Alasdair Vega RIP

26 07 2016

Fans of pioneering 70s New York avante garde synthesiser punk were saddened to hear of the demise of Suicide’s Alan Vega on Friday.

Unfortunately there’s been little reporting of the tragic passing, the same day, of the Leodhasach cousin from whom he nicked all his ideas.
Alasdair Vega was born Bùrach Alasdair Bernerawitz in Brue in 1938. In the 50s and 60s he enjoyed a moderately successful career in the visual arts as a painter and decorator for Jimmy Buller’s. But at the Barvas Hall one Friday night in 1969, he witnessed incendiary performances from angry Ballantrushal proto-punks Engie & The Spooches and the Murdo City 5. “That was fleekeen hardy” he thought to himself, and decided to pack in the wallpapering and take up rock ‘n’ roll instead.
Having no instruments and not being able to play was no deterrent to Vega. His pal, cuireamach ex-weaver Martin Reverend(*), had recently been blacklisted by the Harris Tweed Authority after being caught using a motor, so they built a primitive drum machine from Reverend’s illegally powered loom.
An early analogue synthesiser was constructed by tying eight sheep to a plank with holes in it, and poking them with a stick to elicit sounds of the appropriate pitch.
Vega and Reverend’s band, Suetcide, soon became the darlings of the down town SY avant-garde scene, playing exhibitions and happenings in unconventional spaces such as the old fish mart, Perceval Square ladies’ toilets, Henderson’s off-licence and the Gut Factory.
Suetcide’s uncompromising performances, and epic improvised prose “songs” such as “Fankie Teardrop” and “Goat Riders” drew great critical acclaim from arty farty bleigeards such as pioneering rock journo Lester “Peat” Banks.
Despite this, the band never achieved commercial success due to all their stuff being unlistenable ruppish full of sweary words that went on for fleekeen hours at a time.
Nevertheless, seeing they were cool, they went on to be cited as an influence by generations of crap synthpop bands who sounded fleek all like them but were in desperate need of some cred. These include Depeche Maw, Marc Amadan and Soft Seilebost, the Peat Shop Boys, and diahorrea-prone 1-hit wonders Sigue Sick Spùt-nik.
More believably, Suetcide influenced countless post-punk, goth and industrial acts such as The Sisters of Murchaidh, Minister-y, Nine Inch Niall-Iains and Sonic Ewe-th.
(*)Martin Reverend’s cousin Roddy was of course a member of early 80s Avante Gaelic Obscurist Folk Rock legends Cyclefoot, of “One More From the Trading Post” fame.



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