R.I.P. Alan Vega of Suicide

Passed Away in His Sleep on Saturday

Jul 18, 2016
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Alan Vega of protopunk legends Suicide passed away in his sleep Saturday night. Henry Rollins broke the news via his website with a statement from Vega's family.

Vega was born Boruch Alan Bermowitz on June 23, 1938 in Brooklyn. In 1970 he met Martin Rev (full name Martin Reverby) and formed Suicide. The duo's sound centered on Rev's somewhat primitive keyboards and drum machines and Vega's vocals. They were named after a Ghost Rider comic book titled "Satan Suicide" and were one of the first bands to promote their shows by using the phrase punk on their concert posters (a phrase they latched onto after reading an article by famed music critic Lester Bangs). The band's 1977 debut album, simply titled Suicide, wasn't particularly well-received on its initial release, but is now regarded as a classic and has gone on to be a highly influential album on artists ranging from Radiohead to M.I.A. to Spacemen 3 to Bruce Springsteen to The Jesus and Mary Chain to Depeche Mode to Nine Inch Nails to The Horrors to Savages to Daft Punk and many others. Suicide released five studio albums, the latest being 2002's American Supreme. Vega also released several solo and collaborative albums outside of Suicide, stretching from 1980's Alan Vega to 2010's Sniper.

Here is the full statement from Vega's family via Henry Rollins:

"With profound sadness and a stillness that only news like this can bring, we regret to inform you that the great artist and creative force, Alan Vega has passed away.

Alan passed peacefully in his sleep last night, July 16. He was 78 years of age.

Alan was not only relentlessly creative, writing music and painting until the end, he was also startlingly unique. Along with Martin Rev, in the early 1970's, they formed the two person avant band known as Suicide. Almost immediately, their incredible and unclassifiable music went against every possible grain. Their confrontational live performances, light-years before Punk Rock, are the stuff of legend. Their first, self-titled album is one of the single most challenging and noteworthy achievements in American music.

Alan Vega was the quintessential artist on every imaginable level. His entire life was devoted to outputting what his vision commanded of him.

One of the greatest aspects of Alan Vega was his unflinching adherence to the demands of his art. He only did what he wanted. Simply put, he lived to create. After decades of constant output, the world seemed to catch up with Alan and he was acknowledged as the groundbreaking creative individual he had been from the very start.

Alan's life is a lesson of what it is to truly live for art. The work, the incredible amount of time required, the courage to keep seeing it and the strength to bring it forth-this was Alan Vega.

Alan is survived by his amazing family, wife Liz and son Dante. His incredible body of work, spanning five decades, will be with us forever."

Below are a selection of Suicide and Vega songs.

 

 

 

 



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