton adds, “Besides, I’d like to thank them for not inducting us and saving me all of that money. Think about it, you have to fly in, you have to rent limos, and do all of that stuff—that’s thousands of dollars. So, I at least thank them for that.” He caps off the statement with a cackle.

The continued snub from the Hall of Fame aside, the legend and impact of The Stooges is something that is unquestioned in the rest of the rock world. Asheton is aware of the place that his band holds in the minds and hearts of its fans of all ages.

“I was in Glasgow, Scotland, and two men walk up to me. In a thick Scottish burr, this guy says to me, ‘I’m 64, and my nephew here is 16, and we’re both Stooges fans,’” he says, in awe of his own experience.

Asheton is more excited to discuss the upcoming Stooges world tour than anything else.

“We played last week, at Bam Margera’s wedding. We were the musical performers at his wedding,” he reveals.

The band is also slated to play the SXSW Festival on St. Patrick’s Day. Aside from these dates, Asheton says the band will be bringing their tour to the tri-state area in early April.

Asheton has less insight when it comes to naming their touring mates. “We don’t really get a say in that, booking agents swap favors,” he explains. “It’s too early to say. We did require that in Detroit we get to play with The Rational, and maybe Mitch Ryder, to get a good Detroit show together.”

Touring mates seems to be almost secondary to Asheton as he is looking forward to the actual experience of touring again rather than which band he’ll be touring with.

“I’m looking forward to going, to enjoy the people you meet on tour, to be going to all the different countries that we never had the chance to play. That’s fun for me. Of course, there’s the downside, the airport and all of that. I’m numb to it, but I like flying. We’re going to be playing Europe in a big way, and you know as soon as it gets any kind of warm enough, they move those shows outside and it gets pretty cold at night, but I’m looking forward to all of it.”

A tour of this scope is a rare treat for fans of influential bands like The Stooges. This is due to that fact that generations of fans spring up long after the band has broken up. A Stooges reunion tour may be one of the most anticipated reunions in a long time, something that Asheton knows first hand.

Asheton has toured with bands such as The Dark Carnival, New Order and Destroy All Monsters, and yet The Stooges is the one band which he has been most often asked about.

“That’s the great thing about music, it cuts through everything. I see it in other countries where they don’t speak English, and they know the words to every song,” Asheton concludes.

The Weirdness is available now. The Stooges will be at United Palace Theatre in NYC on April 9.