Thursday, July 21, 2016

In Memoriam: Alan Vega (1938-2016)

Not quite sure how urgent the afterlife is in need of a band but Death sure seems to be on a roll this 2016 as not a single month thus far has come by without stumbling across any news of a musician passing away - whether it be as a result of living a lifestyle of hedonistic excess or through natural causes.

Dammit Death! Take a few months off of your job, will ya? (This for me is the best representation of Death I've seen thus far, thanks to the anime version of Soul Eater.)

With the former being such a tired cliche by now, the latter option is definitely the more suitable way to go - not to mention that people usually gravitate towards those who lived their lives more fully without resorting to any unwanted vice for a crutch. One such musician who passed away due to natural causes is Alan Vega, one-half of punk duo Suicide (died in his sleep).

Alan Vega

Just to give a bit of a sneak peek at a lengthier profile on Suicide I'll be publishing anytime soon in a separate post:

I recall having checked them out the year when British rap artist M.I.A. released her song "Born Free" wherein the main three-note synth riff to the duo's song "Ghost Rider" was used as its backbone. Got myself listening to the band's first two albums in no time at all and I suddenly found myself reassessing everything I knew about 1970's punk. In fact, Vega and partner in crime Martin Rev were among the first few to call their music as such even as they would later on become a markedly cult influence in almost every genre that has electronics/synthesizers in it.

Now since this post is mainly about Alan Vega, he went on to put some records out under his own name while still having dropped the occasional Suicide record. While a bit less indebted to punk and somewhat underrated compared to his main band's releases, they are nonetheless totally worth checking out - not so much because of his death but rather because I am of the high opinion that his name should be mentioned alongside musicians both dead and living who did some really groundbreaking stuff. As what I feel is my own bit of service in helping commemorate the life and work of one of the most aggressive and confrontational artists who ever roamed this world, I decided to upload a bunch of his stuff for everyone reading this post and this blog to grab and listen to. Not included in this post though are the following as I want to focus on Vega's solo material alone:
  • A release under his own name called "Station" as that said record has other artists in it
  • Full-length albums in collaboration and split singles with other artists

Click on the images to download.

Jukebox Babe/Collision Drive (Vega's self-titled debut album and his sophomore record "Collision Drive" combined as one)

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