'The guitarist's genius was in his simplicity,' says Glen Matlock

The Sex Pistols‘ bassist Glen Matlock has paid tribute to The StoogesRon Asheton, after the guitarist was found dead at his home yesterday (January 6).

Asheton, who was 60 when he passed away, died of a suspected heart attack.

Matlock told NME.COM, “It’s a real sad loss, especially when The Stooges were getting the respect they deserve and the wider populous had finally got hip to them.”

The Sex Pistols covered The Stooges‘No Fun’ (featuring one of Asheton‘s best-loved riffs) many times live, and Matlock says that when the Michigan band first came out in the late ’60s they were a breath of fresh air.

He said: “When they came out they were just so right about everything. A real gut reaction against what was going on, and they accepted no shit. Anybody can play an ‘A’ chord perfectly, right? It’s the people that play not quite perfectly that give a band its character. And that’s what The Stooges – and Ron – had in abundance.”

Matlock also said he thinks Asheton‘s status as one of rock’s most innovative guitarists is well-deserved.

He admitted: “He’s certainly a punk forerunner, but he’s also part of a tradition of people like Dave Davies from The Kinks, and John Lee Hooker, Link Wray, all those people. The Stooges were a continuation of that line.

“I like ‘TV Eye’, I like ‘No Fun’, because they’re just so right, you know?! Ron‘s worthy of his status because of his simplicity. He just knew what was right for those songs.”

Asheton‘s bandmates paid tribute to him yesterday, with frontman Iggy Pop describing the late guitarist as “my best friend”.

Primal Scream‘s Bobby Gillespie also left a tribute to Asheton, calling him “one of the greats”.

A tribute from Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite echoed Glen Matlock‘s comments about Asheton‘s simple playing-style by saying the guitarist “took rock music back to the primeval basics”.

We’ve picked out Asheton‘s five greatest riffs on the NME Office Blog.