Soul Sisters and Blood Brothers: Bands With Siblings

Jesus and Mary Chain

Most of us aren’t properly wired to embark on the exact same career path as our siblings, but when you stop to think about it, the number of brothers and sisters who have shared a tour bus, songwriting credits or a stage over the years is truly overwhelming.   These pairings haven’t always been perfectly harmonious affairs (see: The Kinks, Oasis, Jesus and Mary Chain), though, against all odds, they have created some of the most appreciated music of the modern era.  Check out our list of some of the most memorable bands who made their passion for music a family affair.  What other artists can you think of?

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Farewell to Ron Asheton

Ron Asheton

On January 6th, groundbreaking Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton was found dead in his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The cause of death, though not confirmed, is widely speculated to have been a heart attack. The following statement was posted on The Stooges’ website:

We are shocked and shaken by the news of Ron’s death. He was a great friend, brother, musician, trooper. Irreplaceable. He will be missed.

For all that knew him behind the façade of Mr Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well even if they did not.

As a musician Ron was The Guitar God, idol to follow and inspire others. That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him.

Iggy, Scott, Steve, Mike and Crew

—————————————–

I am in shock. He was my best friend.

Iggy Pop


Ron Asheton’s legendary sound was, in the words of Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillepie, “really fucking sexy and wild and reckless and free.” It was actually the impact of experiencing such reckless freedom firsthand that initially attracted him to music.

“We went to see The Who at the Cavern,” said Asheton in the oral history of punk, Please Kill Me. “It was wall to fucking wall of people. We muscled through to about ten feet from the stage, and Townshend started smashing his twelve-string Rickenbacker. It was my first experience of total pandemonium. It was like a dog pile of people, just trying to grab pieces of Townshend’s guitar, and people scrambling to dive up onstage and he’d swing the guitar at their heads. The audience weren’t cheering; it was more like animal noises, howling. The whole room turned really primative–like a pack of starving animals that hadn’t eaten in a week and somebody throws out a piece of meat. I was afraid. For me it wasn’t fun, but it was mesmerizing. It was like, ‘The plane’s burning, the ship’s sinking, so let’s crush each other.’ Never had I seen people driven so nuts–that music could drive people to such dangerous extremes. That’s when I realized, this is definitely what I want to do.”

Scott Asheton, Ron Asheton, Dave Alexander, Iggy Pop

The Stooges from left: Scott Asheton, Ron Asheton, Dave Alexander, Iggy Pop

It’s no overstatement to say that Asheton, with The Stooges, created some of the most important, thrilling music of all time. Personally speaking as a fan, Iggy and The Stooges have long been one of my favorite groups. From first listen I adored the brutality of their music and the brilliance of its protopunk simplicity. It was, and still is, the musical manifestation of unbridled rebellion. No matter how many times you listen to their music, The Stooges never fail to sound, and in turn make you feel, badass.

Asheton in action

Asheton in action

I’ve spent more time than I’d like to publicly admit to engaged in the epic Raw Power vs. Fun House debate with fellow hopeless music nerds. Though I still maintain that Raw Power is superior and guaranteed to knock anyone’s socks off, the truth of the matter is, you can’t really go wrong with any early Stooges creation. “No Fun,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “Gimme Danger,” “Down on the Street,” “Loose,” “I Need Somebody”….they’re all undeniably excellent listening, and part of a musical legacy that any band would be more than proud to have.

Ron Asheton wasn’t only a vital contributor to a great rock group, he helped inspire countless other hip young guitar slingers to make similarly thrilling, uncompromising music. As fans around the world say goodbye to this massively respected, and talented musician in their own ways, I’ll be blasting “1969” from my speakers well into the night. Thanks for the music, Ron.

-Shelley Peckham

Ron Asheton jacket

A Local Band’s Golden Rule: Show Up

Jimi Hendrix gained attention by joining Eric Clapton onstage in London in 1966; The Stooges were signed when a record company went to scout out the headlining band MC5; Nirvana’s success helped catapult the Melvins. The Toadies got their start when fellow bands Decadent Dub Team (Cottonmouth TX), Last Rites, and the Buck Pets helped them land gigs in Dallas when in the past the task seemed impossible.

There are countless other examples of bands helping out their counterparts gain attention. And there is much to be learned from the path to national success of crucial bands throughout history, lessons applicable for local Madison Bands.

Recently I was watching Axiom, a local Madison alternative rock trio with a sense of humor; take the stage at their CD release party, when I took a glimpse at the crowd. The room was full of people, of course, but what really caught my eye were the other local bands in attendance. Local Madison bands not on the bill like Triibe and Lords of Discipline were in the house, and Kill Junior stuck around after their own high energy set.

It got me thinking of how important it is for local bands to be supportive of one another. Not only by coming out to the shows, but in all aspects of influence and cooperation. Sharing practice spaces and recording times, providing an opportunity for a fellow local band to play a show with you, and most importantly spreading the word about other local bands.

I got the chance to speak with Axiom after their stellar show, complete with lightsaber battle. When I brought up the subject of local band alliances, they were quick to point out “It’s important for musicians to treat their music scene as a community. If we don’t support each other, who will?” The support isn’t limited to hooking other bands up with shows, but also in musical influence. A band’s sound is in constant evolution. Axiom takes their influences from national acts such as Tool and Primus, but also credits local bands like Kill Junior, Ignorus, and Sunspot as an influential part of their sound. Evolving a unique sound to call your own is the essential appendage in the survival of the fittest in this unpredictable music industry.

lightsabers

lightsabers

In other words, succeeding in the music biz, even on a local level, involves cooperation. As Axiom stated in our interview, “The Madison scene is hit or miss… It would be nice to see the Madison scene revert back to the way it was 10-20 years ago, when everyone went out to their favorite bar to watch bands.”

Most working bands and musicians dream of making it big, gaining recognition regionally, nationally, somewhere other than their home town. And most want to see Madison become a national hot spot for music, a smaller version of Nashville or L.A. sans the cowboy boots and glitter.

What I’m suggesting is some kind of “golden rule” for local bands: If you want others to show up for your gig, you must to the same and show up for them. You never know where it could lead.

You can start out by checking out Meteorade opening for XYZ Affair and Roomate at High Noon on July 27 or the The Box Social opening up for the Toadies and the Whigs at the Annex on July 31. And don’t forget Kurt Cobain’s favorite band, the Melvins, at High Noon on August 3.

Katie Jo Crubaugh, True Endeavors Public Relations Intern

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