NIAGARA (Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival) : Ronnie ended up being a millionaire when he died. He would call me and say ‘I’m almost there.’ He really lived it up. He bought all these collections, the Nazi stuff. He bought a ceremonial dagger for like $12,000. When things started back with Iggy, he had money and he would say ‘you like this furniture?’ And I’d be like, ‘no, no.’
Whenever he went up north with the Colonel, he would buy me things like a fur coat.
Even after we split, he would come over and we’d stay up all night and talk and he’d stay the night and get high. So he used to stay here a lot. Then he got his place up north, near the lake up by Saginaw.[Michigan]. We used to hang out at antique places and he’d come in and they’d say ‘Ronnie, I got something you might like.’
He bought a decent place, more modern, perfect for him. Ronnie did the right thing. He always said ‘I’m only going to live 10 more years.’
When I was with him we bought a ’66 Cadillac. We must have had some money at that time, because I was with him then.
When he died, Ronnie was supposed to go out with us, January 4 is the Colonel’s birthday. So he called him a few times, and Ron didn’t answer which was normal. Ronnie never answered his phone, he just let it go to voice mail. But now the voice mail was full and that never happened. So a couple days later, Colonel said to me, ‘this is bad, there’s something wrong.’
I thought Ronnie was going to die but I wasn’t sure this was it. So we called [Asheton girlfriend] Dara, who Ronnie bought a house for a few doors down.
We called her and said ‘go see Ronnie.’She said, ‘we had a fight, fuck him, he’s a clown, I’m not going over there,’ and finally she said ‘ok.’
It was the middle of the night and she went and called us back and said he’s dead. He was in his bed. Ron was not taking care of himself and he would not go to a doctor. Those tours were really strenuous and he was always on stage doing his thing. One night he woke up and his nose was running and he put a Kleenex in it and when he woke up there was blood all over it. Something had burst.
He had been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and he wasn’t fat, he had like, from waist down he was so skinny and he had been losing weight.
He was so skinny with the Stooges that he always looked bigger.
Anyway, he was smoking and drinking and taking the high blood pressure pills, which he ran out of and he wasn’t going to get more.
I was always telling him to think about it. Ronnie hated anything new and I never got him started back on the pills.
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter with over two decades of experience in daily newspaper, Web and magazine reporting and writing. Miller has done time as a court and cops beat reporter at the Dallas Morning News and as a national reporter for the Washington Times, and as a correspondent for national publications including People magazine, High Times, Boston Magazine, Miami New Times, Houston Press, The Daily Beast and U.S. News and World Report. In 2012, he was an Edgar award finalist for his book, Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender. He is a recipient of the digital investigative award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Miller was also the former vocalist in the Midwest punk rock outfit the Fix in 1980-81.
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