As 2016 continues to cut a swathe through the talented, another name to add to the list: Alan Vega has died.
The family issued a statement via Henry Rollins' website. Which is way more stylish than announcing it via Facebook:
Hello. Henry here. I am afraid I have some unfortunate news. Below is the family approved statement.Last year, Rollins, Vega and Martin Rev took part in an In Conversation event, where the time Suicide played with The Clash in Glasgow came up:
We will have a special show tomorrow on KCRW, celebrating the great man’s work. Thank you for reading and thank you for respecting the family’s privacy at this difficult time.
July 17 1618 Hrs. PST
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.
MR: The Clash was a riot every single night and that was straight after supporting Elvis Costello, which was also a riot every single night on the continent. But The Clash was a UK tour, the climax of which was Glasgow. And, as probably many of you know - or know from your parents - at that point Glasgow was one of the poorest cities in the world, if not the poorest. They said, ‘If you can survive Glasgow, you can survive anything’ and they were right. It was a riot. Hatchets were thrown.Here's the band playing without a hail of phlegm and tanners. Wonderfully, it's not clear exactly when and the poster doesn't seem sure if its CBGBs or Max's in Kansas City.
AV: It’s true!
MR: We found it embedded in a bass drum; an actual hatchet. A fucking axe head.
AV: They threw an axe at me! They threw an axe at me!
Elizabeth Lamere: And nobody believed you… [LAUGHS]
MR: The money that was thrown could be lethal, too. For the guys who cleaned up afterwards it was pretty good though…
AV: See, we started with The Specials. Two bands opened on that Clash tour. I liked them by the way... they were all fucked up [LAUGHS]. They were great, really great. So they got The Specials and then out comes Suicide and it was ‘BOOOO!!! BOOOOO!!!’ We got booed to shit and had to work our way up from there… upwards, or sideways or downwards. I don’t even know. And The Clash were great and always on the drum riser before the show. I loved them.
MR: But you have to remember that The Clash got the same thing. It was the height of punk, so to show your affection you used to spit and throw things. The Clash went on and if you were watching the band - and that was the band that everybody had paid to see - you saw all kinds of shit. And Glasgow was hardcore. Very serious.
AV: But at the front was a bunch of fucking Nazis. Every kind of available filth in the world. And at the back were the poor guys who liked rock & roll and they were exquisite. Go to the back!
MR: And they were fighting each other. The punks, the nazis and the skinheads. They all had their own personal thing. The only unifying factor was that they all hated us.