After the reunion at Coachella, Ron said to me, "You know, I really didn't hang with Scott or talk to him for many years. This really brought us together. Also, he had acquired a beat down look and he's lost that. He has a new spring in his step." Ron and Scott were dissimilar peas from the same pod…When the group reunited, Scott said, "I played in all these other groups, but it never really felt right. And now I feel like I'm home." The reunion was also great for him because he was able to do all sorts of things for his family and his daughter. That was really, really important to him.
To me, we reached a peak around 2005/2006. The group laid down these massive, ferocious, spacious grooves. It was so much fun. I hadn't lost 50% of my hearing at that point, so I was doing things I'd do when I first started playing with Ron. I'd get excited and bum rush his amps and stick my ear right in his amp to get that illicit vibe. I can't do that now. I have to avoid loud people.
Scott just had a certain dignity about him and everyone was always glad to have him in the room. He looked like he could be a tough customer, but I never even heard of him flicking a fly. He looked like the Marlboro Man. Late in his life, he had property on Drummond Island, which is a place that very serious fisherman go in northern Michigan up near the Canadian border. He would go there and fish and do some bow and arrow hunting. He was a man's man. He also got seriously involved in bird watching, so there's a lot about him that people wouldn't expect.
This past Memorial Day weekend, he and I had a jam session together, just the two of us. We did some stuff I'd written. I played guitar and he played drums, and then we had a drum circle. We played conga and a kit together. He wasn't playing as heavy as he used to, but he could wrap up his wrists and get a heavy sound. We also went over some jam taps he had with Ron. Then I got him to sit down with Jim Jarmusch for an interview in his Stooges documentary.
He died of a heart attack. What happened to him in 2011 while we were on tour has to remain private. There was a mishap and he had to go to the hospital. He was able to recover from various underlying health problems to the point where he had a very normal and secure life. And he was able to play on our last album.
When Scott couldn't tour with us, we brought in Toby Dammit so we could fulfill our commitments. Everything we did without him, I felt we were representing him. I've since read that I said we were taking a year off. I never said that or made plans with anybody about coming back next year. I don't like to see anything be over. That's death and death is a terrible thing. But I did tell everyone in the group well in advance that I wasn't going to work with them this year.
I'm busy doing other things and I have my own limitations, which is a big part of it. I can't go out year after year and not suffer terrible consequences. I don't like hokey announcements, so I just said, "Let's leave the door open." I felt like everything was getting overheated. I felt things needed to quiet down and resolve themselves; let some resolution take place. I think this is part of a resolution, frankly.
I don't want to say that I'm done with the band. I would just say that I feel like the group has always included the Asheton brothers. When Ron passed away, Scott represented him. Nearly everything we play, Ron played on originally. I don't feel right now like there's any reason for me to go jumping out onstage in tight Levi's. What am I going to scream about?
I just can't see the band playing in the near future. It would just be wrong. But if something comes up, you should be open to it. It depends on the feeling of the family and the surviving members. James Williamson was in the group and I've been there since it started. It would depend on the realities and the musical truth.
A good rock group is a musical gift as well as a social phenomenon. What usually happens is that at various times within the timeline of any of these groups, divisions emerge and feelings mount that have no outlet. Those can cause destruction. They can cause falsehood. I think they can be recognized and best dealt with by stepping back.
I have no plans to tour solo. I definitely have no plans to be a touring musician for the next couple of years. I've toured almost every year out of the past forty years. I'll probably tour again at some point, but I don't know when and I don't know how.
Getting back to Scott, he started playing with Ron in their basement with a little equipment and some dreams. Now they're back together again in some sense.
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