A fine arts graduate, Alan started his career in the early 1970’s as a visual artist and sculpted objects from electronic debris. His sculptures were on display at the ‘Projects of Living Artists’ in Soho, New York, which was founded by the ‘AWC’.
Impressed by the performance of the Proto punk band ‘Iggy and the Stooges’, this vocalist came up with his own band named ‘Suicide’, along with instrumentalist Martin Reverby in 1970. The band’s unconventional style of music went on to become an inspiration for future generations of electronic artists all over the world.
The band in their initial days used to stage performances at the ‘OK Harris gallery’, but later they started playing at a venue called ‘Projects of Living Artists’.
A drummer named Mari Reverby joined the band in 1971, after Paul Liegbott, the original guitarist dropped out of the troupe. The band garnered a lot of acclaim after performing at clubs like ‘Mercer Arts Center’, ‘Max’s Kansas City’, and ‘CBGB’,
Despite the release of the two albums, the band faced hostility from critics and faltered to gain foothold. But soon this vocalist’s first solo record released in 1980, featuring the chartbuster ‘Jukebox Babe’. The song grabbed the eyeballs of major record labels.
The legacy of Alan’s signature ‘Rockabilly’ style continued with his 1981 release, ‘Collision Drive’. His works, consisting of ‘minimal music’ coupled with repetitive notes, were greatly influenced by the style of his teacher, Ad Reinhardt.
Having established himself as a painter, Vega went on to become a visual artist and exhibited his works at the ‘Ok Harris’ gallery, where he had obtained his residency. The gallery displayed his exhibit from 1972 to 1975.
He exhibited his works of art at the ‘PS1 Art Institute’, located in Long Island City of New York in 1982.
The album ‘Saturn Strip’ was released in 1983 by the label ‘Elektra Records’, and was produced by Vega’s old time pal Rick Ocasek. The album garnered appreciation from critics across the continent.
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In 1985, the album ‘Just a Million Dreams’ came out amidst much hue and cry, as the original producer Rick Ocasek was replaced by Chris-Lord-Alge. The course of events after this replacement was totally against the singer’s favor. At one point of time the record even contemplated dropping Vega.
The third album of the band ‘Suicide’, titled ‘A Way of Life’ was released in 1988, in collaboration with Rick Ocasek. The release of the album was followed by a European tour.
The band released their fourth album named ‘Why Be Blue’ in 1990. A music video for the song ‘Dominic Christ’, which featured in this album, was produced by Stefan Roloff, and brought out to the public by ‘Wax Trax Records’.
For nearly three years since the release of ‘A Way of Life’, Vega indulged in various vocal experiments. The pieces which he created during this time were compiled in his fifth solo album titled ‘Deuce Avenue’, which was released in 1990.
‘Power on to Zero Hour’ another solo, was released in 1991, which portrayed lyrics resonating with the war torn conditions prevailing around the globe.
The year 1991 was an important milestone in the life of this singer, as it marked the release of his compilation of photographs and poetry named ‘Alan Vega: Deuce Avenue War/The Warriors v3 97’. Later that year, another one of his works, titled ‘Cripple Nation’, a collection of prose, poetry and lyrics was published by Henry Rollins.
In association with several other guitarists, he attempted to display the vast cultural diversity in the musical world with his 1995 release ‘New Raceion’.
This vocalist collaborated with various artists like Mika Vainio and Ilpo Vaisanen, who were together known as ‘PanSonic’, and together they released the album ‘Endless’, undersigned ‘VVV’ in 1998. He also composed the music for the movie ‘Sombre’, which was directed by Phillipe Grandrieux.
In 1999, he released his next album, a composition mirroring his personal experience and opinions, named ‘2007’, which didn’t receive much appreciation.
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Shortly after the September 2001 debacle, ‘Suicide’ released their next album titled ‘American Supreme’, resonating the sentiments of the public.
In January 2002, he came up with an art exhibition at a gallery named ‘Deitch Projects’, organized at the behest of renowned art dealer Jeffrey Deitch. The exhibition comprised of his trademark floor sculptures, and wall pieces carved out of electronic debris.
In 2003, this musician sang two songs which featured in DJ Hell’s Cd, titled ‘NY Muscle’.
Working in alliance with musicians Vainio and Vaisanen yet again, Vega came out with the album ‘Resurrection River’ which was released in 2004.
The label ‘Blast First Records’ released this vocalist’s tenth solo named ‘Station’ in the year 2007. The album reflects his classic style, and evolution through the years.
The ‘Museum of Contemporary Art’ in Lyon, France, organized an exhibition of Vega’s works in 2009. The works on display used various electronic articles like neon lights, cables, adapters and multi-colored light strings to conjure images radical in nature.
Personal Life & Legacy
During the phase prior to the inception of ‘Deuce Avenue’, he met Elizabeth Lamere whom he later married. The couple has a son, Dante.
David Nobahkt, penned the documentary-biography of ‘Suicide’ named ‘No Compromise’, which was released in the UK in the later part of 2004.
At the ‘Deitch Projects’ in 2009, two short documentaries filmed on Alan Vega and his works were screened. One was ‘Autour d’Alan Vega (extraits) (1998)’, filmed by Hugues Peyret, and the other one was ‘Alan Vega (2000)’ documented by Christian Eudeline.
Vega died in his sleep on July 16, 2016 at the age of 78 in New York City, New York, U.S.