Alan Vega, singer of the influential electronic punk music duo Suicide, died Saturday, his family announced. He was 78.
“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 the statement. “Alan passed peacefully in his sleep last night, July 16.”
“Alan was not only relentlessly creative, writing music and painting until the end, he was also startlingly unique,” the statement goes on. “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.”
Vega suffered a stroke in 2012, but Suicide continued performing since, including gigs at David Lynch’s club Silencio in Paris and at New York’s Webster Hall. Vega said last year that “things have looked up.”
Vega and instrumentalist Martin Rev formed Suicide, named after an issue of Marvel comic-book “Ghost Rider,” in 1970 after witnessing a Stooges concert in 1969. The duo was one of the original pioneers of punk, and offered the genre a unique, minimalistic sound.
Suicide built its reputation with live shows for years before debuting its self-titled debut album in 1977. The album featured such tracks as “Cheree,” “Ghost Rider,” “Frankie Teardrop” and “Che,” and embedded itself into the history of punk.
The group’s 1979 single “Dream Baby Dream” was covered by Bruce Springsteen on his 2014 album “High Hopes.” Springsteen told Mojo magazine that he met the two in the late ’70s and said, “if Elvis came back from the dead, I think he would sound like Alan Vega.”
Vega is survived by his wife, Liz, and son, Dante. Rollins will pay tribute to Vega with a special on his KCRW radio show on Sunday.