Arturo Vega painting a banner with The Ramones’ logo, one of the most enduring brands in rock and roll history.
When I first came on board here at DM, I posted a couple of clips of The Ramones rehearsing in 1975 in the loft of their artistic director Arturo Vega. The links to the clips are no longer current, so I thought I’d offer an update with some extended footage and a bit more history regarding Vega and The Ramones relationship.
As the ‘creative director’ for the Ramones, Arturo Vega played a key role in developing the visual style that was integral to the band’s image. His most well known creation is the Ramones’ eagle logo that he based on the great seal of the United States. He replaced ‘e pluribus unum‘ with ‘Hey Ho let’s Go‘ and swapped the arrows in the eagle’s talons for a baseball bat. The logo went on T-shirts, which during the early years of the band frequently rivaled the record sales. Arturo also housed Joey and Dee Dee for many years. His loft was the Ramones headquarters, rehearsal space and crash pad.”
24 year old Vega arrived in NYC from Mexico in 1971 to perform in musical theater. He eventually ended up in the East Village where he transformed an old plastic flower factory into the loft that became the mid-70s punk version of Warhol’s Factory..
In 1975, both DeeDee and Joey lived with me at “The Loft”, which is around the corner from CBGB, so every night after CB’s closed the party would move on to my place, which is on a second floor. Most people didn’t bother ringing the bell they would climb the metal gates from the store at the street level and come through the windows, which is what three guys that came together did to nobody’s surprise. In those days New York City was on a loosing battle against crime, the city was at one of it’s lowest points ever neighborhoods like the East Village were heroin supermarkets, the Bowery was “free for all” territory, we liked it. Any way these three guys came back to the loft a few times after that, and one day one of them confessed to me that the first time they came in they intended to rob everybody, but found the party so cool they decided to join us instead. SEE! PUNK ROCK DOESN’T PROMOTE CRIME, IT STOPS IT!’ – Arturo Vega
This footage is raw, which is exactly as it should be.