There’s been no new music from Suicide co-founder Alan Vega since 2010’s Sniper. In the six years between that album and his death in the summer of 2016, Vega worked on a project called IT with his wife and frequent collaborator Liz Lamere. During that time he suffered a stroke, but the work continued.
Hardly surprising that the 78-year old artist would keep it going to the very end, though. After Vega and partner Martin Rev’s incredibly belligerent early ‘70s Suicide performances made the world just a little safer for countless punk, minimal electronic, noise, and industrial artists who’d follow, Vega kept up a respectable release schedule, never letting more than a few years go by without putting out new work. An absolute desert island favorite of mine is 1998’s Endless, a collaboration under the name “VVV” with the Finnish experimental duo Pan Sonic, themselves quite obviously Suicide acolytes. That trio would be revived for 2005’s Resurrection River, but sadly, Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio himself passed away just a couple of months ago.
Though it’s sad that IT had to be a posthumous album, it will at last be available in July, its release coinciding with the anniversary of his death and a slew of commemorative “Alan Vega Week” events that will include an exhibit of Vega’s drawings at Invisible-Exports, and “Dream Baby Dream,” a collection at Deitch Projects of Vega’s sculptural work plus video projections of historic Suicide performances. Here’s the album’s lead-off track, “DTM” (it stands for “Dead to Me”). Lamere had this to say about Vega’s persistence in completing the work despite advanced age and failing health:
Alan’s life force was so strong because he believed in his vision and purpose. He understood we can’t control much of what happens to us, or in our world, but we have free will and the power to go on and stand for what we believe in.
Bonus song: Vainio/Väisänen/Vega’s “Sick Sick USA:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Some holiday cheer from Suicide
‘Ghost Rider’: Amazing new video surfaces of Suicide, live in 1980