One half of the seminal electronic duo Suicide, Alan Vega was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1948.
He began his career as a visual artist, gaining notoriety for his "light sculptures"; eventually Vega opened his own lower Manhattan gallery space, which he dubbed the Project of Living Artists. The Project served as a stomping grounds for the likes of the New York Dolls, Television, and Blondie as well as the 15-piece jazz group Reverend B., which featured a musician named Martin Rev on electric piano. Soon, Vega and Rev formed Suicide, whose minimalist, aggressive music -- a fusion of Rev's ominous, repetitive keyboards and Vega's rockabilly snarl -- helped paved the direction for the electronic artists of the future.
Suicide disbanded in 1980, and both Vega and Rev undertook solo careers. Vega's self-titled 1980 debut and his 1981 effort Collision Drive continued to explore the fractured rockabilly identity he had established in his earlier work. 1983's Saturn Strip, produced by longtime fan Ric Ocasek, marked Vega's debut for Elektra Records; corporate relations soured during production for 1985's Just a Million Dreams, however, and at one point the label even attempted to remove the singer from his own studio sessions.
Suicide briefly re-formed in 1988; a year later the solo Vega appeared, followed in 1990 by Deuce Avenue. After the release of 1991's Power on to Zero Hour, Suicide again reunited and toured. In 1995, Vega resurfaced as a solo artist with New Raceion; a year later, he returned with Dujang Prang. At the turn of the decade, he also began exploring new media outlets: Deuce Avenue War/The Warriors v3 97, his first book of photography, appeared in 1990, while Cripple Nation, a collection of prose and lyrics, bowed in 1991. Power on to Zero Hour and Cubist Blues (with Alex Chilton and Ben Vaughn) wrapped up his '90s recordings, followed in the early 2000s by yet another Suicide re-formation (which yielded 2002's American Supreme) and 2007's solo Station on Blast First Records. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi