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Suicide (band)

Related: rock music - 1970s - punk music - electronic music


Suicide is a 1970s and '80s punk/post punk duo, composed of Alan Vega (vocals) and Martin Rev (synthesizers and drum machines).

Suicide formed in the early 1970s as a conventional rock group with guitars, bass guitar and drums, but over time, many members quit until only Vega and Rev remained.

Rev's keyboard riffs--usually played on a battered Farfisa organ and accompanied by primative drum machines--were simple and hypnotic, and provided an ideal backdrop for Vega's vocals. Vega often owed an obvious debt to Elvis Presley and rockabilly singers, but his muttering, shrieking, nervy delivery was unique.

They emerged from the early punk scene in New York City with a reputation for ferocious and controversial live shows that occasionally led to riots and violence.

Their first album, Suicide, is often regarded as a classic: "'Dream Baby Dream,' 'Che, 'Ghost Rider'--these eerie, sturdy, steam-punk anthems rank among the most visionary, melodic experiments the rock realm has yet produced." [1]

Suicide's albums and performances in the late 1970s and early 1980s are regarded as some of the most influential post punk recordings and helped shape the direction of indie rock, industrial music and dance music. Among others, Henry Rollins, Soft Cell and R.E.M. have listed Suicide as one of their influences.

Vega and Rev have both released solo albums, and Suicide released their first album in over a decade with 2002's American Supreme. Sales, however, were slow and critical reception was mixed. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_%28band%29

Suicide (1977) - Suicide

  • Suicide (1977) - Suicide [Amazon.com]
    This remarkable debut album, released a full seven years after the group had formed, was still way ahead of its time back in 1978. Suicide--Alan Vega on vocals and Martin Rev on keyboards and drum machine--are one of the most original acts in the history of popular music. They're often called the first synthpop act; synth-punk is closer to the truth--their music was far more edgy and menacing than that of any of their followers, with the notable exception of Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, et al. Suicide drew on the right protopunk influence (Nuggets-type stuff, Velvets, Stooges) and came out of the same Mercer Arts scene that bred the New York Dolls. Their guitar-bass-and-"real"-drummer-deprived setup outraged audiences; on the superb bonus disc you can hear a European crowd rioting in the background while their apocalyptic nursery rhymes sound away. Tough guy Vega croons like an evil Elvis bred on garage rock and performance art; the stoic Rev lays churning, repetitive, and oddly melodic lines down on his beat-up Farfisa, and the ancient drum machine--it actually sounds steam-driven--propels the music toward a ratty, Blade Runner future. "Dream Baby Dream," "Che," "Ghost Rider"--these eerie, sturdy, steam-punk anthems rank among the most visionary, melodic experiments the rock realm has yet produced. This reissue is bright and clear-sounding, and with the full disc of live performances (a 1977 CBGB's soundboard tape plus the legendary "23 Minutes Over Brussels" performance) this is an essential purchase. --Mike McGonigal

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