Left to her own devices, local artist and musician Niagara would “rather go into my really dark place” and mourn the death of her friend, Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton.
Then her phone started to ring after he was found dead Jan. 6 in his Ann Arbor home.
“People were so elegant, it blew my mind,” says Niagara, who played with Asheton in the bands Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival. “Everyone cared so much. And I got tons of e-mail. Ronnie would be really touched. I don’t think he would have a clue that (he) was this enormous.
“It took about days of people asking, ‘What are we going to do? We have to do something. When is it?’ I finally realized, what am I waiting for? Of course we’re gonna do this thing. Who else is gonna do it?”
So Niagara, along with her husband Colonel Galaxy, have organized Saturday’s (Jan. 17) Ronnie ... Thanks a Million tribute, a multimedia celebration of Asheton’s life and work at Detroit’s Music Hall Center. The early portion of the evening will feature speakers as well as footage of Asheton performing and some of the films he appeared in, such as “Mosquito,” “Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo” and “Legion of the Night.”
Afterward the party will move downstairs to the Music Hall’s Jazz Cafe, where Bootsey X & the Lovemasters will be joined by musicians who worked with Asheton over the years. His younger brother, Stooges drummer Scott “Rock Action” Asheton, plans to attend as well.
“People need some place to pay their respects — all the people who knew him, anybody who loved his music,” Niagara says. “We just needed this very badly and just wanted to have a place to do it.”
Ronnie ... Thanks a Million begins at 9 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 17)at the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit. Admission is free, but donations will be collected for the Michigan Humane Society, Asheton’s favorite charity. Donors will receive a commemorative button. Call (313) 887-8500 or visit www.myspace. com/niagaradetroit.
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