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Pioneering punk rock new York, extremist precursor of electronic music in the second half of the 1970s, in Suicide, the duo with his accomplice keyboardist Martin Rev, singer and artist Alan Vega was nine years older Iggy Pop, and just three years younger than his first idol, Elvis Presley. Born Boruch Alan Bermowitz in 1938 in the Bensonhurst neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, who knew a vocation as a painter before the musician, died in his sleep on July 16 at the age of 78 years.
This is one of his admirers and friends, Henry Rollins, former Black Flag frontman and himself figure in American hardcore, who announced the news, sharing on its site the statement written by the family of Alan Vega. It read: “ Alan was not qu’infatigablement creative – writing music and painting to the end – it was also surprisingly only .”
Marked by arte povera
the son of a small artisan tailor gemstones, Alan Bermowitz first studied physics and art in Brooklyn College, with Ad Reinhardt, figure in conceptual art. Marked by the arte povera, anti-aesthetic school theorized by the Italian critic Germano Celant, Alan decides Bermowitz in turn created from “poor product”. “ Anyway , I was too poor to use something other than recycling equipment “, recalled the singer (The World of 5 June 2009 ) at the first retrospective of his work organized by artist, in 2009, the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon.
in the late 1960s, he created his first light sculptures. “ One day I was working on a painting I could not illuminate properly, so I took the bulb from the ceiling and I literally planted on my painting. “At the same time, co-founded Bermowitz MUSEUM: Project of Living Artists, New York alternative place to house twenty-four hours twenty-four artists all without distinction. As a response to the glamorous elitism of the Warhol Factory. This is where the one who renamed Suicide Alan and Alan Vega, musicians and frequent meeting in 1969, Martin Reverby said Martin Rev, come play with his experimental jazz group.
a rock primitivism
That same year, 1969, Alan Vega had a revelation while attending a concert of the Stooges Iggy Pop, the New York State Pavilion. “I saw Iggy jumping into the crowd, fighting, slashing his chest,” he told us in 2009 . “For me, this twenty minute show was an experience worthy of Artaud or Beckett. I realized then that to be a true artist, it was confrontational. Music permitted more directly than visual art. “
In 1970, the New Yorker is therefore devoting more and more music under the name Suicide, with Martin Rev, accompanied initially by a guitarist and a harvester before limited, since 1975, a duo advocating primitivism rock mixed with avant-garde sounds. “ Suicide is an updated version of Arte Povera, estimated the singer. We played on synthesizers junk, tinkered with cheap effects boxes. “
This minimalism will use their punk pioneers the term to describe their music, intentionally monotonous and repetitive cocktail of rockabilly and synthetic spectral hacks. Between leather and neon, the first Suicide performances often end in riots in Manhattan clubs like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. The Jew from Brooklyn, looking like thug rican, loved to provoke the audience, plunging into the pit and twirling a bicycle chain.
An Elvis ghostly
After the first demos, recorded for Red Star label Marty Thau, the duo finally released his first album, Suicide in 1977. Even the punk scene at the time, dominated by guitars is paralyzed by the radical nature of this ghostly Elvis gasping on white noise machines. Incantations and crackling titles like Ghost Rider , Cheree and Rocket USA , or the terrifying ten minutes Frankie Teardrop yet make this disc a future classic, essential reference for a generation of electronic groups, whether in dominant pop (New Order, Depeche mode …), industrial (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry …) or techno (Aphex Twin , Daft Punk …)
Produced by frontman Cars, Ric Ocasek, their excellent second album, the more languorous Alan Vega. – Martin Rev (1980), will not more than commercial success. The duo then puts his career on hold, Alan Vega starting a solo career that brought him an unlikely hit in France, the very rockabilly Jukebox Babe (1980), the only one of his discography. This French connection asserting especially as singers like Alain Bashung and Christophe will claim loudly their admiration. This approaching Vega in 1995, for joint projects ( The Ace Vega Bevilacqua in 1996) the ultimate example of which appears in April 2016 with the title Tangerine in the new album, the Remains of the chaos, the mustachioed blond.
most structured of time from the same skeletal frame, the solos of Alan Vega discs – Collision Dri ve (1981), Saturn Strip (1983) … – or those of new co-authored with Martin Rev as the Suicide – Why Be Blue (1992), American Supreme (2002) … – no longer produced the same aesthetic impact, despite some interesting collaborations – Cubist Blues (1996) with Alex Chilton and Ben Vaughn, or Re-Up (1999) with Lydia Lunch, Genesis P-Orridge and French to Being Records.
Always productive as a painter and musician, even after a heart attack in 2012, Alan Vega was proud to see his songs repeatedly by artists such as Primal Scream, the Horrors, Peaches, MIA, LCD Sound System or Bruce Springsteen during his solo tour of 2005, adapting only to the harmonium, a haunted version of Dream Baby Dream . “When I saw him at during this tour, had entrusted we Vega, Bruce hugged me saying in front of everyone: “If Elvis was still alive, it would be Alan.” I would have cried. “
Alan Vega few dates
June 23, 1938: Birth to Brooklyn (New York)
1968: he co-founded MUSEUM, alternative artistic place New York
1970: training Suicide group, with Martin Rev
from 1977 to 2002: five studio albums
2009: retrospective of his work plastic in Lyon
16 July 20015: to death 78 years