By Kris Needs
"We were living through the realities of war and bringing the war onto the stage... Everybody hated us, man." says Alan Vega who, along with electronic jazz maverick Martin Rev, formed Suicide, the most terrifyingly iconoclastic band in history, and also one of the most influential.
By the time the punk scene they're usually associated with came out of CBGBs in the mid-seventies, Suicide had already been causing havoc in New York's clubs for several years. They were actually borne out of the city's vibrant artistic underground as a counter-cultural performance art statement, opposing the war by mirroring its turmoil.
This book tells Suicide's whole amazing story like never before, with New York a shimmering, seething backdrop as Rev studies with jazz greats, such as blind bebop pianist Lennie Tristano and his hero Miles Davis' drummer Tony Williams, while Vega makes a noise on the new art gallery scene springing up on the then-deserted streets of SoHo.
Working closely with author Kris Needs, Rev and Vega explain the influences and events which led to the birth of Suicide and their early struggles. They invoke another world and era, peppered with smoky jazz clubs, Iggy Pop in his new-born Stooge persona and even suffer an attack from beat guru Allen Ginsberg.
Along with interviewing major figures in the Suicide story, Kris Needs reaches back into 40 years chronicling and interviewing major players in New York's musical history, including Blondie, Jayne County, James Chance and the New York Dolls. While the city changes around them, it all adds up to the definitive account of the lives and times of this unique duo.