Suicide founder Alan Vega passes away aged 78

The musician was one half of the influential New York No Wave duo Suicide. The band pioneered the mixing of electronic music with noise and punk

News broke Sunday morning (17 July) that Alan Vega, the frontman and founder of influential New York No Wave band Suicide has passed away. Vega, whose real name was Boruch Alan Bermowitz, apparently died peacefully in his sleep on 16 July.

The news was broken by Vega’s friend and collaborator Henry Rollins (Black Flag, The Rollins Band) in a statement on his website:

“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 1970s, they formed the two-person avant band known as Suicide.

Suicide still bringing the noise: ‘We can’t predict the content, but who would want to?’

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.”

Together with Martin Rev, Vega record five albums as Suicide 1977’s Suicide, 1980’s Suicide: Alan Vega and Martin Rev, 1988’s A Way of Life, 1992’s Why Be Blue and the duo’s final album American Supreme in 2002. The band were known for their intense live sets and pioneering approach to electronic music that involved a far more aggressive and chaotic approach than many of their predecessors.

“One of the greatest aspects of Alan Vega was his unflinching adherence to the demands of his art,” Vega’s family added on Rollins’ website. “He only did what he wanted. Simply put, he lived to create. 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.”