January 6, 2009 – Ronald Franklin Ron Asheton was born in Washington D.C. on July 17, 1948. As a founding member of the legendary Stooges (Iggy Pop), Asheton forever changed the face of rock & roll, his raw, primordial riffs presaging the rise of punk by a decade. His distorted guitar was a hallmark of the Iggy Pop-led group.
He first surfaced in the teen band the Dirty Shames before joining the Iggy Pop-led Stooges in 1967; the Ann Arbor, MI-based group made its live debut on Halloween of that year, earning immediate notoriety for its frighteningly intense live presence and blistering, primitivist sound. Although celebrated in certain underground circles, the band – which also included Asheton’s drummer brother Scott and bassist Dave Alexander – was otherwise almost universally reviled, but still was signed by Elektra to record its self-titled 1969 debut LP; the album sold poorly, as did its successors (1970’s Fun House and 1973’s Raw Power), but the Stooges’ long-term impact was incalculable – in effect, their aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach laid the groundwork for the emergence of punk.
July 13, 2004 –Arthur Kane Jr. (the New York Dolls) was born on February 3, 1949 in New York, the only child of Erna and Harold Kane. Arthur was close to his mother and her aunt, his Aunt Millie, who used to like to listen to Elvis records. The first word that he learned as a young child was “record.” When Arthur was seventeen, his mother died of cancer (leukemia). His father was an abusive alcoholic, and when he quickly remarried, Arthur left home for good.
He graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens. He first played bass in the band Actress along with other original New York Dolls: Johnny Thunders, Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia.
June 4, 1990 – Stiv Bators was born Steven John Bator on October 22, 1949 in Youngstown , Ohio.
As the frontman for the Dead Boys, Stiv Bators terrorized audiences with his snotty, in-your-face punk rock style. But after the Dead Boys, Bators embarked on a musical journey that saw him touch upon new wave (the Wanderers), goth rock (the Lords of the New Church), and power pop (during a brief solo career), as well as a fling with movie acting. Born Steve Bator on October 22, 1949, in Youngstown, OH, Bators took a liking to garage rock and proto-punk early on — a story he liked to tell is that it was he who handed Iggy Pop the jar of peanut butter that he smeared across his chest and threw around while walking on the audience during the Stooges’ televised infamous 1970 rock festival in Ohio (additionally, Bators befriended the Ramones during the quartet’s first Ohio performance). As a result of his interest in the burgeoning punk movement, Bators hooked up with friend/guitarist Cheetah Chrome and others to form the short-lived local outfit Frankenstein. Sensing that there was little chance of launching a successful music career in Ohio, Bators convinced a handful of fellow local musicians (Chrome, guitarist Jimmy Zero, and drummer Johnny Blitz) to relocate to New York City in 1976, resulting in the formation of the Dead Boys.
The ploy worked, as the Dead Boys not only became an instant part of the CBGB’s punk scene, but they also enlisted the club’s owner, Hilly Kristal, as their manager, and signed a record deal with Sire. By specializing in a heavily Iggy Pop-influenced live show (which included Bators flailing himself around until he was battered and bloody, and faux-hanging himself on stage), the group built a buzz, which only intensified after the release of its 1977 debut, Young Loud & Snotty. Despite a promising start, the group would quickly disintegrate — issuing only one more album that failed to replicate the debut’s fire, 1978’s We Have Come for Your Children, before splitting up.
In the wake of the Dead Boys’ split, Bators decided to try shedding his wild man image by reinventing himself as a new waver, as he demoed power pop material and issued several singles via the Bomp! label (later collected on the 1994 L.A., L.A. compilation). In 1980 his full-length solo debut, Disconnected, was released; it saw Bators mix his new power pop direction with his punk roots. But rather than fully embark on a solo career, Bators opted to return back to a band, as he formed the Wanderers with ex-Sham 69 members Dave Parsons (guitar), Dave Tregunna (bass), and Rick Goldstein (drums). The group issued only one album, the schizoid concept album Only Lovers Left Alive, which forsake its members’ punk past in favor of a sterile production and ambitious futuristic storyline. With punk fans still scratching their heads as to the career path Bators had embarked on since his Dead Boys days, the singer decided to give acting at try, with a bit part in the hilarious 1981 John Waters-directed movie, Polyester. Seven years later, Bators made a memorable cameo appearance as “Dick Slammer”, lead singer of “The Blender Children”, in the offbeat comedy, Tapeheads, starring John Cusack and Tim Robbins.
A union with ex-Damned guitarist Brian James followed soon after, resulting in the formation of the Lords of the New Church. And once more, the group didn’t sound like what you’d expect from a pair of punk veterans, as they specialized in goth rock (reminiscent of Bauhaus). The Lords became notorious for their live shows. A devotee of Iggy Pop, Bators had developed a fearless reputation in his Dead Boys days and continued such antics with The Lords, the most famous being the time he reportedly hanged himself during a show. Bator’s stunt went awry and he was pronounced clinically dead for several minutes. Unlike his other post-Dead Boys musical projects, the Lords lasted longer, as they issued a trio of albums during the early ’80s — 1982’s The Lords of the New Church, 1983’s Is Nothing Sacred?, and 1984’s The Method to Our Madness .
In December 1985 Bators flew to New York with his best friend Michael Monroe to work on Artists United Against Apartheid music video.
The late ’80s saw Bators briefly work with ex-Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe, appear in another movie, 1988’s Tapeheads, and the Sun City music video, plus sporadic reunion gigs with the Dead Boys. Having relocated to Paris, France, little was heard from Bators subsequently, although it became known in later years that he attempted to form a punk rock supergroup featuring ex-New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders and ex-Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone. But besides a few rehearsals, nothing ever came of the union.
On June 4, 1994 Bators was struck by a taxi in Paris during a bank holiday. He was taken to a hospital but reportedly left before seeing a doctor, after waiting several hours and assuming he was not injured. Reports indicate that he died in his sleep as the result of a concussion. Bators, a fan of rock legend Jim Morrison, had earlier requested that his ashes be spread over Morrison’s Paris grave at Pere Lachaise Cemetery and his girlfriend Caroline complied.
In the director’s commentary of the film Polyester, which starred Bators, the director and producer John Waters stated that Bators’ girlfriend Caroline confessed to him that she snorted a portion of Stiv’s ashes to be closer to him.
February 2, 1979 – Sid Vicious was born John Simon Ritchie on May 10th 1957 in Lewisham in Southeast London England. His mother dropped out of school early due to a lack of academic success and went on to join the Royal Airforce, where she met her husband-to-be, Ritchie’s father, a guardsman at Buckingham Palace and a semi-professional trombone player on the London Jazz scene.
Shortly after Ritchie’s birth, he and his mother moved to Ibiza, where they expected to be joined by his father who, it was planned, would support them financially in the meantime. However, after the first few cheques failed to arrive, Anne realized senior would not be coming. Anne later married Christopher Beverley in 1965, before setting up a family home back in Kent, England. Ritchie took his stepfather’s surname and was known as John Beverley.
Christopher Beverley died a short while later from cancer and by 1968 Ritchie and his mother were living in a rented flat in Turnbridge Wells, where he attended Sandown Court School. In 1971 mom and son moved to Hackney in east London. He also spent some time living in Clevedon, Somerset. Ritchie first met John Lydon in 1973, when they were both students at Hackney Technical College. Lydon describes Ritchie at this time as a David Bowie fan and a “clothes hound”.
By age 17, Ritchie was hanging around London’s center. One favorite spot was Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s then-little-known clothing store, SEX. There he met American expatriate Chrissie Hynde before she formed the Pretenders. Though at least five years older, she tried (but failed) to convince Ritchie to join her in a sham marriage so she could get a work permit.
John Lydon nicknamed Ritchie “Sid Vicious” after Lydon’s pet hamster Sid, who had bitten Ritchie, eliciting Ritchie’s response: “Sid is really vicious!” The animal was described by Lydon as “the softest, furriest, weediest thing on earth.” At the time, Ritchie was squatting with Lydon, John Joseph Wardle (Jah Wobble), and John Gray, and the four were colloquially known as “The Four Johns”.
According to Lydon, he and Vicious would often busk for money, with Vicious playing the tambourine. They would play Alice Cooper covers, and people gave them money to stop. Once a man gave them “three bob” (three shillings, i.e., 15p in decimal currency) and they all danced. Yet the darker side of Sid’s personality emerged when he assaulted New Musical Express journalist Nick Kent with a motorbike chain, with help from Jah Wobble. On another occasion, at the Speakeasy (a London nightclub popular with rock stars of the day) he threatened BBC DJ and Old Grey Whistle Test presenter Bob Harris.
His ‘musical’ career started in 1976 as a member of The Flowers of Romance along with former co-founding member of The Clash, Keith Levene, Palmolive and Viv Albertine. He appeared with Siouxsie and the Banshees, playing drums at their notorious first gig at the 100 Club Punk Festival in London’s Oxford Street. According to members of The Damned, Vicious, along with Dave Vanian, was considered for the position of lead singer for The Damned but failed to show up for the audition. The song “Belsen Was a Gas” originates from this band, and was later performed live by the Sex Pistols, as well as Sid Vicious’ solo act.
He played his first gig with the Sex Pistols on 3 April 1977 at the The Screen On The Green in London. His debut was filmed by Don Letts and appears in Punk Rock Movie. In Nov. 1977, Sid met American groupie Nancy Spungen. Both the group and Sid visibly deteriorated during their 1978 American tour.
The Pistols broke up in San Francisco after their concert at the Winterland Ballroom on 14 January 1978. With Nancy acting as his “manager”, Sid embarked on a solo career during which he performed with musicians including Mick Jones of The Clash, original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, Rat Scabies of The Damned and the New York Dolls’ Arthur Kane, Jerry Nolan, and Johnny Thunders.
He performed the majority of his performances at Max’s Kansas City and drew large crowds. His final performances as a solo musician took place at Max’s.
On October 12th 1978, Sid claimed to have awoken from a drugged stupor to find Nancy dead on the bathroom floor of their room in the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan, New York. She had suffered a single stab wound to her abdomen and appeared to have bled to death. On October 22 1978, ten days after Nancy’s death, he attempted suicide by slicing his wrist and subsequently became a patient at Bellevue Hospital.
A little over three months later, on February 2nd 1979, Vicious died from a heroin overdose as he had been partying in a New York flat to celebrate his release on $50,000 (£29,412) bail pending his trial for the murder of his girlfriend. A few days after his cremation, his mother found a suicide note in the pocket of his jacket: “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye”.
He was 21 years old.
In 2006 he was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Sex Pistols.