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10. Alan Vega - It (Fader) ... SPEW'S Top 10 countdown.

If you know who Alan Vega is we can move along. 
Alan Vega with one of his installations.

But maybe some of you don’t. 

Alan Vega was part rockabilly hiccup, part electronic futurist. He was a poetic minimalist. Whether as musician, either with his partner Martin Rev in the band Suicide or solo, or as visual artist (his gallery shows were infrequent, but legendary), Vega was uncompromising and unwilling to play the game. He was interested in energy, in process, not in creating a portfolio. One romanticizes artists at one's peril, but Alan Vega didn't have time for bullshit, and his work shows it. 

Alan Vega died in 2016; he was seventy-eight years old. Much of his life he’d been a bit cat and mouse about his age, not wanting to let his Seventies “punk” peers at Max's and CBGB's know he was fifteen years older than them. He needn’t have worried. Nothing dated Alan Vega. 

His posthumous swan song It i(the back half of a New York 'exit' sign) is as abrasive and aggressive as his first record with Suicide, the album that introduced us to "Frankie Teardrop" (a Bruce Springsteen favorite), "Cheree," and "Ghost Rider.' Forty years on from that testimonial debut, It is just as charged and challenging. 
"Dukes God Bar"

 Recorded over a six-year period, much of it in ill health, with his wife and collaborator, Liz Lamere (who supplies the stark, pulsing electronic buzz of cheap keyboards and dime store effects), It is both a raging farewell and a prayer for his teenage son, Dante. 

 Vega’s avant-shrieks and rockabilly boy from hell vocals remain fierce. His minimal poetic scorn for big money America is sharp - he’s the kind of artist who get so much from a minimum of materials, the kind that a fool might be tempted to say “hell, I could do that” about. They said the same of Jackson Pollock; and were wrong. 

From the opening salvo "D.T.M. (Dead to Me)," an admonition  to those who'd impose oppressive authority over individuality and the creative impulse, to "Stars," a tough, solemn prayer for Dante, and a blessing to all who create in this uncertain future - "do what you want ... anything ... the power is given,," It is a eulogy for the New York of diner, dingy bars and cheap lofts, and a last rage at the dying of the light. 

One helluva will and testament. 

An interesting piece from the New York Times:


The people have spoken.

Better Ed than Dead

Ed Sheeran - He looks like Van Morrison, kinda, huh? Check the tats.  

Ed Sheeran is the highest paid entertainer on the planet. I think. I don’t know. They say he’s worth 65 million. Anyway, I read that somewhere. God knows he travels light and doesn’t have to share that dough with an orchestra or anything.
I saw Ed once. At least that I’m aware of. He opened for the Rolling Stones in 2015 (or was it 16?) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Just me and several thousand of my closest friends. He came out with a guitar in front of that throng and mesmerized the crowd. Okay, not really. Some kids seemed to like him. Old people, eighty percent of the attendees, treated him as a curiosity or mild irritant, not uncommon for a warmup act served up before the Stones’ Lions and Christians, bread and circuses exhibition. Later, he sang “Beast of Burden” with Mick. He was better than Dave Matthews.
I see his ruddy little mug and tousled ginger top here and there in the social media. He seems lik…

2018 in the world of Music: Purple Prose, Spleen, Ideal, Love, Cancer, Hope, Despair and two-cents