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Alan Vega

July 19, 2016

I remember the first time I saw this clip.  I was 17, and it was the most arresting thing I’d seen on MTV to that point.  It conceptually blew the doors off Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell video, and was probably made on a fraction of the budget.  Alan’s dirty white cowboy boots (how in the hell he didn’t bust a heel off stomping like that is a mystery), jet black shaggy pompadour, and mannequin like maneuvers – recall an Elvis Presley from the tomb.  And those Memphis Design Group zombies.  Their vacant stares seemed to reflect back the narcissistic malignancy of the Me Decade.  Saturn Strip (1983) was the record.  It included a tribute to ‘guitar torturer’ Kid Congo Powers (Gun Club, Cramps, Bad Seeds), a very righteous human I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting not once, but twice – in our native Los Angeles, and again here in St. Louis a few years back.  With Marty Rev, and on his own recordings, he recorded love songs for an alien future and carried the burning spirit of Rock N’ Roll through the grey and mauve wasteland that was the eighties.  Alan Vega died in his sleep on 16 July 2016.  He was 78.

“Oh yeah, I can hear.
Mmm I can hear the angels in the heavens,
Singing a hallelujah, hallelujah song for you.
It’s the wipeout beat
It’s the wipeout beat
It’s the wipeout beat,
One-two blues, one-two blues…”

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