Personally, I think I do my best writing either very late at night, or way too early in the morning. There’s something magical about the small hours – like my mind connects the dots in a much more cohesive way, blocking out all the other shit that seems to never stop getting caught in the spokes. The nutty spiritualist in me attributes this to the fact that 85% of the world is sleeping, freeing up my subconscious mind from the cluttering and clamoring of everyone else’s thoughts.
Music is a very helpful tool for me to get shit done. If I am working on something heavily emotional, like a piece about my past/family/horrorshow childhood – something cinematic and atmospheric like Mogwai*, Grails, or even Followed By Ghosts(these amazingly talented kids from the middle of Iowa – you might want to check them out if you’re into this kind of music) works really well. The lack of lyrical content helps me to focus, and to get the movie rolling in my head, which is ultimately what writing is about for me – releasing the movies stuck in my head.
*A quite lengthy live video of Mogwai, performing Christmas Steps – which turns into a monster @ roughly 3:49 in. This is what it sounds like inside my head, FYI.
Earlier this week, we lost a music pioneer.
Let me go ahead and break this down for y’all, Rock and Motherfucking Roll History 101 style – nobody ever put it down like The Stooges did. Ron Asheton did more with three primal chords and a fat-back beat than anyone in rock and roll ever had. The Stooges in their prime? Shit, son. They were an unstoppable force. Raw, visceral, full of furious bludgeoning beauty. The were, in my humblest of humble opinions, The Heavyweight Champions. People ask me all the time – “Sean, what album can you NOT live without? Like, if you had only one record to listen to for the rest of your life, what would that fucker be?”
I never hesitate at all. Fun House. Hands fucking down.
The proof is in the pudding:
I don’t think I have ever made a mixtape for anyone(unless it was a girl I was trying to woo) that did not start off with TV Eye. This song completely destroys all comers. Iggy’s blood-curdling opening scream. Ron’s fucking snaking and twisting riffing. Thunderous drums. Plodding bass lines, pushing air. Proto-punk in it’s infancy.
You see, you wouldn’t even have punk without The Stooges or Ron Asheton. I’m not trying to blaspheme on the MC5, neither – they are just as, if not even more important on the political tip. Both bands brought the fucking ruckus, stirring up the pot later rekindled by the Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Ramones, The Clash, etc.
I’ll never forget the emotional/chemical reaction Ron’s guitar playing created in me. Irrespective of anything else, it allowed the movie in my head to roll in a magically free-form and careless manner. Ron’s playing inspired me to let a little more of the animal out whenever I picked up my guitar. He will be missed.
Don’t let me be the only one to preach to y’all about how amazing Ron was – his friends are speaking up, too:
Go out and buy Fun House. Set your headphones to stun, and let it take you over. As if you even have a choice…
Rest In Peace, Ron. Thanks for The Riffage.