ROCK Revolutionary Corps Of Teenage Jesus
The first album by Suicide, the New York duo of Martin Rev and Alan Vega, came out 22 years ago, yet still stands as the pinnacle of visceral man-machine interaction. Emerging from the CBGBs punk scene, fired up on Detroit rock ’n’ roll, free jazz and primitive rockabilly, Suicide fucked with the punk formula by throwing out the guitars in favour of cracked keyboards and drum machines. Violent gigs saw keyboardist Rev brandishing chains as he leapt from table to table whilst vocalist Vega spat.in their faces — ’We’re all Frankies’ he hollered during the song ’Frankie Teardrop'. a tale of a man who loses his mind and kills his family. ‘We’re all lying in hell.’
Over two decades later, Vega's single-minded obsession with nihilistic electro-rock is intact. Suicide still play regularly, but he is also involved in a project with Scottish musician and producer Stephen Lironi aka Revolutionary Corps of Teenage Jesus. The album they have made together, Righteous Lite, is described by Vega as ’demented pop', but that minimal three-chord throb that defined Suicide’s sound is still very much in evidence.
’Yeah, it's very Suicide influenced - sometimes I think it's what Suicide should sound like now,’ says Vega. ’Some things have changed, though. When we first started we were deliberately not entertaining, full of street-tension and violence. You’ve gotta accept that today everyone's immune to that. Things
have become so corporate; I mean, maybe Marilyn Manson can scare some 13 year old kid but, so what?’
Vega first hooked up with Lironi (a former member of Altered Images and producer of Black Grape) when he was approached for permission to cover Suicide's harrowing masterpiece, ‘Frankie Teardrop'.
’He sent me a tape,’ Vega recalls. 'I thought "Wow, this shit is great!" A while later Steve got in touch and asked if I'd like to do a single together, three years later and
‘ 7 :-
Assisted suicide: Alan Vega
now we got enough for an album. We're hoping to do a whole series of these things.’
On tracks like 'Protection Rat' and 'Who Cares Who Dies' it’s clear that Vega is as obsessed with dark hearted goings on as ever. 'Oh yeah, I still believe we're all Frankies!’ he laughs. 'We're still all lying in hell — even more so now, for God's sake!’ (David Keenan) Righteous Lite is released on Creeping Bent, Mon 77
Glasgow: University Of Strathclyde Students Association, Fri 21 May.
Ring masters: Subcircus
40 THE LIST 13-727 May 1999
The year is 1997. Britpop is over In the immediate aftermath, bands SCurry from its dying embers like rats from a
burning trash-hill Few surVive Subcucus made a big mistake beginning their career in those
unforgivmg days, their Suede-esQue swoon-rock treated vvith disdain in the sudden gale of apathy engulfing gurtar- mu5ic at the time. But now they're back and, according to singer, Peter Bradley, the two year gap has served them well,
'Last year wasn't a great year for British alternative music, so it wasn't like we were hurrying to get out on this mad scene that we felt we had to be a part of,’ he says 'I think that 1999 suits us well Coming up to the end of the year, we wanted to make something that people cOuId put on as a party album '
Indeed, people who remember the band from the first time around may be shocked by their return With '00 You
'We wanted to change our sound, to make a very up, positive sounding record that we can have some fun with The single is a foxy little teaser of a rock 'n‘ roll record and quite representative of the album We didn't sell millions of the first one, so it's not like we're shitting on people by completely changing the SOund of the band. Hopefully, the fans we’ve had to date will know we are the kind of band that is always gonna surprise and shock '
So, what can we expect from the all new, sexed-up ’circ'us7
'\-’Ve"ie always had this little dream of getting to the success level where we can make our live shows quite an elaborate theatre,’ says Bradley ‘We want them to actually be a circus With lll(‘-}li(.l(l|(‘i8 and that ObViously the practicality is quite limited by the Si/e of Show") we re (l()!lt(; at the moment Give us six ir‘ioiiths cPaui Wlisteiawi
This issue: Dot Allison
What was the last record you listened to?
En Melody by Serge Gainsbourg. I found the original vinyl in a Paris market. Bingo!
What was the last single you bought? The Immediate Singles Collection by The Small Faces.
What was the last album you bought?
Mad For Sadness by Arab Strap, for when I get homesick.
Name an album that's an unrecognised classic?
My album Afterglow of course!
Which record first made you want to make music?
Blondie's Parallel Lines. Debbie Harry has always been a strong role model. Name a song you wish you'd written? 'Natural Woman' by Carole King. She wrote half of Dusty In Memphis — a total genius.
As a teenager which pop stars did you have posters of on your bedroom wall?
None actually. I painted weird shit on my walls instead.
In the film of your life, what's playing over the closing credits?
'Windmills Of Your Mind' by Dusty Springfield.
Which of your own songs is your favourite?
'Did I Imagine You' from Afterglow. Name a band who have influenced you that people might be surprised by?
Joy DiVision were tragically beautiful. The harmony wrth Curtis' voice really gets me.
Name a non-musical influence on your music?
Human nature, It sends me spinning and that's when I get creative.
' What do you play when you’re
getting ready to go out?
’Another Girl, Another Planet' by The Only Ones. That song has been a prologue to some mad acts in Glasgow
What do you play when you're in the mood for sweet Iovin’?
‘She Fell From The Sun’ by The Rain Parade. I've only got this on cassette and I’rn still looking for the white label. What do you sing in the shower?
Who would you be on Stars In Their . Eyes?
’ie' However, i’d be a bit confused if I didn't Win. Dot Allison plays La Belle Ange/e, Edinburgh, Fri 27 May, 92, Glasgow, Sat 22 May