Henry Rollins broke the news on his website
Suicide‘s Alan Vega has died, aged 78.
The singer of the New York protopunk band passed away last night (July 16), going peacefully in his sleep according to a statement from his family.
“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,” reads a statement from Vega’s family.
“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.”
Vega was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1938, although it was widely believed until 2005 that he was born in 1948. His real name was Boruch Alan Bermowitz.
He had also claimed to be part Puerto Rican and half Catholic, but later admitted he had lied about his background to “fuel the myth”.
Vega met Martin Rev in 1970 and shortly after they formed Suicide with Paul Liebgott. They released their self-titled debut album in 1977, with four more studio records following over the next 25 years.
He released 18 solo albums, with the last, ‘Sniper’, being released in 2010.
Vega was a confrontational performer and was known when Suicide first began performing for brandishing a length of motorcycle chain on stage. His performance style was heavily influenced by Iggy And The Stooges.
The likes of Jesus And Mary Chain, Bruce Springsteen, Thurston Moore, Nick Cave, New Order, Steve Albini, Savages, Klaxons, LCD Soundsystem, MIA and more have all cited Suicide and Vega as an influence on their own music.